Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Demon’s Souls are titles that gave birth to a new genre of games, Souls-like. These types of games are known for being challenging yet very rewarding. Players experience hard boss battles, beautiful yet vague lore, and create a character they want. However, what if those proven elements get complimented by an open world and a story written by one of the most celebrated writers in modern history? Well, we don’t have to wait anymore as Elden Ring is upon us. Here is our Elden Ring PS5 Review.
What Is Elden Ring?
Elden Ring is an open-world RPG from From Software and Published by Bandai Namco. Elden Ring is the spiritual successor to From Software’s acclaimed Dark Souls Franchise. From Software figurehead and Dark Souls creator, Hidetaka Miyazaki teamed up with George R.R. Martin. Martin is well known for writing the Game of Thrones series of books.
What Type Of Game Is It?
As discussed earlier, Elden Ring is an open-world action RPG. The game allows players to create their characters and level them up. Which is no different from previous offerings. However, the true open-world nature of Elden Rings is what separates it from other From Soft releases.
When Was The Release Date?
Elden Ring was released on February 25, 2022. The release of the game came after the review embargo has been lifted. Elden Ring has received critical acclaim for its gameplay and scope but more on that later.
Different Editions + Bonuses
Elden Ring came out in 4 different versions:
- Standard – Physical copy with bonuses
- Collector’s – Includes a statue of Malenia
- Premium Collector’s – Includes all bonuses plus Malenia’s helmet
Playable On What Consoles and Systems?
Elden Ring is playable on the PS5, PS5, PC, Xbox One, and Series X/S.
Elden Ring PS5 Review
From Software games–at least recent ones– have been applauded for their difficulty and level design. However, arguably the biggest strength of past games such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne is their emphasis on gameplay. Yes, Elden Ring much like its predecessors is hard. However, it does not recklessly wail at players like other souls-like clones.
Elden Ring copies from other From Software titles by letting players experience difficulty but show them how to properly traverse a level or defeat a specific boss. An example of this is the litany of phantoms that you can see in the game. You may be walking down a hill and see white phantoms showing other players their recent actions within the area. It’s also shown through pools of blood which you can activate and see how a player died in the area. This gives the player an idea that there might be danger ahead.
Lastly, bosses are hard but their moves can be in a pattern. This makes planning easier after previously encountering them
In terms of the open world, We now have a SoulsBorne game with a map. However, much like previous Souls games, side quests don’t have markers and you have to do it on your own. Having a very challenging open-world game can be tough to traverse, right? Well, Miyazaki and his team gave players the ability to fast travel from different “Sites of Grace”. Also, you can now summon a steed that will allow you to explore faster.
One new cool feature in Elden Ring is you now can ride a steed and get to locations faster. Elden Ring’s world is massive and it is spectacular given the massive boost in performance by the PS5. Not only can you use your mount while exploring but you can also use them while in combat.
Another great addition from Sekiro is the stealth mechanic. Back in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you rely on items to lessen your opponents’ field of vision. However, in Elden Ring, you can now crouch and walk slowly. This makes it easier to sneak around and avoid enemies or land backstabs.
Another prevalent factor in SoulsBorne games is the combat. It’s the thing you’ll do the most aside from exploring the vast world of Elden Ring. You’ll be facing mobs, mini-bosses, world bosses, and major enemies. You’ll have access to melee and ranged attacks as well as spells that you can use mid-combat. To be honest, the combat in this game is an amalgamation of past From titles. You can block, parry, stagger, backstab, and roll while in combat. However, a great new addition is the ability to jump. This was mostly used in From’s Game of the Year winning effort, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Speaking of Sekiro, another element this game borrows from Sekiro and even from other past titles is that you can break your enemies’ poise. This was crucial in past games as it gives you the ability to stun lock and stagger opponents. This opens up a chance for players to deal massive damage.
In terms of controls, it’s the tried and tested From Software control scheme. On the PS5, the left and right shoulder buttons control the character’s limbs. In terms of traversing the world, the newest addition has to be the mounted controls. It feels somewhat fluid but far from perfect, Elden RIng allows or sometimes requires players to do a little platforming and the controls don’t help sometimes.
All in all, the combat is great, controls are awesome when battling opponents but when riding the steed, it could be better.
Curious to know what weapons and weapon types are present in Elden Ring, well, they’re familiar. Most of the weapons are present in games such as Dark Souls, especially the 3rd installment. You have your staples of longswords, daggers, greatswords, and bows. Magic users still use staves and agile players use curved swords or daggers. However, a few weapon types are missing while some have only been seen in Bloodborne (or similar to).
First, talisman weapons and Pyromancy weapons are gone. Pyromancy and faith spells are now counted as incantations and used via Sacred Seals. Talismans are now equipped to boost the player character like rings from Dark Souls.
One weapon type that is new and somewhat familiar is the hand ballista. These look and feel like the hand cannon that saw action in Bloodborne.
Lastly, the twinblades make their return after being a popular choice in Dark Souls 2.
You’ll get this ability early on and this allows you to summon allies in battle. This is extremely helpful if you need a massive boost when fighting large mobs or bosses. Let your summons get the aggro and you can now wail away at your opponents. These spirit summons can be upgraded as well and have a lot of variety.
Weapon Arts/Ashes of War
First implemented back in the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne and borrowed by Sekiro as well as Dark Souls 3, Weapon Arts are part of your arsenal as well. However, they are now called Ashes of War. You can equip these ashes and modify the stat scaling of your weapons as well. However, remember that special and boss weapons cannot be modified.
These ashes also have different inclinations and you better check the stats they have an affinity with before using them.
The world of Elden Ring is astonishing, this has to be the best effort from Miyazaki and his team in terms of graphics. The high fantasy setting allows for more varied and vibrant settings. You can see raindrops properly. The water splashes look more realistic, and the sky looks great, especially at a specific level.
However, frame rate issues were bugging Elden Ring players, however, I did not experience such drops in frame rate.
But, the developers have already rolled out a patch to fix these issues.
Another strength of past Miyazaki-led games is their world and level design. Demon’s Souls had a great sense of verticality within the different zones., Dark Souls and Bloodborne on the other hand had connected locations that share the main theme of the games, aside from From’s signature verticality. Even Sekiro borrowed from this and created realistic and fantasy-driven locations.
Elden Ring being an open-world game, benefited from this as all locations feel unique. For example, the starting area showcases a lot of bright colors while another area, later on, is a war-torn hellscape. Aside from the visual aspect, Elden Ring’s world has a good solid mix of dungeons, open-world locations, and legacy dungeons.
Dungeons are small areas that you need to clear by beating the boss at the end. Similar to Chalice dungeons from Bloodborne. The open world has field bosses that spawn when you trigger something or come close to these enemies. Lastly, Legacy Dungeons are your typical Dark Souls-type levels that grow in difficulty when you go further.
Lastly, as big as the map is, there are still secret areas that you should look out for.
Elden Ring mixes storytelling via the lore (more on that later), item descriptions, and the environment. Included in the environment are the accompanying music and sounds. A great example is a hellish landscape which I mentioned earlier. The background music sounds like people wailing and is perfect for showcasing unescapable rot and doom. This compared to the starting area showcases how important the sound design is for Miyazaki and his team. Lastly, the bosses’ BGM gives a feel of grandeur and perfectly fits the bosses they accompany.
Elden Ring’s story was written by George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame. His writing style is perfect for people who love grey areas as Elden Ring does not clearly define who’s good or who’s bad. Also, Martin has a penchant for killing off major characters and that goes well with the player needing to kill major characters.
Well, what is Elden Ring’s main story? It all revolves around an event called the Shattering. Now, I won’t spoil anything but this event is what connects the major bosses. 30+ hours in, I still feel as if I’m only scratching the surface.
Aside from the main story, there are also side stories that connect or involve specific NPCs. However, these quests and storylines follow the typical From Software formula. They’re vague and they are not marked on the map.
Lastly, Elden Ring still follows the trend of telling stories through items descriptions. Some items, especially key ones are a big source of this.
All in all, Elden Ring mixes in your face storytelling with the typical From Soft formula.
Much like past Miyazaki games, the online features of Elden Ring can go both ways. You can summon people to help you through an area or a boss while you can also summon invaders. However, these invaders can also come into your playthrough randomly. This opens up the PVP aspect of the ga,e.
In terms of matchmaking, there is now a cross-platform feature. This is great as I play Elden Ring using the PS5. I may have a friend who plays on Xbox and PC. This allows us to tackle areas together. You can do this by setting a password that you only know. This negates any random summons or invaders.
However, do note that when you are matchmaking with friends, the difficulty scales to the host’s current game state. Meaning if a friend is level 50 and he summons two level 80s, the game will feel as if you’re facing a boss at level 50 even if you are 30 levels higher. I’ve experienced this with friends as we all took turns to host the game. I was ahead by some levels to one friend and way more compared to the other one. The boss fight was easy when me and the closely leveled friend of mine hosted but it became tougher when the other one was the host.
Do keep in mind that these online functions are still dependent on your connection and possible server issues. I’ve immediately summoned cooperators while I had to wait to a minute to summon or wait for that person to show up in m game.
Finally, we have replayability. From Software RPGs are notorious for being immensely replayable. You’ll never get anything in the first playthrough. This includes endings, boss weapons, builds, and quests. Past titles such as Dark Souls made use of New Game+ cycles, which lets players keep what they have but it comes with a spike in difficulty. This assures players are challenged even when they had completed a few cycles.
Elden Ring For The PS5 VS Dark Souls VS Bloodborne
As From Software titles, these three games share a lot of elements. Whether it’s in the gameplay, combat, storytelling, and the feel of the game. Much like its older brothers, Elden Ring mixes great gameplay mechanics. If I can compare Elden Ring’s general combat to these two tiles, I can confidently say that it leans towards more to Dark Souls 3. The combat is not as fast as Bloodborne or Sekiro but you have mechanics from those games. All in all, Elden Ring is an amalgamation of what has worked well for From Software and I’m glad they went that route.
The true major differences between the three games are with their setting, feel, and of course, Elden RIng’s more massive world.
The setting of these three games varies as one is leaning towards dark fantasy, another is more inspired by Victorian and Lovecraftian themes. Elden RIng feels more high fantasy but I do think like in its gameplay, it still borrows from past games.
Another big difference is with how the games present their levels. Dark Souls 1-3 and Bloodborne make use of connected areas that have a sense of verticality. However, these areas may be an abrupt end and you can’t venture to a new area from one route.
Elden Ring on the other hand makes use of one big map that features smaller areas among the wide field.
Lastly, Elden RIng I feel is more accessible to new players compared to Dark Souls and Bloodborne. It is more forgiving and it does hold the hands of new players for them to learn the basics.
Was Elden Ring For The PS5 Worth The Wait?
So was Elden Ring for the PS5 worth the hype? Yes, yes, yes! Elden Ring had a lot of expectations and it shattered them. People are now saying it is the new standard for open-world tiles and I agree. As a fan of past From Soft releases, this has reignited my love for Miyazaki’s games. Sure, there are issues at launch but luckily Elden Ring performed the best on the PS5. I can safely say that Elden Ring has surpassed Dark Souls 3 as my favorite video game of all time. I am only 30+ hours in and I still know that I am just scratching the surface.
If I can give Elden Ring on the PS5 a grade, it’ll be an A+. Sure, it is not perfect but it is one of the greatest video games ever made.