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Elden Ring PC Review – Dark Souls Open World Done Masterfully

Elden Ring PC Review - Dark Souls Open World Done Masterfully
Elden Ring PC Review - Dark Souls Open World Done Masterfully
9.5

Elden Ring is a flex on the entire gaming industry. This sounds too forward but it’s true.

Don’t take my word for it, the Elden Ring Steam numbers are surely some proof of FromSoftware’s impact. Also, the open world game has cemented itself as one of the best games of all time. However, what do these stats infer? They show that Elden Ring has struck the right balance between difficulty and accessibility, paving way for a much deserved, mainstream recognition towards FromSoftware.

There is a lot to say about Elden Ring. Since this is an Elden Ring PC review, let’s start off with the Elden Ring PC performance.

Elden Ring PC Performance

The Elden Ring PC side has faced a few issues since launch. Most notably, Elden Ring PC players have encountered sudden FPS drops and stuttering at specific parts of the game. Also, there is the recent issue with Steam cloud affecting save files. Although, the latter is a simple fix.

Elden Ring PC Steam Save File
Pick the latest save file

Back to the Elden Ring stuttering, Elden Ring on PC gives me 50 to 55 FPS at all High settings though on a smaller resolution (768p). The stuttering and FPS drops are noticeable but an infrequent occurrence and the only minor negative feedback you will see in this Elden Ring PC review.

Elden Ring is a true video gaming experience and a big reason for that is the Elden Ring open world design.

Elden Ring Open World Is One of a Kind

Is Elden Ring hard? That’s the biggest question everyone has when it comes to Elden Ring or any Souls games. Elden Ring’s open world offers an answer.

When we say “open world” in regards to Elden Ring, the world is truly given up to the player with all the freedom they want. FromSoftware’s earlier games, such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne, were much more linear in their world design. This meant that some levels or bosses absolutely had to be beaten in order to proceed.

Elden Ring PC Review Map
Detailed and Beautiful (This is Just a Part of the Map)

With the Elden Ring open world design, players can simply opt-out of a fight if it’s too hard. The Elden Ring map is massive and offers freedom to explore other areas, kill weaker enemies to farm, or find new weapons. For any Elden Ring beginner, this is a huge plus point since the freedom negates frustration and promotes a more RPG feel to the game.

Naturally, not all areas are the same. You will cruise through many areas but some are ruthless and will kill you fast. Again, trial and error is the key here. To make this process easier and more enjoyable, you have a horse named Torrent and ample bonfires (called Grace in Elden Ring). Not to mention that Elden Ring features fast travel between every Grace site you’ve found in the world.

The lands between is more than a warzone

Even aside from combat, Elden Ring’s The Lands Between is simply mesmerizing. The map is filled with variety. You will visit narrow and creepy caves, catch yourself gazing over the terrain as you take to the cliffs, and keep your eyes open for the next interesting thing. For an open world RPG, Elden Ring simply feels different.

Elden Ring Open World Art Direction

The Lands Between has hugely uneven tectonic platforms, it has ancient temples deep underground, and a lot more. All of this rests under the shade of the Erdtree, a huge golden tree sharing its shining aura to the world. The FromSoftware art direction has always been remarkable and it is quite evident in Elden Ring as well.

Mystery over markers

Elden Ring doesn’t have quest markers. Some people find it frustrating but this is something that adds a lot of depth to Elden Ring’s exploration. There has never been an instance where a discovery didn’t appeal to me. The satisfaction and eagerness felt from discovering is similar to besting a foe after several tries.

Besides, it’s not as if the game doesn’t tell you anything at all. If you take a look at the map, you can see arrows extending from sites of grace, informing the player of the main paths. You will always hear or see something that will spark your interest. Moreover, the map is highly detailed.

Limgrave Map Directions
I mean, it’s right there.

Elden Ring’s game design goal here is not one of completing, but exploring. With every bit of exploration done, you stand a chance of gaining a worthy reward coupled by an equal risk of death. Finally, Elden Ring’s well-placed Grace sites balance it all out neatly.

The Lands Between Night

Elden Ring also features a dynamic weather system along with a day and night system. Be sure to roam around The Lands Between at night as well. First, you may encounter enemies that do not appear during the daytime. Second, the game looks atmospheric and gorgeous.

There is still plenty for me to explore and I can’t wait to jump in. Elden Ring is anything but a typical open world RPG.

Elden Ring Gameplay – Variety and Substance

There are a good amount of Elden Ring classes. Your gameplay experience will vary as per the class you choose. I went with Confessor because Elden Bling. Also because the Elden Ring Confessor class is a good choice for a Strength/Faith or Dex/Faith builds.

Confessor Class Armor
Love the Bloodborne / Assassin vibe

Elden ring PC review – controls and camera

You can’t have an Elden Ring PC review without mentioning the infamous keyboard and mouse. The controls are largely the same as Dark Souls as is the UI. Of course, a few new keys have been added to include jumps, guard-counters, and such. As someone quite accustomed to keyboard and mouse, my experience with the Elden Ring gameplay has been smooth. The camera isn’t much of an issue either, considering that Elden Ring is much more spacious in game design.

The game adds a Pouch item to the mix, whereby you can assign hotkeys for quick access to the items you store in it.

Just like how the open world provides players with options, so does the overall gameplay. None of this is to say that Elden Ring is easy. It’s not. However, additional options add a much-welcomed balance to the game.

Elden Ring PC Stake of Marika
Little Guardian Angel

Approach enemies as you want

One of my favourite features is the Stake of Marika. Basically, these stakes are placed near most boss and mini-boss fights, allowing players to spawn there if they die. Many times, the real frustration with Dark Souls wasn’t the boss, but the tedium of going through the same areas repeatedly just to get to the boss. Retrying fights feels much less of a burden with this. Sekiro, too, kept save points (Idols) near bosses.

Speaking of Sekiro, stealth is more viable in Elden Ring, though mostly in the open world. You can crouch and move at a solid pace in Elden Ring, making it possible to clear out enemy camps here and there. Add to that the fact that your flasks replenish after killing a group of enemies, you can survive longer by using stealth well.

Elden ring’s magic adds an exciting flavor

Elden Ring Magic Spells
SMITE ‘EM!

There are many more features to the Elden Ring gameplay but the biggest is magic. This also ties into the Elden Ring classes selection. They have made magic an integral part of the gameplay and combat. There are a lot of spells and they have tons of different uses. You have healing, damage, crowd control, and also co-op.

Elden Ring magic is divided into two: Sorceries and Incantations. Intelligence-based characters are adept at sorceries while Faith-based characters are adept at incantations. As a Dex/Faith build, I often found myself with enough options to tackle enemies and bosses. I could keep my distance and riddle them with a variety of magic spells or I could simply be old-school and charge in with my Twinblade.

Elden Ring Gameplay Summon

On top of that, Elden Ring also introduces the Spirit Summons mechanic. By using FP, you can summon various spirits, including a poisonous jellyfish, a group of wolves, a warrior, etc. to fight alongside you. These can be used by anyone provided you have enough FP. Our Margit boss guide shows the use of Spirit Summons.

Bring the arms

Don’t worry, there is definitely something to look forward to on the melee side of things. If you remember, Sekiro’s core combat design was based on breaking the enemy’s posture or poise, in Elden Ring’s terms. Elden Ring brings jump attacks and guard-counters, which are meant for faster poise-breaking or staggering. You now also have weapon arts called Ashes of War. These can be imbued on your weapons, bringing in a good deal of versatility.

Dark Souls Stagger

If Elden Ring gives you all these options, it also makes sure to do the same for the enemies. The boss fights here are no joke. Some of them will even roll through you and your precious summons in a heartbeat.

Regular enemies are now equipped with new tricks as well. Some alert all enemies in the area, some are magicians like yourself, and some also have flawless aim. You will need options and a dose of determination as you test yourself in different terrains.

A Tale Not So Cryptic

This Elden Ring review does not contain spoilers, just a discussion on how the basic premises are told. With that out of the way, let’s see what we have here. Elden Ring does a great job in setting up the basic story. Queen Marika, the original holder of the Elden Ring, has disappeared following the shattering of the Elden Ring. The many shards of the Elden Ring are now spread throughout the land, which you have to piece together to become the Elden Lord.

“That which commanded the stars”

Every Souls game has a hub area and Elden Ring is no exception. Called The Roundtable Hold, the Elden Ring hub is dynamic and essential. Without going into detail, this is a place that you must visit regularly. Here, you will find various NPCs that are instrumental in getting to understand the history behind The Lands Between and her people.

Also, it’s just so exciting to interact with NPCs in general. FromSoftware is really good at keeping the player in the shadows about the NPC’s history and motives. As such, seemingly unimportant characters may turn out to be the opposite and vice versa. Just like exploration, the sense of mystery works wonders. I can’t help but analyze dialogues word-by-word, in the hopes that I detect something useful.

While the story may not be as direct as Sekiro, it is still a step further than other Souls games as far as exposition goes.

Elden Ring Main Theme Go Hard

Many Elden Ring reviews miss this, but music has always been a big part of the Souls genre. At this point, FromSoftware’s music team, which includes talents such as Yuka Kitamura and Tsukasa Saitoh, feel as integral to the company as Hidetaka Miyazaki. The Soul of Cinder, Ludwig The Holy Blade, Corrupted Monk, etc. are only a few examples of the astonishing work they have done over the years.

“oooohh…Elden Ring”

The Elden Ring main theme is the embodiment of ambition. The rest of the soundtrack reflects that as well. Nothing gets your blood pumping harder in the heat of battle than intense chords further strengthened by deep choirs. Elden Ring’s soundtrack is bold, disturbing, heroic, and everything you’d want from a Souls game.

Plugging in the game for the first time and hearing this as the title lit up on my screen gave me chills. The Elden Ring hype was truly surreal.

Elden Ring Review Conclusion

Elden Ring is one of those rare moments that make you fall in love with gaming again. It strikes a perfect balance between old and new, between difficulty and accessibility, in a way that entices newcomers into the Souls genre without losing its identity in the process. And that’s very important. Companies are no longer above copy-pasting content, delivering it in a pretty package, and calling it a day. FromSoftware, though, has a soul, and it should keep it that way.

Any Elden Ring review would fall short of discussing everything about this game, simply because the game is too massive. Most Elden Ring reviews have been given after 40-50 of gameplay. But rest assured, it just keeps getting better. If you’re on your journey to become the Elden Lord, join us by following our Elden Ring guides and our YouTube channel for everything gaming.

  • PC Specs for the Elden Ring PC review:
  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 GHz
  • Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
  • RAM 16 GB
  • Windows 10 64 bit
  • Kingston SSD 256 GB

Elden Ring PC Review - Dark Souls Open World Done Masterfully
Elden Ring PC Review – Dark Souls Open World Done Masterfully
Summary
Elden Ring is a masterfully crafted experience, from gameplay to exploration to music, that doesn't pander to the clichés of modern open world games. This is a rare gem.
Pros
Highly rewarding open world that leads with mystery instead of markers and quest logs
Universally well-balanced - challenging and approachable at the same time
A game that actually puts gameplay first, not cinematics and theatrics
Cons
Fairly noticeable PC performance issues
9.5

Written by Ammar Kachwala

I prefer video games capable of delivering powerful experiences, innovation, and competition. I like to talk about such games and offer something valuable to others with my writing and videos. And I don't mince words when doing so.

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