Elden Ring

What is there to say that hasn’t already been said? Elden Ring is a strong contender for game of the year, if not a shoo-in. Elden Ring is the newest entry from From Software in a long series of brutally difficult action RPGs. It follows on closely from the mechanics of Dark Souls III, with the addition of a vibrant and expansive open world, a mount, and the ability to jump with a dedicated button. The game adds enough in the way of new mechanics to feel like a new experience, but brings along enough of the heart and soul of previous games that the experience feels like slipping into an old glove. Veterans will be excited to feel like pros with the skills they honed over the past decade while new players will be eased into the mechanics easily enough that they can get comfortable before being forced to go toe-to-toe with any impossible situations.

Until Margit, that is.

I’m not sure exactly whether the intention for the first real boss of the game was to force players to have attained a certain baseline skill level before proceeding or to teach players that maybe it’s a good idea to come back to some things later. As a veteran player, I fought long and hard to get past Margit, but as a learning developer I feel like maybe I should have tried to come back later. Whatever the intention, Margit is difficult.

But once you get through Margit, you’ll feel like you can take on the world. The sense of accomplishment that this game allows you to get with each and every enemy killed can be intoxicating, and it helps to draw you in and give you the motivation to continue just a little bit further than you thought you could go. And you’ll need that motivation. In spades. There are some portions of the game that feel like you’ll never make it through, but if you’ve played any other From Software games, you’ll know that there’s always a chance.

All in all, Elden Ring is an incredibly strong entry in the From Software catalog, and one that should be in everyone’s library. Unless you prefer being maidenless, of course. But nobody wants that, right?