Why Elden Ring isn’t in the top three Soulsborne games

Elden's Ring Art

Elden Ring – how good is it? (photo: Bandai Namco)

A reader gives his verdict on Elden Ring, after spending 60 hours completing the game, and explains why he doesn’t think it’s one of the best in From.

Well, I know there’s been a lot written about Elden Ring, but what’s one more for the pile? I’m writing because I finally finished Elden Ring. I think I would sum it up into eight absolutely brilliant parts and two parts thank God I’m done with that.

I have mixed feelings about the game, it’s clearly brilliant and will be a strong contender for Game of the Year. The bosses were a highlight for me, I will remember many of them fondly. Some for their incredibly interesting designs (Godrick and his arms; Rykard’s bizarre nature is just an amazing feat of the imagination, Radahn and his hilarious horse, and the boss fight with all these summons will be happy memories).

Some I will remember so fondly, particularly the repeat bosses that I began to resent as just a waste of time. The first few times you fight one of those elder lizard things, that’s fine… by the time you get to the fourth or fifth… I was grabbing the non-existent fast forward button. There’s a lot of repeated content throughout the game, and I put it out for everyone if you’ve entered one cave, you’ve entered them all.

Discovering these caves or catacombs is another thing I started to resent. I resented it because the game is huge (too big for my taste) and I was left with that feeling torn up in discovery. I felt like I should explore because there could be some great talisman or weapon to be found, but I also knew it would be the exact thing I’ve done 10 times in another 10 nearly identical caves. (By the way, where is the factory that made all those identical sheds you find in the caves? I was pretty sure I was going to stumble across a B&Q at some point).

The gameplay loop remains as compelling as ever and the flexibility of potential builds is probably more generous than ever before, with so many different viable options that it feels like there really is something to suit every playstyle. I’ve seen videos of people who look and fight so differently from my character that it’s hard to believe it’s the same game.

FromSoftware’s games are, for me, the pinnacle of the action genre, and Elden Ring’s horseback action expanded the formula significantly, with one more layer added to the system. It’s great, and I took every opportunity I could to ride and cut with my golden halberd. Moment-to-moment gameplay is great.

The areas where Elden Ring starts to look more like a Dark Souls game were also a big highlight for me. Stormveil Castle was, I thought at the time, magnificent, but it pales in comparison to the majesty of discovering, exploring, dying and trying again in the Capitol – how wonderful this place is.

Walk along the ramparts and see the stone dragon engulfing the city’s architecture – a wow moment if there ever was one. The sprawling city and its many nooks and crannies are what I love most about Souls games. Throughout the game I missed the joy of discovering locked doors or shortcuts, but it’s in these more traditional areas of Souls that this particular aspect of gameplay came back, and I loved it.

That said, as compelling as it is, at the end of my 60 hours of play, I was willing for the end to come. I skipped a lot of the late optional areas (I’ll have to make do with watching videos of the guy with the jug over the head hitting Malenia) because I just wanted to finish. With little narrative to keep you compelled to the end, even the best-in-class action started to last over 50 hours for me.

I know this is personal taste, because I’ve seen many letters saying that they spent 50 hours alone in Limgrave. How people find all this time to play, I can only envy. How they play so inefficiently, I don’t envy. As for me, it consumed my gaming life for six weeks and I’m glad I played such a brilliantly epic game and just as happy to move on.

Finally, I cannot write a letter without touching on everyone’s favorite difficult subjects, and where it sits in the De pantheon. As for the difficulty, I found it surprisingly tolerant and straightforward – for the most part. There are so many options to help you with every encounter.

I play offline so whenever I fought I would summon a Spirit Ash and them taking focus off the boss allow you to do a lot of damage. I feel like most bosses become a jerk if you summon a Spirit Ash and have a multiplayer character help you too, although I don’t have firsthand experience on that front. [You can’t summon Spirit Ashes while in co-op – GC]

The difficulty has only really eased for me in the later areas, particularly the later bosses in the story, which is absolutely as it should be and a welcome wall to bash my head into for an hour or two. Maliketh in particular I wasn’t sure if I was going to win or not but a quick google followed by a respect that I didn’t get shot and I was… well I was still struggling but I got it once and that’s all it took. you need, a good run! Maliketh 15-1 Spotted, but somehow I’m the winner.

This was also, very funny, I thought, as was my first attempt at the final boss:

So, finally, is it one of the best games of all time? For me, it’s not even in the conversation. Not because it’s not brilliant, it absolutely is. But personally, I don’t think it’s the best game From made, so it wouldn’t make it on any of my best games of all time lists. (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Bloodborne, and Dark Souls 3 are still my top 3 games if you’re wondering). But I loved it – yes, I absolutely loved it. It was a blast and a truly epic game. But I also hated it… a little? Yeah, I kind of did.

Score: 9/10
Pros: Engaging action as usual, imaginative designs unlike many other games
Cons: Too big. Particularly the repeated bosses and areas
Play time: 59 hours

By reader Henshin Agogo

The reader resource does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500-600 word reader resource at any time, which, if used, will be published at the next appropriate time on the weekend. As always, email [email protected] and Follow us on Twitter.

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