The time has finally arrived. FromSoftware’s latest game that promises to kick your ass is on the cusp of release. We spent the past week traversing the Lands Between, and have our Elden Ring PS5 review ready for you below. Arise, tarnished! Or, at least, read what we thought.
Elden Ring has a wonderfully dark and brooding art style, which isn’t out of place for a FromSoftware game. The landscape is beautiful, yet depressing, as once glorious castles have become worn down following the Shattering of the Elden Ring, and nightmarish beasts roam the realm known as the Lands Between. PS5 players have a graphics option to prioritize quality or prioritize frame rate. While playing the game, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice much difference between the two modes, however, those looking to play with the best chance of surviving will probably opt to play at a higher frame rate. In either case, Elden Ring looks great, though perhaps not as good as the Demon’s Souls remake which was made specifically for the PS5. There is noticeable pop-in of some environment details when panning the camera in some of the larger open areas, but nothing that dampens gameplay. Load times are quick as the PS5’s SSD helps to speed things up, which makes fast travel nearly instantaneous. No DualSense-specific features are utilized besides vibration, though in a game where reaction time is key perhaps the lack of adaptive triggers is a good thing.
Much like any Dark Souls, Bloodborne, or Sekiro game before it, Elden Ring features no difficulty levels, but rather different areas contain within them enemies of varying strength. The starting area known as Limgrave has relatively tame enemies, though of course, this is all relative. Even a basic undead chimp enemy can kill you in just a few hits. Most areas also have at least one named enemy. These may not be considered bosses, but they’ll kick your ass all the same, especially the first time you encounter them. However, since Elden Ring takes place in an open world, running away is actually a valid option, if you’ll allow the hit to your pride. Naturally, though, you may end up running into some other hideous and perhaps even tougher enemy, wherever you run to.
As usual for a game in this genre, expect to die a lot in Elden Ring. Whether by seemingly overpowered bosses who seem impossible to even hit, never mind kill, or by some stupid damned slime-squid abomination you thought was a rock on a beach, death is just a part of a player’s life with this and any FromSoftware game. Upon your first death, you’ll be teleported to an area that can be returned to for upgrades, and be given a short explanation about who you are, and what you are trying to do. Each death, you’ll lose any runes you were carrying – these are dropped by defeated enemies, and serve as the game’s main currency for leveling up and buying equipment or resources. You’ll keep anything else you picked up before your demise, though. If you can manage to make it back to where you died, you can reacquire those dropped runes, however, dying again before doing so means those runes are lost forever.
If this all sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because it is. Other developers may try to imitate the so-called Soulsborne formula, but few really get it right. FromSoftware serves up a masterclass in tearing down the player so that they may build themselves up. Leveling up enough or finding the right strategy to defeat a boss who just a few hours ago seemed unbelievably insurmountable feels so damn good. Of course, sometimes frustration may set in. These are not games for everyone, and that’s ok. For those who know what they have signed up for, this may be the ultimate form of these games. Players can opt to clear out every single boss before ascending to the rank of Elden Lord, or simply go straight for the win and only kill the required six bosses. With multiple endings and a new game plus mode, there’s plenty of incentive to replay, as well. Co-op works much in the same way as before, with an obsession with fingers being the way to open your game up to others, and as long as your game is online, there is always a chance another player invades your game with the intent of killing you. Messages can be crafted from pre-built phrases and keywords to either help or trick fellow players and can be voted on. Anytime another player votes a note of yours as “good,” it heals you, thus it behooves people to leave helpful notes.
So, what exactly has changed if the trademark difficulty, beautifully grotesque art style, and death mechanics seen in other FromSoftware games haven’t really been modified? The most obvious is that Elden Ring features a sprawling open world. While previous Souls games had some openness to them, players were confined to levels and things progressed linearly. Elden Ring offers players nearly complete access to its entire world after a brief opening sequence. Sites of grace, which Soulsborne veterans will instantly recognize as bonfires or lanterns, help to show the player where they should head to next if they wish to progress the story. Maps can be found at certain spots, which help to orient the player and can be used as a way to fast travel to any site of grace previously visited, provided that the player is out of combat. Players are also granted access to a whistle that can summon an ethereal steed named Torrent for faster travel in most areas of the world. Combat atop Torrent is satisfyingly different, and when your horse is killed you can re-summon them, at the cost of a Cerulean Tears flask (this game’s healing tool).
Furthermore, while enemies’ difficulty level may be set in stone, there are a few options to help players along. Ashes of War are equippable skills that can be attached to most weapons, and special moves can then be executed with a press of L2, at the cost of FP. Computer-controlled allies can be summoned at certain spots, while personal spirits can also be summoned to fight alongside the player. With the right loadout, these companions can help to defeat bosses. As an example, I summoned a spirit jellyfish and was able to defeat a great beast on my second try because the jellyfish poisoned the boss which helped to hasten its demise. All of this is optional to the player, of course – the more masochistic amongst you are free to never use any of these assists, but most of us will be more than happy for the help.
Elden Ring PS5 Review: The final verdict
What we have here, then, is familiar tropes on an open stage the likes of which we haven’t seen before in a Soulslike game. But much like another Uncharted, or another , more of the same stuff is never a bad thing, especially when that means you’re treated to more of what you love. Elden Ring may have you wanting to break your controller at times, but with the right strategy, even the most difficult challenge can be overcome. This is the way of FromSoftware games.
Elden Ring feels like the game FromSoftware has been building up to ever since Demon’s Souls released in 2009. A huge open world filled to the brim with challenging enemies, characters sporting obvious influence from George R. R. Martin, and the typical drip-feed of lore FromSoftware is famous for crafting all combine to form an intoxicating adventure you won’t soon forget. Yes, the formulaic nature of these games is absolutely showing after three console generations, but as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
It's larger, longer and I would argue, much more accessible, despite its moments of extreme difficulty and potential for progress loss. And it is one of the best games I've played in several years, and is easily the best game I've seen released since the dawn of the PS5/Xbox Series X generation.Is it worth buying Elden Ring on PS4? ›
Thankfully, the PS4 version of Elden Ring runs surprisingly smoothly. While you won't get the same level of fidelity, frame-rate, and draw distance as its PS5 brethren, it does deliver a very playable experience overall.Does Elden Ring PS5 come with PS4 version? ›
If you already own the PS4™ version of this game, you can get the PS5™ digital version at no extra cost and you do not need to purchase this product.What is the difference between Elden Ring PS5 and PS4? ›
The PS4 Pro version of Elden Ring is more stable FPS-wise than the PS5 version. Your PS5 console cannot lock the frame rate to 60 FPS in Performance mode. As a result, you'll often see judder as the frame rate varies between 40 and 60 FPS.How hard is Elden Ring PS5? ›
It's pretty safe to say that Elden Ring is a tough game. Frequent ambushes and enemies that can kill you with a single hit can make the first few hours very difficult.How long does it take to beat Elden Ring? ›
Elden Ring is a massive, sprawling, open-world game that can indeed be beaten in 30 hours, as SpeedRunners have made abundantly clear, but for the average player, Elden Ring will take anywhere from 40-60 hours to complete its main campaign.What system should I get Elden Ring on? ›
The massive open-world RPG's aesthetics are only matched by its brutality and challenge, with many critics agreeing pre-launch that Elden Ring is FromSoftware's best game to date. Elden Ring is technically optimized on every platform it is available on, but for the best experience, play the game on the PS5.Is Elden Ring worth $60? ›
Even though a lot of titles have moved to the $69.99 price point and much more with “deluxe” editions, a few holdouts are still bucking the trends. Regardless of all the speculation and calculation, I am here to tell you that Elden Ring is an extraordinary value at $59.99 in the year 2022.Is Elden Ring good for beginners? ›
Not only can it be easier than most of the other FromSoft titles, but it allows you to play at your own pace. It also has a pretty decent tutorial at the beginning of the game to show new players how the game works. If you are new to these types of games, Elden Ring is probably the best game to start with.Do I have to buy Elden Ring PS4 and PS5? ›
If you already own the PS4™ version of this game, you can get the PS5™ digital version at no extra cost and you do not need to purchase this product. Owners of a PS4™ disc copy must insert it into the PS5™ every time they want to download or play the PS5™ digital version.
The PS5 is Sony's newest console, replacing the PS4 Pro as its most powerful gaming system. It boasts a better CPU, GPU, and an internal NVMe SSD, making the PS5 a faster and more capable console.Is Elden Ring worth the hype? ›
Yes, it is absolutely worth purchasing if you enjoy open-world RPGs that are difficult. We have talked about this in other articles, but if you enjoyed playing any of the Dark Souls games, especially Dark Souls 3, you will love this game. There are people who don't enjoy it, but this game is obviously not for them.What is the hardest game of all time? ›
- Contra. ...
- Mega Man 9. ...
- Flywrench. ...
- 1001 Spikes. ...
- Dota 2. ...
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Zelda II is the black sheep of the Zelda series. ...
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. A game so hard, it wasn't released outside Japan. ...
- Ghosts 'n Goblins. Ghosts 'n Goblins is for the most hardcore players.
Yes, You Should Play 'Elden Ring' If You've Never Played A Souls Game.Can you beat Elden Ring alone? ›
Elden Ring (opens in new tab) doesn't have to be a solo adventure. It's a great singleplayer game, or a great game to play mostly solo with a multiplayer summon every so often to help you scrape through a really tough boss battle.What is the longest game to complete? ›
And the longest game turns out to be Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – which takes an incredible 693 hours to finish, on average. Do any of the games on this list surprise you? Does this make you want to play them even more?How many bosses are in Elden Ring? ›
While there are over a hundred bosses to fight in Elden Ring, the game has 12 mandatory bosses required to complete the story.Can you play Elden Ring without Internet? ›
To play Elden Ring offline, head to the pause menu and go to System>Network, and then look for Launch Setting. Change this menu item from Play Online to Play Offline. This way, you can have a completely single-player experience.Is Elden Ring bigger than Skyrim? ›
Meanwhile, however, Elden Ring has been determined by Reddit user Lusty-Batch to weigh in at a whopping 79 square kilometers, or 30.5 square miles, making it more than twice the size of Skyrim.Is Elden Ring pay to win? ›
While some have criticized it as being pay-to-win, “Lost Ark” is still free to play, an advantage it enjoys over “Elden Ring” (which costs $60) in terms of player acquisition. Some players interviewed by The Post said they feared “Elden Ring's” difficulty may prevent them from getting their money's worth.
Elden Ring Has a Free Next-Gen Upgrade
The same goes for Xbox: buy it for Xbox One, and you'll get a free upgrade to the Xbox Series X or Series S version. That's something of a relief, as many games don't offer a free upgrade path, and many PS5/Series X|S games cost $69.99 instead of $59.99.
Vagabond: The Vagabond is arguably the best Elden Ring classes for beginners. Melee builds are generally easy to pick up without having to familiarize yourself with loads of in-game systems, making them great for players unaccustomed to FromSoftware gameplay.Is Elden Ring easier than Dark Souls? ›
Dark Souls 2's overall difficulty is still lower than Elden Ring's thanks to its simple, slow enemies, and Elden Ring's toughest fights take cues from the Fume Knight. Elden Ring remains at the front of the pack, but more modern Souls games are catching up.Is Elden Ring the best game? ›
I've been chasing a dragon for a decade and a half. My first experience with a role playing video game was Bethesda's Oblivion, the fourth entry in The Elder Scrolls series.Is Elden Ring good? ›
Laptop Mag Verdict. Elden Ring's engrossing scope and excellent progression systems make it the most intricate FromSoftware RPG yet. And although it has quite a few repetitive moments, the game's grandiose open world and electrifying spectacle usually make up for it.Why is Elden Ring so highly reviewed? ›
Elden Ring takes the fundamental DNA of those games — the sensitive mechanics, the creepy yet compelling aesthetic, and, yes, the difficulty — and suffuses it throughout a third-person open-world setting (in layman's terms, that means you're a little guy running around fighting enemies).