Elden Ring | Review – A wonderful work

We will never know how truthful there was in George RR Martin's statements, when he claimed he was contacted, years ago, to write the mythology that would be the backdrop to the Dark Souls sequel, but surely we can tell you, with extreme honesty, that Elden Ring is a production that stands as a milestone between the future and the past of that line of titles, amicably renamed by fans Soulsborne, which has made From Software iconic in the last 13 years.

Elden Ring, in fact, is the culmination of that gameplay created with Demon's Souls and subsequently evolved with the Dark Souls series over the years. A path of constant refinement that has continued over the course of thirteen years, and six games, to land in a new intellectual property that, deliberately, refuses to sever the ties with the past. For this reason Elden Ring doesn't just wink at fans with constant references, veiled and not, to the previous works created by From Software, but offers multiple aspects explanted from the Dark Souls trilogy and transplanted into the new creature of Hidetaka Miyazaki.

The end result is one of those productions that appear very rarely on the gaming market. That type of titles capable of smashing the market, for better or for worse, sanctioning a new arrival point for a particular genre. Elden Ring, apparently limiting itself to transplanting all those essential elements for a soulslike within an open world structure, gives life to that "point of no return" with which future exponents of the genre will not be able to avoid confronting.

Elden Ring Review: Don't Call It Dark Souls 4

Or better, call it Dark Souls 4 but not in a derogatory way. Let's think together about how From Software's games have evolved over the years: Demon's Souls, the famous PlayStation exclusive that "set the stage" for an entire line of productions, never had a sequel. The reasons were all to be found in the initial sales flop generated in the first months of the release of the title in Japanese soil, which led Sony to not believe in the project and From Software to find in Bandai Namco the perfect publisher for the spiritual follow-up of Demon's. Souls: Dark Souls.

The gameplay of Dark Souls, which he represented an important evolution of everything that made players fall in love with the first work of From Software, never managed to reach that dimension strongly desired by its creator. The sequel was a chapter made in a confusing way, without Miyazaki at the helm and with a timetable too narrow to be able to better implement all those good ideas that were only sketched in the finished product.

The third chapter, however, was a simple closing of the circle. A production made more to put an end to the saga and please the fans, rather than to really offer everything that Miyazaki would have wanted for his creature.

Bloodborne, for its part, was another production with a similar fate to that of Demon's Souls. A title incredibly acclaimed by audiences and critics but whose intellectual property did not completely belong to the developers. A "shy experiment" aimed at proposing a more action-oriented drift to the mechanics of Dark Souls and which found its definitive evolution in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Where Sekiro showed us how it is possible to implement some soulslike elements in a completely different and self-contained context, Elden Ring is ready to reap the important legacy of the Dark Souls series and, as happened for Demon's, transposing it into a new intellectual property that clearly shows its origin, through a series of recurring elements that make fans perceive a constant sensation of unknown-known.

Undoubtedly some might consider it laziness, and in certain situations we too perceived a citationism bordering on cloying, but to consider Elden Ring a simple "more of the same" not very courageous, due to the numerous similarities with the last chapter of Dark Souls, it would simply be a gross and careless error of evaluation of From Software's historical past.

From the Iron Throne to the Night of Black Knives

Fallen leaves tell a story… the great Ancestral Ring was destroyed.

With this incipit opens Elden Ring whose mythology, as everyone knows by now, was written by George RR Martin, the author of the Song of Ice and Fire. However, what should not be misunderstood is that the writer was entrusted "only" with the task of creating the background behind Elden Ring, later reworked by Miyazaki to bring it into line with his nebulous way of narrating and open to the most disparate speculations.

We should not be afraid, therefore, of being faced with a narrative that diverges from what has been done in the past with titles such as Dark Souls or Bloodborne, as the story of Elden Ring follows that style and expands it in every direction, offering the player constant information about the Interregnum's past and its tragic history.

To briefly summarize the events that took place before the start of Elden Ring, once the mysterious Ancestral Ring was destroyed, Queen Marika disappeared into thin air. Her descendants, a progeny of demigods, decided to claim the fragments of the Ring, sparking a bloody war that produced no results. No Lord took Marika's place and the Interregnum fell into ruin.

An unspecified number of years later, the Grace that left that mystical land returns to wake the Lightless, a collection of peculiar creatures famous for their past deeds. Among them there is also our protagonist, a lackluster lightless bestowed by the mercy of Grace to fulfill a task: to find the Ancestral Ring.

Elden Ring maintains the same narrative structure as Miyazaki's previous productions, providing the player with a goal and depriving him, at the same time, of all those surrounding elements he needs to understand why he is performing that task. All that information can be found by talking to the various characters who will populate the Interregnum, reading the epitaphs engraved on the monuments to the fallen, reading the documents that will be found during their wanderings and consulting the many descriptions associated with the objects that will be collected.

A narrative technique that leaves room for the ruminations of those who experience it firsthand and which, above all, requires us to explore the length and breadth of the Interregnum to fully understand the reason for certain actions. The mythology created by Martin exudes from every pore that imagination made up of intrigues and power games, which fits perfectly with the typical narrative structure of Miyazaki, designed to make the player constantly question the player, making him weigh the morality of his choices and the decisions he will make within the game.

Elden Ring and customization

As per the “Soulsian” tradition, even in Elden Ring we find a very strong focus on the personalization of our alter-ego. It all begins with the canonical choice of one of the ten classes designed to embrace almost all styles of play. Then you can immerse yourself for tens and tens of minutes inside the very complete editor proposed by From Software.

The options are so many and further expand that already substantial range of choices made available in the previous productions of From Software.

Compared to the past, also thanks to a more elaborate graphic sector, it is now possible to create really detailed characters, being able to better perceive the changes made to details such as the eyelashes or the shape of some bones of the face. Obviously, there remains the possibility of letting chance decide, as well as the opportunity, for the lazy or less creative, to rely on the basic models created by the developers.

The iconic “Initial Gift” also returns in Elden Ring, a small optional bonus with which to begin the adventure. A novelty, however, lies in the possibility of finding tailor tools, able to remove the cloaks from the armor and modify some aesthetic elements in order to extend the customization to the paraphernalia chosen to face the pitfalls of the Interregnum.

Elden Ring: walking in the Interregnum

Our biggest fear regarding Elden Ring it was the real possibility that that constant sensation of progressive knowledge of the game environments, typical of the Soulsborne, could fail in an open world context where, for the first time, the player could consult a map to orient himself. The reality of the facts, however, has quickly dissolved all fear, as the enormous interregnum of Elden Ring is expertly structured like a matryoshka, within which three distinct types of gameplay coexist.

First of all we find the unprecedented overworld, a large game world, freely explorable and which stands firmly on the “Miyazaki rule” whereby the player must be able to reach every setting that he can see on the horizon. The open world component of Elden Ring is undoubtedly atypical and has no room inside for "fetch quests", quest lists, NPC-filled settlements and lookout towers to be used as a pretext to unlock points of interest in the immense game map.

The same map of the Interregnum is devoid of any reference point, limiting itself to indicating the "sites of grace" (which in Elden Ring take the place of the canonical bonfires) through which the player will be able to move quickly and in total freedom. It will be up to the latter to place markers to remember what he has found in the hours spent exploring the game world, as well as to decide to ignore the possibility of making the map readable simply by avoiding collecting the various pieces that compose it, comfortably laid down. at the foot of small obelisks located throughout the Interregnum.

The overworld of Elden Ring is to be considered as a huge dungeon, freely explorable, full of secrets, bosses to face, different biomes, characters with stories to tell and an enormous number of creatures ready to send the player to the creator. A few are enough tens of minutes spent astride the Torrente (the new mount present in Elden Ring) to realize how alive and "real" the game universe created by From Software is.

A game world that stands on some simple game dynamics, essential in order not to excessively fragment the exploratory phases. First of all the stamina will not be consumed during the movements within theoverworld, allowing the player to feel free to run as long as he wants without worrying about running out of breath.

Facing and annihilating the various groups of enemies who will patrol the areas of the Interregnum will allow you to instantly recharge your cures, deprecating the sites of grace, located throughout the Interregnum, to simple quick travel points to activate to be able to move more freely on the huge game map, rather than real checkpoints where you can recharge your heals, and consequently resurrect all the enemies defeated up to that moment.

A few words about DIY

Elden Ring has some very basic crafting mechanics. Scattered throughout the Interregnum you will find the most disparate resources: flowers, seeds, branches, stones, fireflies and everything that wild nature can offer to Senzaluce, which through the finding of some manuscripts dedicated to the creation of new objects, will be able to combine together to make ointments, bombs, mixtures, arrows and so on.

Crafting, in Elden Ring, is never mandatory, leaving the player the total choice of filling his pockets with creation materials or, much more simply, spending his own Runes to buy the same items from the various merchants scattered throughout the Interregnum. .

While it doesn't show up as one of those fundamental dynamics for progression, we undoubtedly appreciated how lean this mechanic was implemented. There are no gathering animations and assets can be grabbed while moving around the interregnum with just the push of a button.

What surprised us most about the Interregnum is its constant unpredictability. If in the first hours of the game you think you understand how the various macro-areas that compose it will be sectored, it is enough to delve deeper into it to understand that nothing follows a precise rule. Some dungeons will end with a fight with a boss followed by a dim light that will magically transport the player to his entrance, others will present secondary characters ready to teach us witchcraft and miracles, still others will end in other parts of the game world, acting as long and grim underground tunnels to move under the surface of the Interregnum.

Likewise every area of ​​the Interregnum will be filled with secrets to discover, clues to find hidden treasures, adventurers, fallen kings, bosses ready to reveal themselves in front of the player and every type of element designed to encourage exploration. The Interregnum, however, never turns out to be unfair towards the explorers, gratifying the hours spent inside it with a whole series of enigmatic indications designed to show the player the way ... obviously in the manner of Miyazaki.

A little torrent in full

Torrente is one of the most important innovations introduced with Elden Ring. A steed capable of making the player move quickly within the Interregnum, a creature capable of climbing very particular updrafts to overcome with agility otherwise insurmountable rocky conformations and, of course, a companion with whom to face those creatures too fast to be able to be approached on foot.

Torrente, however, turns out to be made in an excessively superficial way, falling back into that group of videogame mounts that seem afflicted by a collective curse. Moving with Torrente is undoubtedly practical, but its lack of agility in changing direction and a limited and inaccurate Combat System will very rarely make it the preferred choice for players who will venture into the Interregnum.

The second component of that wonderful matryoshka called Interregnum is represented by the phases of Dungeon Crawling which, specifically, unravel in small or medium-sized areas designed to offer small challenges to the player. In most cases they will be short dungeons, which can be explored in about ten minutes, which will end with the clash with a boss and the consequent obtaining of loot and runes to spend to level up.

Not all stages of dungeon crawling, of course, will develop through the formula of the dungeon to be explored. In some cases we will find ourselves in front of real optional macro-areas connected to each other, while in other situations we will find ourselves in clean up enemy camps to be able to calmly search for the treasures hidden within them. If we wanted to make a quick comparison with the past, we could safely argue that the Dungeon Crawling phases of Elden Ring take up, and expand, the formula of the Chalice Dungeons present in Bloodborne.

Finally we find the Legacy Dungeons, so renamed by the same From Software as they welcome within them that important legacy of level design developed, from production to production, over the last thirteen years. These are nothing more than macro-areas of decidedly generous dimensions that take advantage of all the gameplay rules, and level design, which have made the Soulsborne genre immortal.

The Legacy Dungeons could be summed up simply as "Dark Souls to the nth degree". Play areas whose dimensions can easily be compared to the iconic Anor Londo and inside which we do not find endless mounts and stamina bars but simply hours of 360-degree exploration, heinous and cruel clashes and some of the best bosses made by From Software.

Within the Legacy Dungeons, all of From Software's level designer skills emerge in a riot of vertical exploration, unexpected shortcuts, gothic architecture and dozens of secrets to discover. Each Legacy Dungeon can be safely considered as a game within the game, able to make fans of the genre feel at home and intimidate, with their brutality, those who approach Elden Ring without ever having tried a From Software title.

When a jump can change everything

It seems absurd to say but… remember that in Elden Ring you can jump freely. In fact, a free jump mechanic is introduced, not bound as in the past to cumbersome key combinations, freely usable by the player both in the exploratory and in the combat phases.

While this mechanic will seem obvious for all those players who have never faced a Souls in their life, for those who, on the other hand, have eaten bread and From Software in the last decade, muscle memory may not immediately realize how much this "new Game mechanics can make some exploratory phases much more streamlined and obvious.

All these elements ensure that the Elden Ring open world is able to represent the culmination of thirteen years of From Software productions. A production capable of offering an always different and capable experience contain within it all those elements that made Demon's Souls, the Dark Souls and Bloodborne series iconic, grafting them into an unprecedented context that aims to raise every point of strength.

Elden Ring: one goal… multiple ways to achieve it

Elden Ring is an undoubtedly atypical open world which uses a map of more than generous dimensions to offer the player a multitude of different approaches in terms of adventure progression. Trivially, the most immediate approach towards Elden Ring is to devote oneself to exploration, getting lost among the various dungeons in search of resources and paraphernalia useful for progression, collecting runes to level up and be able to get ready, and with the right level, in the face of the most demanding challenges.

On the other hand, that type of users more linked to the "hard and pure Souls" will be able to beautifully ignore almost all the open world elements offered by the latest From Software production and opt to follow the faint trails of light, generated by the main sites of grace, to head to the next main event of the adventure. In this specific case, the difficulty of Elden Ring quickly ascends offering a more hardcore experience.

Whatever the type of approach chosen by the player, the aspect that surprised us most about the progression of the main story of Elden Ring, is its almost total absence of excessively linear phases. Let's try to explain ourselves better: once the first two main bosses of the story have been faced, which represent the first real obstacle placed in front of the player, the Interregnum will be almost entirely explorable by the player.

This means that once you understand which, and where, are the main objectives to be completed to reach the epilogue, the choice of which to face first is almost entirely left in the hands of the player. We have used "almost" since each macro area in the Interregnum is populated by creatures of different levels, proposing very difficult challenges for an “under-leveled” player and at the same time silently suggesting an order of progression with which to face the various areas.

Obviously the plethora of secondary characters, and missions connected to them, typical of From Software productions is also present in Elden Ring, but in this case the open world nature of the production allowed the developers to scatter these characters throughout the game world, making them make their very personal journeys within the Interregnum in which the player can actively participate in some cases or as a simple helpless spectator in others.

This constant presence of secondary stories, characters to interact with and secrets hidden in the most remote ravines of the Interregnum, succeeds in the intent to confuse and frighten the player at each new encounter, making him constantly reflect on the number of events he may have missed during the game. his wanderings. The dynamics of Elden Ring's optional stories, in fact, maintain that typical structure of From Software productions, which provides that the journeys of the various secondary characters progress together with the progress of events, regardless of the player's interactions with these NPCs.

It could happen, therefore, to no longer find a certain character in the place where we had previously met him and to find his lifeless body in another area without knowing the reasons. As well as it will be possible to follow the events of these supporting actors directly managing, in some circumstances, to change their fate, making their travels reach different epilogues.

This constant interchange of events and interspersed with stories within the Interregnum, succeeds in bringing the game world of Elden Ring to life without relying on the canonical inhabited settlements, present in other exponents of the open world genre, and instilling in the player the perennial feeling of being in a constantly evolving environment.

Accessibility and Quality Of Life

We warn you that in this short paragraph we will make some advances regarding advanced game mechanics, obviously without revealing anything about their connections within the Elden Ring plot. If you are allergic to spoilers of any kind, we strongly advise you to move on to the next paragraph.

If we absolutely appreciated From Software's attention in offering different approaches to the player, in order to make the experience more usable even for those who have never faced a Souls before Elden Ring, we also appreciated all the changes to the quality of life carried out by the developers to make such a mammoth production, enjoyable even by players not keen on wanting to make more than one run.

For the uninitiated, the Soulsborne made by From Software feature a number of mechanics for which completists are required to perform multiple playthroughs. In most cases these are secondary quests that cannot be perpetrated at the same time, narrative branches and objects bound to choices that, inevitably, prevent access to the other options.

In Elden Ring many of these aspects have been filed down, allowing those who really want to explore the Interregnum in every inch of land, to be able to obtain unlock these options and be able to access the inventory of those secondary characters who have died during their journey. or be able to regain the essence of the bosses to forge all the paraphernalia associated with that specific creature.

These are small precautions, developed through totally optional mechanics, which manage to further extend that role component that remains throughout Elden Ring, leaving the decision to take advantage of these advantages or not during his journey in the Interregnum in the hands of the player.

The sword hurts more ...

Elden Ring does not differ from its predecessors and uses a distinctly arcade combat system with fast animations, and in some ways unrealistic, to favor the immediacy of realism. Combat is based on keystrokes in rapid succession to create nervous and strategic battles at the same time.

In this new iteration, however, From Software wanted to make some changes to make the combat system more malleable and able to embrace the most disparate approaches. It being understood that the system based on light attacks, heavy offensives, dodges and parries remains, Elden Ring introduces some dynamics related to the renewed mechanics of the jump, an unprecedented management of the “Superarmor” and a couple of new features such as War Ashes and Summons.

Let's start from the fundamentals, the combat system of Elden Ring is based on a principle called Motion Values which determines the amount of damage done by each single hit inflicted on the various enemies. The first attack of a combo, for example, won't deal as much damage as the second, just as a heavy offensive will deal more damage than a handful of light hits but undoubtedly less than a full series of successful attacks. .

As in the most common beat 'em up, the Elden Ring combat system is based on keystrokes and combinations between the latter. They lack real combos, an absence that following what From Software experienced with the previous transformations of the weapons present in Bloodborne, in all honesty we expected to find in a new guise within Elden Ring.

The first change concerns a renewed management of the posture of the enemies, and of our protagonist, which can now be "broken" in a much more schematic way through the exploitation of jump attacks, weaknesses of the opponents and sequences of offensives carried out without interruption. An unprecedented counterattack mechanic meets those players not used to exploiting the Parry, allowing them to counterattack, by pressing the button assigned to the heavy attack, following a parry.

The biggest novelties, however, lie precisely in the ashes of war and in the evocations. The first will be real additional skills that, once applied to a compatible weapon, will allow you to expand the moveset of a weapon and change its type. It is a mechanic capable of completely overturning the way of approaching the fights present in Elden Ring, allowing the player to give up some defensive techniques in favor, for example, of medium-distance attacks that inflict magical, elemental or area damage.

Summons, on the other hand, are very trivially ghostly companions which can be summoned in the vicinity of the most complex clashes to have a slight additional support during the battles.

These evocations will be of the most disparate types: from a trio of wolves that will carry out quick attacks at short distances, capable of breaking the posture of the opponents, to puppets intent on strategically positioning themselves to shoot arrows at enemies, up to real tanks intent on attract attention by allowing the player to attack with greater freedom of movement. No evocation, unlike the decidedly more performing war ashes, will prove too powerful or capable of turning the tide of a fight, remaining an excellent diversion to take the time to study the patterns of the most powerful and lethal enemies.

The Elden Ring combat system turns out to be surprising for how it manages to perfectly blend tight rhythms and strategy, managing in the complex task of grouping all those winning features created by From Software over the last thirteen years, balancing the rhythms to the point that it is never too staid or exaggeratedly frenetic .

More builds for everyone!

The renewed build management, much leaner than in the past but no less profound, definitely surprised us in a positive way, showing once again how From Software wanted to focus on improving the Quality Of Life of its historic gaming system.

Each statistic is much clearer and more readable than in the past and, although we find ourselves faced with a slightly smaller number of modifiable statistics compared to the previous productions of From Software, each of them is really impacting within the combat system.

The iconic rings, able to provide specific bonuses to the player's statistics, leave room for talismans that resume their functioning, but in Elden Ring they can be transported in increasing numbers, unlocking additional slots as you progress with the adventure .

Finally, the variety of weapons available to the player provides a range of choices so varied that anyone can find the style of play that suits them best. Double blades, swords, broadswords, clubs, bows, flails ... each category of weapon present in Elden Ring has a unique moveset and a scaling system designed to enhance their offensive potential in relation to how the character's statistics have been improved.

Unfortunately, as per tradition for From Software's productions, some builds turned out to be excessively biased in favor of the player, as well as some weapons proved too effective in situations in which we would have had to sweat a lot more to bring home the victory. This is nothing unsolvable but a patch is undoubtedly needed to better balance some too lethal combinations.

An army of rotting monsters

Coming, finally, to the analysis of the bestiary that populates the immense Interregnum of Elden Ring, we are faced with a plethora of creatures of the most disparate, made up of a lot of unedited monstrosities and some old acquaintances of long-time fans. Zombies, skeletons warriors, dragons, basilisks, giant bears, massive rock golems, giant trolls, vampires, severed hands arachniformes, ferrymen of souls ... whatever monstrosity you can think of right now, rest assured that you can find it hidden somewhere. in the Interregnum.

The movesets of the various enemies have almost always proved to be convincing and balanced with the challenge proposed by the various macro-areas, and even in the occasions in which the opponents showed easy to read attack patterns, they have always been able to punish that excessively offensive and reckless approach.

For the multiple bosses made for Elden Ring (and they are really many this time), their variety is decidedly conspicuous, even if not all the creations of From Software's visionary design team have fully managed to convince us. We are aware that such a large number of bosses can show the side of some solution more devoted to saving (reskin of some models used as bosses for different areas or much too marked references to the past of the software house), but we would have undoubtedly preferred a more content compared to being faced with unconvincing solutions, especially when compared to the extreme care with which Elden Ring was packaged.

Completely different, however, the speech regarding the Main Boss, and all those creatures linked to particular primary or secondary objectives. These monstrosities are not limited to being artistically inspired but are equipped with tight and complex attack patterns to memorize, as well as proposing solutions that range from the clash divided into multiple phases of increasing difficulty, up to those Gimmick entirely devoted to putting the spectacularity.

Elden Ring alone or in company

In Elden Ring it is present a multiplayer sector similar to that of the previous From Software productions. In each area where there are one or more bosses, you can summon a defined number of allies with whom to explore the Interregnum, walk through the Legacy Dungeons or, simply, eliminate the bosses who preside over the various areas.

A nice addition is the ability to send your own "evocation sign" at gathering points, called evocation basins, strategically positioned throughout the Interregnum in front of the areas chaired by a boss. This summons aggregation system will allow the various players to find help in a more practical and organized way than in the past.

Obviously the canonical system of evocation by means of a sign positioned within a specific area is always present, as well as the possibility of conveying matchmaking only to users with passwords, in such a way as to allow groups of friends to find each other more easily.

However, not all that glitters is gold: the multiplayer sector of Elden Ring, in fact, maintains the rules of the previous productions of From Software, fragmenting and conveying the cooperative experience to hard to understand choices. In fact, it will not be possible to ride Torrente during multiplayer sessions, making movements within the Interregnum much slower, as well as the law that once a boss is defeated the guest will be sent back to his world, forcing to perform matchmaking operations again as soon as you find yourself back in an area manned by a boss.

These are, indeed, small smudges, but their excessively anachronistic nature makes exploration in company a practice as fun as it is cumbersome and that would have deserved more attention given the unprecedented open world nature proposed with Elden Ring.

Finally, as regards the competitive multiplayer sector, the possibility remains of invading the worlds of other players, or being invaded in turn, to start fighting to the last blow against players from all over the world. Even in this case, however, despite having experienced a decidedly stable netcode, associated with a really fast matchmaking compared to the past, we noticed that many glitches already present in the previous Dark Souls 3 reappear in Elden Ring, clamoring for a resolutive maneuver from From Software. Fap Glitch and Estus Cancel won't say much to some of you but for those who know what we're talking about… know they are still present in Elden Ring.

Elden Ring from arte e tecnica

Before attempting to analyze the technical and artistic sector of Elden Ring, an important factor must be kept in mind, namely that its development, or rather the pre-production phase, began at the end of the work on the two expansions of Dark Souls 3, in the spring of 2017.

This means that the development of Elden Ring was carried out in parallel to that of Sekiro, using the same game engine as Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3, with all its strengths and weaknesses. Elden Ring, therefore, is not exempt from all those technical flaws known to connoisseurs of From Software's works of the last decade: cameras not always very precise, omnipresent interactions, unconvincing interactions with the ground and all that series of imperfections that, for many players, have become a sort of "trademark" of From Software productions.

It should also be borne in mind that Elden Ring was born as a project for the previous generation of consoles, which later became cross-gen only later, when the works were already in an advanced stage. All this to tell you that if you are expecting an open world production with a graphic sector on a par with the recent Horizon Forbidden West, the reality of the facts is very different, since Elden Ring, while proving to be very pleasant from a purely graphic point of view, powerfully shows the its cross-gen nature.

Don't get us wrong, Elden Ring remains a feast for the eyes, also thanks to a wise use of ambient lighting able to make everything more realistic and alive, but the general level of the new production of From Software never really manages to compete in purely graphic terms with other productions released in the last two years.

However, we must always take into consideration how large the game world is. The Interregnum not only extends horizontally, through an abnormal area full of things to do, but it also does so vertically, through all those architectures, underground and not, that the player will encounter on his way. In all honesty, for a cross-gen production and in the face of such a dense game world, we don't think it's possible to expect anything more graphically.

As for performance, however, we have to note a few too many smudges in the PlayStation 5 version that we tested before writing this analysis. In performance mode, the frame rate never really manages to stay stuck at 60 fps, showing constant stutters during area changes and some noticeable dips when too many things are moving on the screen at the same time. We are not faced with a defect that makes the overall experience less enjoyable, but there is no doubt that Elden Ring would need additional polishing to ensure more stable performance.

Continuing the analysis of the PlayStation 5 version, net of taking advantage of the gyroscope present in the DualSense to activate the gestures, no features of the console or of the new Sony controller have been fully exploited. We do not know if it was a choice dictated by the cross-platform nature of the production, but apart from the lightning-fast loading, and present only when you start the game or take advantage of the fast travel, there is no specific dedicated function that involves the adaptive triggers or the haptic feedback.

Speaking of the sterile, albeit legitimate, criticisms leveled against the reuse of some animations, assets and creatures present in the previous Soulsborne produced by From Software, we found all these similarities to be perfectly consistent with the intrinsic nature of the product. Elden Ring was conceived as the "next step" to Demon's Souls and Dark Souls and, as such, the opposite would have been alienating, that is to find yourself in front of a production that clearly detaches itself from this important legacy.

If, however, fan service, refers to the past, similarities with previous games and all those elements designed to make those players who have pulped every From Software production of the last decade "feel at home", they can be labeled as a simple preservation of the past, we liked the recycling of some models within the Elden Ring itself much less. Being faced with bosses who, after about ten hours of play, become common enemies scattered around the map has left us slightly bewildered, especially by virtue of the excellent work done to differentiate the multitude of creatures that populate the Interregnum.

Finally, coming to the analysis of the artistic sector of Elden Ring we can not help but praise the work done by From Software. Creatures, landscapes, architectures and biomes are all highly inspired from a purely artistic point of view and able to be, at the same time, coherent with each other and capable of celebrating all the Soulsborne productions made by From Software. The Interregnum is an immense deadly playground capable of alternating green plains with volcanic areas, lush castles with gloomy and dusty libraries, coasts with an autumnal atmosphere and ghostly swamps.

The audio sector of Elden Ring is also of a similar quality, which if on the one hand presents numerous samples explanted from previous productions and transplanted in this latest iteration of the series, on the other hand it presents a soundtrack full of epic, mellifluous and atmospheric compositions, able to break that silence, resulting from feeling alone in a hostile and boundless land, to accompany and excite the player in the most excited or important situations.

As for dubbing, Elden Ring presents an acting similar to that of the previous works of From Software, with voices always suited to the proposed situations but never really exciting. The game presents all texts localized in Spanish but, as with all From Software productions distributed by Bandai Namco, it keeps the dubbing in English.

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