Elden Ring is a fantastic action RPG with exciting gameplay, a great open environment, and many replay potential. Unfortunately, the PC’s performance could be improved.
- A well-designed, amazing open world
- Excellent battles
- There are a lot of mysteries and optional stuff in this game. It’s a long game with a lot of replay value.
- Fantastic aesthetics and visuals
- Embarrassing stuttering on a PC during a test Balance and challenge at times seem arbitrary
- Tutorial messages that are too intrusive
ELDEN RING SPECIFICATIONS (FOR PC)
Elden Ring is essentially a best hits collection from FromSoftware. This open-world, action-oriented RPG is based on a bleak, Dark Souls-esque setting, but it includes features from all Souls games to date, including Bloodborne and Sekiro. The result is a magnificent experience with melee and magic systems, a startling amount of RPG class configurations, and smooth, fluid, and intuitive equestrian exploration—a first for a Souls game. Unfortunately, the frame stuttering in this $59.99 PC game is quite annoying. This can be a significant impediment or even a deal-breaker. It’s a shame because Elden Ring would be a must-have title if it weren’t for this issue and a few minor quibbles.
Dark Fantasy Souls
Elden Ring: Dark Fantasy Souls is a Souls game at its core. Anyone unfamiliar with FromSoftware’s Souls games is action RPGs with simple controls, brutally brutal fighting, dark fantasy story themes and aesthetics, and an infamous corpse run feature that demands you to physically retrieve the necessary experience you lose every time you die. Elden Ring borrows from some FromSoftware RPGs, including Dark Souls‘ sword and sorcery, Bloodborne‘s quick movement, ominous scenery, and Sekiro’s defense-heavy systems and jump-oriented combat. It’s the pinnacle of everything FromSoftware has worked on, combined with a large open world brimming with secrets, dungeons, and threats.
A Vast Fantasy Universe
Elden Ring adores all Souls games, especially the series black sheep Dark Souls II. Elden Ring feels like the culmination of everything Dark Souls II promised when initially announced. It has a big tale, a vast and intricately detailed environment, excellent lighting, and breathtaking graphics and panoramas. In places like the Dragon Aerie and the Shrine of Amana, Dark Souls II showed glimmers of that inspirational vision. Still, the game environment felt generic and even illogical much of the time.
Every zone in Elden Ring has the same magnificent flair and evocative amazement as Dark Souls II’s Dragon Aerie. Elden Ring looks terrific in every way, from the lighting and shadows to the mist that hangs over the mountains. Jaw-dropping monuments and fantasy architecture add to the graphical splendor. Elden Ring is easily the most aesthetically stunning game that FromSoftware has ever created.
Elden Ring’s map, like movement and battle, is an essential aspect of the game. The game’s landscape is purposefully broken and varied, allowing you to climb and explore countless elevations and terrain. Rocky cliffs, poisonous lakes, fossilized wastelands, and picturesque coasts are just a few of the various environments you’ll come across—and as you go, the planet becomes more wild and terrifying. Torrent, your loyal steed, makes discovery much more accessible. He is incredibly handy, capable of incredible leaps, double-jumps, and mid-air pivots that would make Mario and Luigi envious. Because Torrent appears to lead you everywhere, exploration feels natural and delightful.
The environment isn’t simply about lovely scenery. Bloodborne-style dungeons, loot-filled tunnels, monster-infested caves, and soldier-manned forts dot the map. Elden Ring is a big game that is also dense, with many things to see and do. When you think you’ve seen everything the gaming world has to offer, new zones and areas of interest appear. FromSoftware has a penchant for level design, but this amount of attention to detail is unexpected. There is rarely a moment of rest until you are confronted with something new, whether a field boss to face, a new cave to explore, or a treasure to discover.
The destructible settings are the icing on the cake, a relatively new addition to the Souls series that genuinely amps up the creatures’ strong attacks. A fire-breathing dragon is frightening, but witnessing it raze a forest while spewing flames at you is breathtaking. The idea of an elephant-sized bear is terrible enough on its own, but seeing one burst through a stone wall as it races towards you is shocking and fresh from the perspective of the Souls series.
The supplemental content is perhaps the most stunning feature of the Elden Ring. Technically, you don’t have to follow anything more than the main story beats; however, similar to Nintendo’s acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you can explore the world at your own pace, level up, collect weapons and skills, and tackle essential story portions anytime you choose.
The non-optional sections are similarly impressive, easily rivaling some of the best zones in previous Souls games. To progress, you are directed to specific dungeons or landmarks, though you are not required to complete them straight immediately. These dungeons are enormous, just like the world map. They’ve cleverly crafted locations with hidden secrets and optional foes and bosses.
Stormveil Castle, the first central dungeon, is evocative of Boletaria Castle from Demon’s Souls, and it’s around the same size as that gigantic zone’s three sections. These essential dungeons are also among the best in the Souls series, with all the traps, ambushes, and shortcuts you’d expect from classic zones. Even better, as in Sekiro: Shadows Die, you can control your jumping. Every dungeon has a staggering amount of verticality twice. By cramming every stone balcony and rampart you can leap to with secrets and prizes, FromSoftware makes every stony terrace and rampart worth a visit.
It’s All About Action
Elden Ring borrows heavily from previous Souls games but reworks the original mechanics to make them feel more modern or natural. Weapon Arts and the Focus gauge (mana) return from Dark Souls III, jumping and posture-breaking return from Sekiro, and even the dual-wielding power stance from Dark Souls II returns. With pretty much every build, the revamped magic systems provide a plethora of assault spells, buffs, support abilities, and minion summoning. Even the most ruthless strength-based figures can benefit from the magical offense.
In comparison to other RPGs, Elden Ring’s starting classes are a bit unusual, yet they perform the same tasks as classes from previous FromSoftware titles. The tanky Vagabond, for example, is comparable to the old Knight class in that it has excellent strength but poor magic stats. Like the Wanderer class in Dark Souls, the Samurai class is a dexterity-focused class with stats geared toward using fast weapons. Whatever you pick, you’ll eventually acquire access to everything the other courses have, giving you plenty of options as you develop your character beyond the raw numbers and equipment.
The Sekiro-like posture system is responsible for the most noticeable combat changes. Heavy assaults and aerial blows can be used to stun foes, leaving them vulnerable to a meaty finishing technique. The second related update is the counter mechanism, which now exists independently of the series’ tried and true shield parry. After a successful block in Elden Ring, you can riposte. This showy new follow-up punch may easily stagger primary adversaries and causes enormous posture damage. The counter and stagger systems can be employed against boss foes, although they require more activation. To daze a boss for the death blow, you’ll need many ripostes or aerial assaults.
Elden Ring features a wide range of enemies. Because many of these enemies have the same bones and rigs as previous Souls games, the iconic Asylum Demon, knights, and giant crabs from Dark Souls feature here. With new models and tweaked move sets to match Elden Rings’ look, these classic fiends can still catch you off guard. Bat demons, man-faced harpies, blade-limbed panthers, dinosaur-dogs, magma-spewing lizards, exploding will-o-wisps, and horse-mounted warriors are just a few of the new foes in the game. In this regard, the game becomes increasingly diversified, yet it never overwhelms you. Throughout the vast, hundred-hour-long quest, you switch between familiar and foreign adversaries just enough to make the battle new.
Elden Ring is also more approachable because of its open-world aspect and tutorial-heavy start. Elden Ring, taking a page from Sekiro’s book, regularly inserts tutorial windows for several hours during the game’s opening. Many gameplay concepts are addressed in tutorial windows that interrupt the action, such as healing flasks, guard-counter assaults, horse summons and dismissal, and the checkpoint system. FromSoftware appears to have intended newbies to grasp gameplay fundamentals at the expense of some autonomy in the RPG’s early stages. It’s a minor niggle, to be sure.
Because Elden Ring is an open-world game, you won’t get stuck in a brutal battle like you could in a previous FromSoftware game. Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro, were all open-world games with a linear progression. There weren’t many branching pathways, save from a few alternative excursions, and you had to complete most zones to complete the game. This meant that if you were stuck on a boss, you’d be stuck until you figured out how to beat it. However, in Elden Ring, this is not the case because you may go almost anyplace. You can stop to explore caves and ruins along the road or visit various zones at any time. There are several critical dungeons and bosses to conquer, but nothing stops you from going elsewhere to get better gear or experience and then dealing with that thorn in your side later.
Of course, this comes at the cost of a certain amount of difficulty. You can accidentally make the game too easy for yourself by gearing up too much while you explore or by discovering a secret dungeon or monster much later than planned due to Elden Rings’ lax approach to growth. That’s to be expected in an open-world game, and it’s a minor quibble in any case. Elden Ring is still a challenging game.
Is Elden Ring compatible with your PC?
Elden Ring requires an AMD Ryzen 3 3300X or Intel I5-8400 processor, AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU, or Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 GPU, 12GB of RAM, 60GB of storage space, and Windows 10 installed. Your PC will need an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X or Intel I7-8700K CPU, as well as an AMD Radeon RX VEGA 56 or Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 GPU to run the game at recommended settings.
Elden Ring’s PC settings are serviceable. Most keyboard, mouse, and gamepad functions can be remapped. Shadow Quality, Lighting Quality, Effects, Volumetrics, Reflections, Shaders, Global Illumination, Antialiasing, and Texture Quality are just a few of the sophisticated graphics settings to modify for better performance.
On a desktop PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, and 16GB of RAM, I tested Elden Ring. I played at a resolution of 1440p and a frame rate of 60 frames per second. The game is capped at 60 frames per second and performed admirably. Take a look at these techniques to improve Elden Ring’s performance if you wish to uncap the frame rate.
Unfortunately, Elden Ring stutters on the computer. This might range from minor stutters when moving the camera or engaging foes to massive chugging when there is too much action. One very heinous thing occurred while facing a field monster in the Dragonbarrow zone. As the game struggled to catch up with the action, the stuttering became so awful that my character appeared to teleport. As of this writing, publisher Bandai Namco has acknowledged the issue and stated that it is trying to resolve it. The online community has investigated the problem. Some potential fixes include increasing the Shader cache size to limitless or selecting “High Performance” from the Windows Graphics options menu.
These, unfortunately, did not work for me. The game plays smoothly until it suddenly stops, and then it resumes. Unfortunately, the game has this flaw, and I understand why PC users delay purchases until a remedy is released.
Valve’s graphics team has been optimizing Elden Ring for the Stream Deck, which is interesting. On Steam, the game is marked as Deck Verified, and Proton is working on a remedy to minimize and alleviate the stuttering via driver layers. This fix is scheduled to be released shortly, so if you’re lucky enough to have a Steam Deck, you might enjoy a better experience than your Windows-based PC peers until a real patch arrives.
With a few caveats, it’s awe-inspiring
Elden Ring is one of those fascinating games that I think about when I have idle time, wondering what builds I would try on a second playthrough or what locations I might have missed the first time around. It’s a beautiful nostalgic sensation, and Elden Ring’s grandeur and scope impress me. Unfortunately, the game was released with annoying frame rate difficulties, which can be a deal-breaker for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle. Elden Ring would easily score much higher if it weren’t for the game’s irritating stuttering; it’s an otherwise fantastic game. Hopefully, developer FromSoftware will deliver a patch soon to allow Elden Ring to shine as brightly as it deserves.
Elden Ring (for PC)
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