Elden Ring is finally out later this month, and just a few weeks ahead of launch, a bunch of early previews have dropped. Impressions are pretty positive across the board here, with particular praise being thrown at Elden Ring's open world.
So, we've rounded up some opinions from various outlets to see what the consensus is on FromSoftware's latest effort:
The ability to wander off in any direction never gets old. Limgrave is sprawling, with plenty of horrors lurking over hills and nestled in ditches. Its outer edges expand further than you'd think. Where its central spine takes on a golden hue thanks to the Erdtree's shine, its borderlands can be cold and harsh. Small mobs and helpful messages disappear entirely if you take the path less travelled, although its pockets of danger are mercifully broken up by the occasional barren space, giving you a bit of room to breathe in between the nasties.
From our experience, Elden Ring’s gameplay and world feel like they’re going to deliver on the almost unprecedented expectations players have for this game. The variety in combat and precision with which it’s delivered is a hallmark of a team that’s been marking incredible games for over a decade, and refining a formula that was already exceptional when it debuted.
Again, it hits a wonderful juxtaposition. Elden Ring feels like home, but it also feels like being a stranger in a strange land. There’s an enormous amount to do at any given time, whether it be grinding for runes and getting materials to craft items, or trying out fighting one of the bosses, being invited to a player’s world, or just exploring the vast landscapes in front of you. And the real beauty of it is that the game feels truly open in what you choose to do and when. It’s not just an open world in terms of where you can go, but also in terms of what you can do. The possibilities feel endless.
Elden Ring is truly open. We talk about open world games a lot, of course, but a lot of the time these are linear games that are simply set in an open world. In an Assassin’s Creed, for instance, you can meander the world in whatever manner you wish, but the story missions will broadly take place in the same order, at the same time. In Elden Ring, you can pick a direction and run, and as far as I saw in these six hours, the game will never try to correct you back onto a defined ‘beaten path’.
Elden Ring feels freeing in ways From Software games haven't before, perhaps in part due to fear of the unknown, but also, fear of the great unknown expanse that lies before you. if you're struggling with a particular area or boss, simply fast-travel or summon Torrent and ride your way out of there, and find a myriad other directions you can explore in.
The Dark Souls series eventually added in generous fast travel that trivialized the process of learning how to get from one part of the world to another. But the first game, especially, required you to build a mental map in your head so you could race directly from Firelink Shrine to Blighttown on your second run. They never, ever gave you a map. But Elden Ring does, along with a compass and the ability to mark up to five points of interest for easy wayfinding. Standard for open world games, but absolutely wild for a Souls game.
One of the most exciting things about Elden Ring’s early game is that everyone playing this RPG game is going to have a different experience. While I decided to head towards Sorceress Sellen before travelling to Caelid, someone else might be drawn to Limgrave’s Dragon-Burnt Ruins. Elden Ring’s map is littered with unique environments, and because you can go anywhere you want at any time, there’s no such thing as a wrong turn.
So, critics seem fairly impressed with Elden Ring's shift to an open world, which is good news for those of you who were afraid it might lose some of the 'Souls' magic. There's only a couple weeks to go folks!
Will you be playing Elden Ring on day one? Do these previews excite you? Let us know in the comments.