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What The Critics Are Saying About Elden Ring

The internet already knew "Elden Ring" would be a hit when FromSoftware confirmed its release window at E3 2021. However, it wasn't clear how big it would be until the high-90s scores rolled in from Metacritic and OpenCritic. It's official: "Elden Ring" is a universally acclaimed game with even more to offer than its iconic predecessors, "Dark Souls," "Bloodborne," and "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice." 

"Elden Ring" blends the creative talents of FromSoftware's Hidetaka Miyazaki with George R. R. Martin, author of the famed "Game of Thrones" series, to create a challenging game with rich lore. Long ago, the titular Elden Ring was destroyed in an event called the Shattering. Its shards, called the Great Runes, now reside with different bosses across the land. Players must collect all the Great Runes to restore the Elden Ring as the "Tarnished," an exile who seeks to become the Elden Lord. 

Here's why critics love "Elden Ring," regardless of its few flaws.

It's the best Souls game for beginners

As advertised, "Elden Ring" offers an impressive degree of class variety and an expansive open world. Like "Breath of the Wild," the game lets players take whatever course they choose without any handholding. The only requirement is finding the Elden Ring.

Digital Trends' Giovanni Colantonio wrote that "even the haters will be impressed" with the level of "rewarding exploration" and other freedoms in the game. His review highlights enemy designs and worldbuilding, which blends well with the game's "deep combat customization." RPG Site's Bryan Vitale agreed with that sentiment, noting that the flexibility weaved into his combat plans made "Elden Ring" a richer experience. He ended up ditching his original build for a hybrid mage-knight that better utilized the gear he ended up finding.

In its review about the game's difficulty level, Washington Post wrote that "Elden Ring" is FromSoftware's most successful attempt at appealing to a broader audience to date. According to Washington Post, Hidetaka Miyazaki had been incorporating small ways to cater to more players for a while now. "Elden Ring" retains the "moment-to-moment" challenge that defines Soulslike games and allows for an "easier" playthrough due to the game design itself.

Elden Ring's detail is immaculate to a fault

Critics raved about the detail incorporated into the class design, worldbuilding, and just about every aspect of the "Elden Ring." However, that detail comes at a cost. Multiple reviewers mentioned performance problems across different platforms. Input's Steven Wright played the game on a PC with a Nvidia GeForce 1080 GTX and noticed a "persistent issue with micro-stutters every few seconds, especially during boss fights." He also said that others reported that the micro-stuttering is an issue "regardless of how powerful your rig is."  

Digital Trends also called out these technical issues, detailing "frame stutters" and "game crashes" that added unnecessary stress to already challenging battles. Its review didn't mince words, writing that the third-person camera was "most notably a mess" with how it inconveniently zoomed in on large enemies. Interestingly enough, Wright also wrote about the same issue and noted it was a problem from past titles, too. 

"The game's camera still has a mind of its own in cramped spaces, and it's still annoying when you die because your sword clanked against the wall instead of hitting the guy right in front of you," the review read. 

"Elden Ring" releases on February 25, 2022 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Many critics enjoyed the graphical fidelity possible on the next-gen PS5 and Series X|S, but other platforms should still run it at a satisfactory level.