Malenia vs Radahn

Elden Ring is Already the Best Game of the Decade

Hidetaka Miyazaki does not miss. The now world-renowned mind behind the Dark Souls franchise has delivered his Magnum Opus, Elden Ring, which has far surpassed expected sales and is easily his most marketed game to date. Those who are familiar with the Souls games know he has an incredible mind for story telling, filling his games with characters that are rich with lore and building a world that is second-to-none.

Since his breakout game, Demon’s Souls, in 2009 Miyazaki and From Software have put out five game that could be considered as the best game of that year; including Demon’s Souls (which also got a 2020 remake), we have Dark Souls (2011), Bloodborne (2015), Dark Souls III (2016), Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019), and now Elden Ring. Collectively, they are known as the SoulsBorne franchise. By no means a bad game, Dark Souls II is the outlier here. However, Miyazaki was only listed as a Supervisor for that game, whereas he was the Director for the others.

Those who have played any of the SoulsBorne games had extremely high expectations when Elden Ring was announced back at E3 in 2019. You could feel this game had the potential to be the biggest yet, with the legendary author of A Song of Ice and Fire author George RR Martin attached to the story along with Miyazaki, it was a match made in heaven. Those expectations came true, and this was the first SoulsBorne game I could remember getting a significant amount of marketing in the United States. There were TV spots everywhere, even ad reads during a primetime UFC fight! 

Elden Ring is a culmination of the best parts of Miyazaki’s previous works, paired with George RR Martins storytelling, along with his own, this story runs so deep. I have just broken 100 hours on this game which, compared to some of my friends, is not a lot at all. The game is so expansive and so open, your first time playing through you are bound to miss something. That’s what makes subsequent play throughs so much better; you’ll get a new ending, find a new NPC questline, even kill a new area boss. My first play through I finished in 86 hours, I went very slow, and chose to explore every nook and cranny I could find in one area of the map before moving on; and I know there are still like three areas and four or five NPC questlines that I haven’t completed. 

There are also six confirmed endings in the game, all involving completing different NPC quests to get there. There is no one linear way to complete your story and get to the final boss, making everyones play through unique. The core combat is most akin to traditional Dark Souls gameplay but the weapons and builds you can make are more extensive than ever before, and new additions like Ashes of War (an offshoot of Sekiro’s Combat Arts gameplay) and Spirit Summons make gameplay slightly easier than previous installations. 

If there is one complaint about this game, it is the endgame bosses. For the majority of the game, you will know if you are under leveled to be in an area almost instantly (like with the first boss of the game, Margit). However, when you reach the endgame boss gauntlet, there are some frustrations that set in due to the fact all of them have one combo, grab, or AOE (Area of Effect) attack that could instantly kill you. It feels like you have to sacrifice your upgrades in other categories to boost your Vigor so you don’t die if you make one mistake. Then there’s Malenia, Goddess of Rot. It doesn’t even matter with her, you could have 80 Vigor and still die instantly, but luckily she’s optional and you’re only required to fight her if you messed up with the Three Fingers and want to do a different ending (I didn’t do that but I fought her anyway for fun. She sucked but I did kill her because I am a beast). 

Overall, this game is expansive, unique, has an incredibly diverse and interesting story and characters, and has served to be many peoples first SoulsBorne game. I remember when I played Dark Souls III, I’ll never forget the sheer awe I felt playing a masterpiece like that for the first time. I assume the feeling is the same for many people playing Elden Ring, having never experienced that before.

This game will age gracefully, and it will have amazing memories in the minds of many. For that reason, you can already call Elden Ring the Game of the Decade.

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