Elden Ring - Before You Buy
Hey, we're back with another episode of Before You Buy That Show where we give you some straight-up gameplay and our first impressions of the latest games released, as usual. It's me, Jake Baldino, and today we're talking about Alden Ring. I'd just like to say it for these big articles. We all really appreciate it, genuinely.
It's our job. It puts food on our table. We love that you came here. So straight off the bat, Eldon Ring is great. It's challenging, it's got the software stuff you want, it's got an open world that doesn't suck and feels absolutely unique and addictive, it's got great stuff for newcomers to get into it, and it's got those crushing, incredible moments, boss battles, it's absolutely massive and challenging, and I think it's a game changer full stop now.
So you know, this footage we've all been playing here is captured on PC and PS5 versions now. A big shout out to Eric and Andrew behind the scenes for this, and also that this footage is spoiler free. We're a mixed group here at GameRank. Some of us here are very much into these games. I'm a bit more casual.
I've played them all. It's taken a long time to understand software games and appreciate them. And the Elder Ring definitely seems to check the boxes for both types of fans and even newcomers, which I'll get to. In it, you are a tarnished thrust into a land torn apart by conflict. The elder ring has been shattered.
And a select few hold the shards, and it's up to you to journey, defeat them, and become the elden lord. Now. I'm totally glossing over it and butchering it a bit, but hey, you know how these software games can be storylight. Intentionally vague and wordy, seemingly on the surface but actually really interesting.
Eldon Ring does show it a bit more on the surface, so it's a bit easier to immediately grasp exactly what's going on and get a sense of this sad, lonely, brutal world. There's a nice little bit of characters to talk to here and there and get some interesting story contact, and it's actually pretty cool now that Game of Thrones author George R.
Martin did i'll work on the early phases of this with some world-building overarching stuff. It's hard to say what exactly his influence is here, you know, compared to Miyazaki and the rest of the team, but hey, the game overall does feel a little different, but don't get it twisted, it is still typical of software the way it goes, and of course, the real meat is the gameplay, and it is extremely fun to play for like a boatload of reasons.
But, there are way more nuances to discover the more you play with them, and they always play differently. You know, one of us here has a completely different character type than the other, and it's like a totally different thing from character build to equipment type to weapon type. It's totally different.
These games beg for multiple characters and replayability. The combat itself is challenging and deliberate. I think if you've already decided you don't like soul style combat, this won't change your mind, but there is some fun new stuff now for the layman. Think Dark Souls combat but with a jump button and a really solid guard counter attack that is satisfying to pull off.
You can still parry if you have the tools, but a guard counter timed just right and the sound effect triggers and you get an extra hit. That's where you can really feel a little Sakura influence here and there, and it works out nicely. The ashes of war here are like built-up versions of weapon arts; they're special skills you can find and improve and add to your armaments.
Some are just kind of like cool new sword spin moves or something more magical and powerful. There are a lot of them to discover here, and it just adds to your repertoire sometimes. More than just a new axe or a cool piece of armor, spirit ashes are also very important. They're like cool summons that most characters can pull off on a base level, and they let you have some help in battles, like summoning some killer ghost wolves, undead soldiers, or even more weird and surprising things we won't spoil.
If you play your cards right and you pay attention to how the game plays out, you can upgrade these as well. When you're out there, you're also finding crafting recipes to craft more items like little throwable bombs or knives or buff items, and, strengthening your weapons and of course, farming souls, which this time around are sites of grace and runes respectively.
There are a lot of stats and numbers overall, but what it boils down to is good old-fashioned RPG gameplay where stats and gameplay mechanics go hand in hand, like spaghetti and meatballs or lamb and tuna fish, but the magic is really in the world and the exploration. This is where I think it might finally click for newcomers.
And where veterans can just have some good fresh fun, you have a mount, interestingly enough named Torrent, that you can summon and cruise around in, go off wherever you want, and have fun discovering stuff, hidden bosses, dungeons, items, even npcs. There's just so much stuff begging to be discovered, and the game encourages you to do so by keeping the restrictions light and generously placing sights of grace for checkpoints.
And a lot of stuff is truly hidden here, like you gotta really look for it because it's tucked away or there's some really obscure way to unveil or unlock something. People are going to hit the occasional, okay, what the hell do I do now roadblock, but that's kind of the nature of these games, and there's a lot here still.
The overall freedom really helps me see something scary just sprint away and come back later stronger. There's a bit of forgiveness here in the open environments because the game wants you to learn and get better and grow stronger. It almost kind of baits you in as a newcomer because you know this world is completely organic and it's not a map filled with question marks or filler content.
All of it in there is just waiting to be organically found or stumbled upon, and all of it is meaningful and beneficial. The optional dungeons that you can find are usually good surprises, even if sometimes they have similar or kind of bland looks, but not the legacy dungeons. All of the legacy dungeons are like the more legit ones, all of them.
They're great, and they have at least one surprise. For now, you can explore and not do any of the main activities for a shockingly long time. I'm talking hours, especially as you're still getting your feet wet. There's a lot of fun in getting lost and stumbling upon something you know, way more so than in any other recent, more standard open world game.