Game Reviews

Elden Ring review

Open world bashing

from ₹ 2,499

Steam price | Tested on the PS5

FromSoftware has a reputation for making games harder than Flappy Bird. Although, unlike Flappy Bird, almost all FromSoftware games that came before Elden Ring have had more juice to the meat than just an unrewarding high score figure. All the while managing to give masochist gamers a thorough walloping in the name of progress and learning curve.

So why is this formula working? Do gamers want a challenge that other games simply tend to hide behind the difficulty toggle? Or are gamers tired of being spoon-fed objectives and lore? Elden Ring is the culminated answer to all of those questions. It’s tough as nails, and you’re allowed to piece together the lore at your whim and pace. 

It’s as difficult as the souls-like games that came before it, but this time even if your path is blocked by a seemingly undefeatable boss, you’re allowed a detour of many hours before actually making progress with the main bosses. This choice to pick your fights in the open-world setting is what Elden Ring offers. Not to mention that the backbone of the lore is written by George R.R. Martin.

Story and setting

The starting is pretty much the basics of all Souls-like games. A voice-less character that is tossed into an evil infested world and you must fight till the finish to be the boss of them all. On the surface, this may feel like FromSoftware hasn’t poured much into creating the world of Elden Ring in regards to your character’s role in the world. But wander outside, and you’ll meet friends and foes that fill the gap in the plot. 

Discovering the story of Elden Ring and its many secrets is a game in itself. It’s very similar to Breath of the Wild when it comes to exploration, but unlike the Zelda game where you have a predetermined purpose with an endgame boss in mind, Elden Ring doesn’t make open-world exploration an option. It’s part and parcel of the game. 

That said, you do have map markers pointing you in the direction of the next major boss battle which stands as a roadblock to your adventure. This is a very massive game that requires your full attention and dedication. Might even take longer if you’re taking time to beat enemies. Although, your entry into the FromSoftware universe is only marginally hindered this time because game-progressing bosses are not blocking you from levelling up, learning about the lore, fighting interesting bosses or getting amazing weapons and abilities. All this is possible without even thinking about the first major boss fight.

Weapons and abilities

Elden Ring’s gameplay can be customised to your taste and play style. No need for defence? Get a sword in both hands and get swinging. Got crusader vibes? Spear and horseback battles are the way. Feeling unworthy because of all the armour and protection? Fight in nothing but your undergarments. Enjoy magic and sorcery? Get a staff and magic spells to vanquish your foes. The choice is yours, and you won’t feel betrayed by your choice as long as you dedicate the time and effort to that build.

You also get a deep character customisation option at the start, and a healthy spreadsheet worth of attributes that dictate your playstyle. Weapon and stat management is a core element of the game. You start off with one of the 10 character classes, each with unique attributes and different playstyles.

Weapons and abilities are directly affected by the attributes you choose to increase when you level up. Sorcery and swordplay will and should have completely different attribute advancements. You shouldn’t spread your attributes evenly across the sheet. It’s smarter to have an end game build in mind with your character and plan accordingly from the start. Something veteran souls players will agree with.

Either way, the game challenges your mind and reflexes because not only is it difficult, but it doesn't tell you much either. So you have to figure things out yourself or watch 10-15 how-to videos on YouTube, and maybe follow a guide on specific topics in Elden Ring on Reddit as well. That’s how souls games are and have always been. You can, obviously, not do any of that and just play as you normally would and still have a great time with the satisfying glint of joy after defeating a tough boss. Not knowing what will happen next or which new dungeon or area you will come across is charming and rewarding too.

Boss, dungeons and the open-world

There are plenty of caves, dungeons, secrets and labyrinth-y castles to navigate and explore. You’re almost always rewarded with decent loot. If the going gets tough, expect a better reward than a dainty flower. Stealth is also very important in the game for groups of enemies. If you take a group of enemies head-on, prepare to be sent back to the last checkpoint very quickly. Using stealth to take out one enemy at a time is usually a better option.

The boss designs stay true to FromSoftware’s general themes of dark fantasy. Mutated and unpleasant-looking bosses and enemies are a common sight. Some absurd ones as well like a pot or an eagle with swords for legs! But it’s not all ghouls and ghosts. The world of Elden Ring also has knights and dragons, and a few friendly faces.

Honestly, the open-world setting works so well for Elden Ring that I wondered why it was not there for other Souls-like games in the first place. You get a trusted steed called Torrent, and you can summon it any time in the open-world environment. The horse springs forth from under your legs just like it does in the Darksiders game. You can double jump while on the horse to reach higher places or cross chasms. There are also air currents called Spirit Springs that can take you up a cliff or get you down one in an instant. You can also fast travel from Sites of Lost Grace. These are like bonfires that let you upgrade your level using runes, pass the time, craft items, assign health and mana flasks and manage chest inventory. 

Like all Souls games, you will lose all your runes upon death and you must travel back to the site of defeat to recollect them. If you die before collecting your dropped runes, they’re lost forever. The number of Runes needed keeps increasing as you level up so, at late-game encounters, the stakes are high.


Elden Ring is very pretty. Some might argue that Horizon Forbidden West is prettier and it also stands as a graphical marvel from a technical standpoint. Although we still cannot discredit the amazing world that FromSoftware has built because every inch of this place is going to amaze you. 

It shares a dark fantasy theme similar to Dark Souls games, and the enemies are also designed with such overarching themes in mind. To that extent, the enemy designs never really wowed us. Most of the important enemies have very deformed structures that aren’t awe-inspiring. Obviously, that’s extremely subjective. We do think that these enemies are very indicative of the Elden Ring world, and that is more important.

We tested the game on PS5, our RTX 3080 gaming rig and an Alienware with an RTX 3070 gaming laptop. There’s no haptic feedback or Tempest Audio support on the PS5 controller nor does it have striking ray-traced visuals. It’s pretty but doesn’t unlock the full potential of new generation consoles and PCs. Stick to the performance mode on the PS5 because the game favours a more understandable approach — let fancy graphics take a hit for stable and smoother open-world exploration. Although, even after a few weeks into the launch, there are some texture pop-ins and unstable frame rates on the PS5. You do get that rapid load times with the consoles. 

There was a bit of a problem on the PC but updates have patched the jittery performance. Unfortunately, the game is still locked at 60FPS, so whatever GPU you have, you will not be able to get more than 60. The Nvidia RTX 3080 desktop GPU and the RTX 3070 in the Alienware x17 were capable enough to run the game at max settings. We got a stable 60FPS on 2K resolution on the RTX 3080 and around 60FPS on the Alienware x17 and its FullHD display. Sadly, the game doesn’t have any Ray Tracing or DLSS chops at launch. DLSS might come to Elden Ring, but we’re not sure when.


After almost 40+ hours on Elden Ring, I still feel I have barely scratched the surface. And I am pretty sure most of the gamers are still getting started — as it is duly mentioned in the messages written by other players. Pay attention to these messages left by other players because they can inform you about hidden stuff and annoying ambushes. The multiplayer in Elden Ring is a good option to help out friends struggling with certain boss battles.

The game lets you exit from open-world fights you know you cannot win, has jumping and crouching buttons to make fight or flight options smarter, and even replenishes your health and mana flasks if you take out a group of enemies. It’s more forgiving than other games in this genre, rewards well and comes with many hours of meaningful and fun content.

As George would say, “The game is long and full of terrors” or something like that. And we welcome it with open arms. Although for you dear reader, if you’re a Souls fan then Elden Ring is a no-brainer. If you’re looking to give souls-like games a shot, Elden Ring is the best place to start your souls-like diet.

Stuff Says

A masterpiece for masochist gamers
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Stunning open world design

  1. Amazing boss fights

  1. Oh-so-difficult but always achievable

  1. Many weapons and class options

  1. A true evolution of Dark Souls

  1. Every loot, every quest, every fight is worth the effort

  1. Everything we dislike about Elden Ring is what makes it so special