Video Game Elden Ring Brings Delight to New Players


Traegan Soto, Writer

Award winning Elden Ring is a popular Soulslike game created by FromSoftware that has rapidly gained extreme popularity ever since it was first released. Soulslike is a video game subgenre for action games known for their highly challenging gameplay. 

Elden Ring has a dark theme and aesthetic with its massive map, challenging gameplay, and thousands of possible playstyles. To me, it’s no wonder why it went on to win the Game of the Year in the 2022 Game Awards.

In the game, you play as an unnamed human-like figure belonging to a banished group called ‘the tarnished’. As a Tarnished, you are aiming to fix the broken, magical Elden Ring and are guided by the Grace of the Erdtree, a giant tree that is the embodiment of social order, in order to become the Elden Lord. The Elden Lord is someone who receives massive power in the Lands Between, the world the story is set in.   

Upon starting the game, you are greeted with a character creation screen, with several social classes to choose from. A few of which being: Samurai which is a dexterous warrior class that wears light armor and wields a katana, Astrologer which are powerful sorcerers with a short, weak sword, Bandit who are stealthy assassins with dual daggers and a bow, or Wretch which would be a simple character with minimum stats, no armor, and a wooden club. 

One of my favorite aspects of the game is how little the class you choose matters in the grand scheme of the game. The only thing it affects is the gear you start with and the minimums for your stats. For example, if you choose to be Samurai and start with 15 dexterity, you can increase your level as you continue playing and never fall below the initial 15. 

An interesting ability in the game is to respec which gives you the power to redistribute your level points between your character’s various attributes. You can eventually respec your points to try out a different playstyle, the amount of possibilities is nearly endless and almost every player can have a different build.

The leveling system is similar to other Soulslike games where you level up using the game’s currency which is called runes. You can get runes by doing basic tasks such as killing enemies, selling items, or finding random objects while exploring. And like other Souls games, all of your runes drop on the spot where you die, and you have one try to get them back. But if you die again, they’re lost forever. 

This can be very frustrating, especially if you just started the game and need all the runes you can get. 

Enemies and bosses are going to be your main source of rune income, and they can range from an average knight to a powerful dragon that teleports and shoots magic at you. 

Combat is the bulk of the game and makes the game quite fun for me. 

All combat is stamina-based, and you have a green bar indicating your own stamina. Attacking, dodging, or blocking a move will drain that bar. If the bar runs out, you will be unable to perform any more actions. You also have a magic bar called FP that is used to cast incantations, sorceries, use your weapons, or do special attacks. 

Ashes of War are special items used in special attacks and are also one of my favorite aspects of the game. They are powerful, fun to use, and look very cool. Every attack in Elden Ring has its very own unique animation and style, making combat enjoyable and engaging!

Another great feature of Elden Rings is its multiplayer systems. 

To play a co-op multiplayer game, you need to either enter a multiplayer password within the system to join friends or just leave it blank to play with anyone. Then, the host must craft a special item called the Furcalling Finger Remedy in order to see the summoning symbols left by other players in their worlds, placing a summoning symbol lets other players summon you to their world as a furled finger. You can put down summon symbols for co-op games or for duels. 

In co-op games, your objective is to help the host beat the area boss. And as a duelist, your objective is to take down the host. However, using the multiplayer system does cause connection errors and timeouts, so don’t be surprised if you get a message saying that you are unable to summon cooperators. 

In a fairly new update, a colosseum was also added. The colosseum allows you to match with other players for player versus player in a 1v1 duel mode, a 6-player free-for-all, or a battle where players can use spirit ashes to summon various enemies from other areas in the game to assist them. 

There is also an Invasion PvP (player versus player) option which is when a player uses an item to summon themselves into another player’s world with the objective to defeat the game’s host. This is similar to the dueling option, but the main difference is the fact that the host can have Furled Finger allies to assist them in fighting the invader, or they can use a white ring, which automatically summons a player who has an active blue ring active to be a hunter and help fight the invader. 

In my experience, I’ve found most invaders fun to fight. It’s a nice challenge, and you are rewarded with runes when you successfully defeat them. But it’s also annoying when the invader only lures you toward a dragon or other powerful enemy instead of fighting you face-to-face. Although I do enjoy this feature, I think that it can be quite disheartening to be so close to a boss just to be invaded and killed, especially for newer players.

My favorite part of the game has to be the build crafting. With so many different weapons, spells, talismans, and armor. The possibilities are nearly endless and players are always discovering new ways to play the game. I managed to run a dragon communion setup, with high investments into my stats, Dexterity and Arcane. 

The stats you level up as you play are crucial for progress and are core aspects of a build. These stats do many things, and their main categories are as followed: Vigor raises your max health, mind raises your FP (which is what you need to cast spells and magic), Endurance raises your stamina and equipment load this is very important as you need stamina to attack and dodge, strength increases melee damage for certain weapons, Dexterity increases damage for certain weapons as well as casting speed, Intelligence increases sorcery damage (any form of magic cast from a staff), Faith increases incantation damage, and Arcane increases item discovery and status damage. 

I love the complexity and variety possible with this stat system. However, players new to Souls games may need the help of a guide or another player to teach them how it works.

On that note, weapons are also an incredibly important thing in the playthrough. They range from the Night Riders Glaive (a long black weapon with a spear tip and an ax blade), the God Slayers greatsword (a giant silver sword that can perform large sweeping strikes infused with black flame) to things like the Reduvia (a crimson coated dagger that can fire out blades that deal heavy bleed damage). There are many more to list, and they all are unique and useful in their own ways! But the weapons you choose scale in damage differently with different stats. 

Another notable item category is talismans which can be equipped to buff your characters. Some popular talismans are the Fire Scorpion Charm, a talisman that boosts fire damage but lowers damage negation, and the Radagon’s Icon, a talisman that increases the casting speed of spells.

With all these different possibilities and benefits, it’s clear to me why Elden Ring has won awards and public praise. Overall, my review of the game is a 9/10. It’s a great game, more on the challenging side, but this is counteracted by the fact that you have a multiplayer option, even if it means you might have a few unwelcome invasions along the way.