I said on my previous article that I would explain the reason I missed out on making articles for so long. Well apart from the many school projects to do, the highly anticipated Elden Ring released when I started the TY ninjas programme and even now I still enjoy playing it. Today we are going over what made Elden Ring the colossal masterpiece it is today. Also sorry that this article came late, because of my delays this may be my last article while in TY. Anyway, before we look at Elden Ring ourselves, we must first understand what it took to get here. Also this article contains spoilers up to about 30% of the game, so keep that in mind.
The Japanese game development team Fromsoftware is famous for games like the Dark Souls trilogy, Demon’s Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro. The roots of their success come from Hidetaka Miyazaki, the president and game director of Fromsoftware. After development finished on The Ringed City (DLC for Dark Souls 3) Miyazaki and the team got to work on their next game. Usually when developing games, Fromsoft creates the main gameplay mechanics first, then they create a world around it. However things were done differently for Elden Ring. Game of thrones writer George R R Martin was asked to create the base lore for Elden Ring and after that Miyazaki and his team would do the rest. The team was worried that they would have to change many of George’s involvement aspects to fit the genre of gaming, but fortunately it fit very well for what the team wanted. George R R Martin got on very well with Miyzaki making the world of Elden Ring, as Miyazaki read his books in his youth.
The great hollowing
In E3 2019 of June 10th Bandai Namco (the publisher of Elden Ring and The Dark Souls Trilogy) showcased a vague cinematic trailer showing fans what the team has been working on since their recent release of Sekiro at the time. However we would not get any official news of Elden Ring for the next 2 years. This left fans of the so called “Soulsborne” franchise crestfallen and desperate. This started what was called “The great hollowing” due to fans losing their minds waiting for info. It was also called the great hollowing as a reference to Dark Souls. On social media fans would create their own lore and bosses to combat the wait of Elden Ring. An example of this is Glaive Master Hodir who was a fan made boss that players pretended they struggled against to make It seem like they were playing Elden Ring. Famous Soulsborne youtuber Vaatividya also hosted an art competition with a high amount of money that could have been won.
Fans still waited for 2 years despite the massive following and lack of info. Any source of news on the Internet was a desperate sign of hope for fans. On June 10th 2021 however, the age of hollowing seemed to ending. As Geoff Keighley was hosting the summer game fest 2021 and Elden Ring was heavily rumored to be showcased after 2 years of silence. Me and millions of fans watched in awe and love at the eerie boss designs and jaw dropping scenery. There was also a network test and I was one of the lucky few that was picked, and that alone exceeded my sky high expectations. Soon after that, on February 25th the game was released.
An overview of the game itself
Elden Ring is an action RPG set in a dark fantasy world. We play as a Tarnished, a Tarnished who has descended from a group of warriors once banished from the lands we now find ourselves drawn back to. We are tasked to explore a massive open world and hunt down the Demigods who hold the shards of the fractured Elden Ring. Fromsoftware games are known for their brutal difficulty and vague storytelling. However Elden Ring still keeps these traits alive while also being able to accept new players. Our adventure starts in the lands between, a massive and extravagant beauty full of wonder and danger.
The lands between consists of five regions that seamlessly connect with one another. There are also multiple castles, dungeons and underground cities to explore and discover in the vast lands. Each region and each castle is filled with mystery and horror, however you are not alone. There are NPCs scattered throughout the world, some of them cruel and evil, others kind and helpful, looking for purpose. One NPC which I will talk about is Blaidd the Half Wolf, Blaidd is a really cool character whose design seems like a homage to the character Guts from Berserk. (Berserk is a huge inspiration for the Soulsborne games and is a favourite to Hidetaka Miyazaki). Anyway, Blaidd can be found in the Mistwood and is a knight with a wolf face. He helps you fight foes on your journey and is also tied to an important questline later on.
Just the tip of the iceberg
Here i will talk about some of the starting areas of the game
Limgrave – at the start of the game you traverse through the fringe folk heroes grave until you eventually discover a region that is greenish and full of mysterious points of interest. However the most eye catching of the areas is the great castle up on the hill. It is known as Stormveil Castle, Stormveil is known as a legacy dungeon. Legacy dungeons are massive and complexley layered locations that hold treasure and a main story boss. However before we can enter Stormveil we are halted in our path by Margit, the fell omen. Margit is a mysterious and epic warrior whose goal is to stop us from entering Stormveil for an ambiguous reason.
Margit can be very aggresive and tough for a starting boss. This encourages the player to explore the world to find better weapons and magic to kill Margit more efficiently. We eventually take him down and proceed to Stormveil and fight the first Shardbearer, Godrick the Grafted. Godrick is a weak boss as he is from the Early game and in the lore no one likes him. Despite him being hated by everyone he continues to think himself a lord, he gains strength by dismembering the arms of unlucky travellers and grafts them to his own flesh. He also grafts a literal dragon head onto his severed arm to kill the player. Limgrave is meant to be the starting area but players can chose to go to another regions first. This is a really nice touch as players have the freedom to explore the world without having to do hours of grinding first.
Caelid – As you travel east the lush grass of Limgrave fades as decaying fields and trees are what await you in the firey red sky of the Caelid wilds. Here you will find horrific creatures and an eerie castle that looks like it was ripped straight outta Bloodborne. There is also a classic poison swamp area but it is poison times 10! There are many gameplay changes in Elden Ring, what is even better is the gameplay aspects tie into the lore. Melania the Demigod child of Queen Marika was born Cursed with the Scarlet Rot. Scarlet Rot in game takes away the players health over time and lasts for at least 2 minutes. Melania used her Scarlet Rot to defeat General Radahn, the Demigod Shardbearer of Caelid during the Shattering war before the game takes place.
Now in present day we and others take part in a festival of warriors just to kill Radahn. The build up of the Radahn festival is one of the best in a fromsoft game. Throughout the world we are told of the mighty warrior known as “Radahn”, it is only till the festival we learn the missing details of his story. After his battle with Melania the Scarlet rot in his royal blood turned him insane, and now we and his former soldiers must give him an honourable death and put him out of his misery. You are able to fight Radahn on your own but even gone mad he is still a warrior whose strength burns with a fire comparable to the sun. Radahn is also experienced in gravity magic and that is why he can ride his small horse. He also studied how to turn into a meteor, no seriously! He also was able to hold back the the literal stars in his universe, even when he is deranged he can still hold back thousands of stars in motion. Can you believe it, a fantasy character able to control the literal stars throughout his universe, Elden Ring really is something else.
Liurnia – Now we move on to Liurnia, or as I like to call it “The Magic Region” this region is the home of the Glinstone sorcerers. Glintstone is one of the main forms of magic used in Elden Ring, it also extremely annoying to fight against in pvp. If you search the the mist of Liurnia you will find a dragon that breathes blue fire and lobsters that will make you break your controller. These lobsters aren’t like your regular lobsters, as they are the size of a tank and can shoot you with magic. If you want slightly less annoyance try the surrounding area of Liurnia, you will find Caria Manor the North West but you will not find lobsters, you will find literal giant hands which are just as annoying. Beyond the Manor you can also start the questline for Ranni the witch, this questline grants great rewards and can help unlock new areas and bosses. Now, after we are done exploring Liurnia we are ready to explore the academy of Raya Lucaria A.K.A. Hogwarts 2.0.
The Basic Lore
Long ago a god of the cosmos sought power over the lands between, it was here where the Numen, Queen Marika became the vassal for the Elden Ring. However Marika needed a consort, Godfrey, who waged war against the giants of the snowy Mountaintops married Queen Marika, thus began the age of the Erdtree. During there time together they had at least 3 children, the children and grandchildren of these two would be called the golden lineage. There were many wars during the age of the Erdtree, such as the Liurnian war. The war was against the House of the Moon, However Champion Radagon of the Erdtree and Queen Rennala put aside their differences, fell in love and ended the war. Sometime after Godfrey lost his golden status and was exiled from the kingdom, Radagon then left Rennala and he took his children with him, Radagon then became Marika’s second husband.
One night someone stole the rune of death from Malekith the black blade, half brother to Queen Marika. The rune of death has the power to destroy the immortality of the children of Marika. A member of the Golden lineage, Godwyn the Golden was found dead. This lead to Marika to become broken and after Godwyn’s tragic death the Elden Ring was shattered into Great Runes. The great Runes were found by the Demigods shortly after. The mad taint of their new found strength triggered the Shattering, a war that only led to blasphemy and bloodshed, a war from which no lord arose. After the Shattering the Tarnished are called back to fix the Elden Ring and become the new ruler of the lands between.
Unique gameplay mechanics
Torrent – since you will need to traverse great distances and Go head to head with swift foes. You are given a horse known as “Torrent”. Torrent can help you speed across the fields of the lands and can help close the distance between you and far away enemies. Also you won’t have to worry about your horse dying as Torrent is kind of like a ghost horse and can respawn after losing health.
Hidden Beauty – In most games, the open worlds are bare and are usually just there to look big. In Elden Ring however there is always something hiding because it may seem like sometimes the lands look bare. But if you search hard enough you will find camps, dungeons, puzzles and bosses that grant handsome rewards. This is a great feature that rewards the player for creativity and a keen eye, as some of these dungeons are really well hidden.
Questlines – Another annoyance in modern games is being forced to talk to bland characters and not being able to progress the story until you have completed their questlines. Well in Elden Ring, despite the many characters that inhabit the lands, the player is not forced to speak to the majority of them, even when they are, the dialogue is insightful and interesting. You can In fact beat the game while only needing to talk to about 3 characters and without being forced to do a single questline.
Lore – The lore in these games are complex, hidden and ambiguous. Usually in games the story is crammed down your throat and you are expected to keep up with the plot. However in Elden Ring the lore is hidden in item descriptions and character dialogue which can be hard to find. Even when you do claim knowledge of the world it is very vague. This is the fun part because it allows the player to search for clues themselves and form their own theories on the backstory.
Creativity and music
Music – Elden Ring, the music is composed by Yuka Kitamura who has made music for past fromsoft games. The musical score for the game is beyond phenomenal as you feel right in the Mood when in each location. When you trek the horrible sewers or war torn battlefields, you can hear the slow playing of the violin that leaves you with shivers down the spine. Or when you find yourself looking at a luxurious view of the world, a calm melody plays over as you continue to be flabbergasted by the sights. This also the same for boss music as it feels royal as it does horrifying taking on the unique bosses you fight, from dragons to ruined Kings the mood is presented so effectively through the music.
Creativity – A gripe that I had with these games is that it was hard to customise your character and level them up without going into new game plus. However in Elden Ring by the end of the game you will be around level 150, giving plenty of options to choose what build you want. Even if you are unhappy with your stats you can change them at any time in exchange for an item. Another way to make your build look more creative is Ashes of war, they are skills that can be applied to a regular weapon. The skills can enchant the weapon, or can be used to give it a new combat style. Weapons can also scale with your current build, just say you are magic build then it would be ideal to make your weapon scale with magic damage to help increase damage on enemies.
I have tried my best to show Elden Ring at its best without spoiling the whole game because I hope anyone reading this article will consider playing it. Now I know this game is hard but that is what makes it so good. In life there are things that challenge us and prevent us from moving forward, however when we conquer these obstacles we feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment. That is the same feeling you get when you are playing Elden Ring.