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RPS Advent Calendar 2022, December 23

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Behind the door of today’s RPS Advent Calendar is a game that was just beaten to second place. Luckily, after saying he’s beaten, he can simply come back to life at the last Grace site he visited, then dive back into the fray.

Fight a monster with too many limbs in an epic RPG elderberry ring!

Liam’s beginner tips for Elden Ring are actually beginner friendly and very helpful

Ollie: After my first session playing Elden Ring, I felt like the Souls formula had always leaned towards this particular point. FromSoftware’s first foray into truly open-world gaming has, unfortunately, tarnished (heh) my opinion of just about every other open-world experience.

If you’ve ever played a Souls game, you’ll be in familiar territory. Elden Ring is a combat-focused RPG where you explore a spooky decaying world, rest in front of campfires (or in this case, Sites of Grace) to level up your character, and battle loads of enemies and enemies. masterfully crafted bosses. You begin life as a lowly Tarnished warrior trapped in The Lands Between, a world of immortal spirits and corrupt demigods. Your nebulous end goal is to become the next Elden Lord, the all-powerful deity of this strange and strangled fantasy world. You do this by exploring the world atop your spectral mount, Torrent, encountering enigmatic and morally ambiguous characters, challenging powerful beings, and dying many and many and many and many and-

Elden Ring is a 2022 Action RPG from FromSoftware.

In practice, the goal does not matter. The beauty of Elden Ring is the freedom to explore and get into trouble. The map, wonderfully devoid of icons and map markers, unfolds steadily over time. Each new map fragment you find in the world expands the boundaries of the map so you’re never quite sure you’ve seen it all. Don’t get me wrong: the world of The Lands Between is postiively gigantic. And everything you can see, you will eventually reach.

As with all FromSoft games, Elden Ring is extremely difficult, and even the lowliest footman can dispatch you with deplorable ease if you’re not careful. The game also has a rather twisted sense of humor, and likes to play tricks on you. A few tips for any new player: perhaps do not open this underground chest in the dragon burnt ruins. It contains a teleport trap that transports you to a difficult late-game area and resets your spawn there so you can’t escape without fighting your way out.

It’s this kind of game that makes The Lands Between such a joy to explore. Go in any direction and you really don’t know what you’ll find. The game will always manage to surprise you in one way or another. Sometimes in very grand manners. This is supposed to be a key selling point of nearly every open world game, but no other game handles it quite like Elden Ring.

Screenshot from Elden Ring showing a player holding a lightning imbued sword and hitting a Tree Sentinel with a bolt of lightning

The Volcano Manor at Elden Ring

Ranni the Witch is an NPC in FromSoftware's RPG Elden Ring.

The Elden Ring cutscene shows a large landmass stone hovering in the air, as chunks of stone fall from the side and tornadoes hover nearby.

Liam: As far as I’m concerned, Limgrave is Ring of the Ancients. I progressed ever so slightly beyond the starting area of ​​the game, but didn’t care about all that wizarding shit? So I just went back to Limgrave as soon as I could. Limgrave is Elden Ring in miniature. Everything the game has to offer is there, nestled in the seaside cliffs and behind crumbling walls. A big rat boy is dribbling? Check. Stoic knight with a spear? Check. A weird guy with a terrible posture and a sinister laugh? Check, check, check. I may not have gotten very far with Elden Ring, but Limgrave on its own is a game unto itself. A pretty good one. When he’s not stomping on my head with his troll feet or whatever.

Alice0: Elden Ring bleeds magic as he goes on too long, but luckily he has plenty of magic to safely waste.

Ed: Alice O’s thoughts are closest to mine. Elden Ring is a special thing but oh my god it’s an exhausting thing. Still, the density and scope of its open world is something to remember. I mean, it made a seemingly harmless elevator ride one of the highlights of my year, so I can’t complain too much.

Limgrave in the Elden Ring

Hayden: I had two very different experiences with Elden Ring. My first was a sprawling 300-hour venture, in which I slammed every wall and examined every corner of the map for new secrets. Such is the way of guidestown. But Elden Ring made this experience so much more fun than it ever was (and probably never will be). Although he never played the main Dark Souls series, Elden Ring taught me that FromSoft is about those juicy secrets hidden behind a series of three secret walls.

My second run only lasted 25 hours, consisting of a sprint to get Bloodhound’s Fang weapon before embarking on a sadistic run through each region. I challenged all the main bosses with barely a higher level between them, which perhaps brought them more in line with the narrower experiences found before the gargantuan open world of Elden Ring. I had to analyze attack patterns much more thoroughly than before, refining the frames in which to dodge until I was able to get by with a burst of health. It was a grueling chore at times, but it was also one of the best weekends of the year.

These parts were completely different, with the former embracing her freedom to explore and the latter treating her like a brutal boss glove. Despite these differences, however, both experiences felt quite worthwhile, as if they were the real focus of Elden Ring’s design. No matter how I chose to play, he managed to exceed my expectations. Perhaps more importantly, it still kind of leaves me wanting more.

A screenshot of Elden Ring that shows the player looking over a view of Limgrave and beyond.

It’s been months since I last got lost in the Lands Between, but it’s now turned into something of a comfort game. If I have a few spare hours I’ll load it up with a new Wretch and run through Limgrave to quickly challenge Margit, like hitting the pub with an old pal for a quick catch-up. I show them my cool new sword and they hit me with a cane. Very normal friend things. It’s become cozy, a warm way to spend a dark evening while snuggling up in a blanket with hot chocolate. Or maybe I just have Stockholm Syndrome.

Alice Bee: I’ve run into the wall that is Elden Ring a few times – I got along pretty well with Dark Souls 3, but my favorite of the FromSoft games is Bloodborne, and compared to those dark, cramped tunnels and streets, Elden Ring is prohibitively open. But I think I turned a corner with that, because a friend told me to get on my horse and go past stuff that seemed too difficult. So when I splashed out to look over a lake and a big fucking dragon appeared out of nowhere, I quickly chased it in another direction. I felt more free to explore and try things. I ran into the main boss, the king with all the extra arms and that, I couldn’t beat, and went exploring instead. Not worth it.

Granted, I only have five hours because I walked into a mine full of what appear to be burning walking garden statues and I’m stuck there if I don’t want to drop around 7,000 runes. But what five hours they have spent so far. It’s kind of the process with Elden Ring though. You are beaten into a harder form by adversity. You just have to keep going back. The one-inch punch of video games.

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