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This being an open-world game, it does suffer from numerous minor issues, like the very real danger of getting stuck on some terrain, or the AI not being able to handle elevation. But as far as open-world games are concerned, it's not even close to the worst thing ever.
As opposed to clear bugs, the biggest victim of the game's scope is the attention to detail FromSoftware is usually known for. Certain things in the game, like some of its quests, feel downright unfinished. The covenant system feels like it's supposed to be in the game but isn't. There's a whole system that lets you modify your armor, but all it does is let you remove capes from certain armor pieces. And don't even get me started on how the game's upgrade materials are now separated into sterile numbered tiers, as opposed to being chunks and slabs.
On the technical side, the game's visuals are a marked improvement over its predecessors. But honestly, visual fidelity is not really an integral part of most Souls games. It's all about their art direction. And as usual, it's top-notch in Elden Ring. Music, on the other hand… Well, music has never been FromSoftware's strong suit, in my opinion. Unless you're someone who can get excited by endless variations of somber melancholic plinking, chances are you won't be jumping with joy for Elden Ring's soundtrack.
Much like the earlier Souls titles, Elden Ring constantly saves your progress as you play, while also allowing you to manually save on quitting the game.
Another Souls game staple is the fact that the game really should be played with a controller. You certainly can use a mouse and keyboard for it, but it won't feel right. The game's control scheme is fairly unique and really needs a controller to shine.
The game also comes with multiplayer functionality. The main meat there are the messages you can leave on the ground and have other players see them in their game. This whole system is fascinating. Simply by working with a set of pre-made phrases, the game's community now has its own unique language for communicating things, its in-jokes, and clashing groups of people who want you to jump off of cliffs and those who want to prevent you from doing it.
You can also engage in some PvP, but unlike the previous Souls games, it doesn't look like people can just invade you at will now. Instead, they can only do so when you've already summoned other players to help you beat the game, or when you invite them in.
Finally, one last thing I want to mention is the game's length. Prior to its release, its length was estimated at around 30 hours. That was an understatement of the year. While missing plenty of optional dungeons, it took me around 100 hours to beat the game, and that's without getting stuck on any of its bosses for too long.
And while this number is comparable to some other major CRPGs, you have to keep in mind that Elden Ring doesn't have that much dialogue or cutscenes. These 100 hours were almost all pure gameplay, and as such, the game feels even larger than it already is. And that's not even mentioning the New Game+ mode that's a staple of Souls games by this point.
As you can see, Elden Ring is not a perfect game. It has plenty of flaws. But even with those flaws, I consider it the best FromSoftware game to date. It's an adventure. It's an experience. And I can't recommend it enough to anyone who already likes Souls games, but also those who'd like to give them a shot and see what they're all about.
This is the kind of game that makes you want to discuss it with other people. It's also the kind of game that, despite its considerable size, makes you want to start a second playthrough straight away. And we don't get a lot of games like that these days.