36 Reviews liked by GentleIce

Played it for like half an hour and didn't liked it, but a bunch of terminally online nerds in a group i'm in say it's great so here you go, 5 stars
now go outside and make a bitche's soul to fall in love with you eyooo gottem

This review contains spoilers

From Software goes full sicko mode! For the most part, that's a good thing. The developer leverages their sharply honed prankster skills and penchant for remixing ideas from their extensive back catalog to great effect to deliver an open world that is above all else surprising. Any proverbial stone unturned has substantial odds of leading to significant and finely crafted results that every new observation made either on the skyline or the map readily brings anticipation as to what one might find. It truly feels as though From Soft decided that no idea was too weird or obtuse to implement, and the knowledge that the game was simply okay with me missing stuff contributed to some of the greatest awe I've ever experienced in a video game.
However, it is worth asking; is that awe in service anything besides the pleasure of experiencing in the moment? Well, it takes a bit of digging but it turns out that is. Elden Ring encourages the player to make decisions about how their character fights and presents themselves as they progress and make discoveries. These choices are reflected directly through the mimic boss and spirit summon, as well as the lore-friendly respeccing system, but their primary purpose is thematic scaffolding for the question of how you choose your allegiances. The setting of the game is a place where the question of who wields power and how (ie politics) is explicitly codified through magic, and that leads to questions of both how to interept the current order, and what type of magic should define the next one. It's relevant to our times and also a fitting thematic evolution of both From Soft and George RR Martin's most popular works, and the freedom presented in the open world is a potent way of expressing the political and historical dynamism provided by the Shattering and this particular moment in the world's history.
Not every aspect of the game shines as brightly though. The open-world becomes significantly more constricted and sparse in its final levels, and an over-reliance on spectacle in the main bosses leads to fatigue and a worry about future entries will further strain themselves to top this one. From Soft's mid-boss cutscenes are always a treat, but too many treats too quickly can be a tad sickening. That is to say, I wish the late game was as good as emotionally communicating the themes as the early and mid-game was, because that portion of the experience was such a wondrously magical adventure with scant comparison in the medium.

Damn, that sucked. Thank god there aren't 9 more endings and a true final boss.

This was the first video game I ever played.

the best game i've ever played. horror at its absolute peak

starts off very strong, but tapers off in quality in the second half. you can tell development was rushed. overall enjoyable game, but could've been so much more

NOTE: i am currently giving this game another shot and will update the review accordingly when i'm done. ignore the below.
possibly one of my most controversial gaming opinions but i just did not care for this game. couldn't get into it. world felt empty and the gameplay loop was boring. my tiny rodent brain couldn't figure out all the wacky fun physics stuff people seem to get the most enjoyment out of this game with

Elden Ring was my second soulslike (kinda) and is responsible for my unquenchable soulslike thirst. This game introduces a mind-boggling amount of QoL changes, like the Stakes of Marika, Ashes of War, Spirit Ashes, bell bearings, a map, and many other things. All of these things combined makes for the most accessible soulslike to date and is a huge reason why so many people are playing these games now, including me. However, the open world format is controversial. For me, I really enjoyed it at first, but it makes starting a new game daunting. I have so many build ideas that I simply don't do because of how open ended this game is and how discouraging it sounds to have to do it all over again. Personally, I prefer the more railroady structure of the previous games. Also, some of the bosses in the game are needlessly punishing and make experimenting with builds not as appealing. These are minor complaints though, I had a blast with this game overall and think it's a huge step in the right direction.

This was my first soulslike back in 2017. I played it once, hated it, and didn't open it again until 2022. But that time something clicked, and I haven't been the same person ever since (send help). I'm likely biased because it was my first, but I love this game. It has a good pacing to the combat (not crawling like DS1, but not formula one like Bloodborne/ER), the maps are memorable, the characters are fun, the weapons are a blast, and it finally ditched the silly attunement system of the earlier games in favor of the much superior mana estus. It also has some of my favorite bosses of the series, including my all-time favorite, Nameless King. Great game all around, no complaints.

Everyone told me this entry was dogshit and I shouldn't bother. But my hunger for soulslikes is insatiable, so here I am playing it - and I'm glad I did, because it's a good game. I hated it at first and was nearly victim to the "pleb filter" numerous times, but I've persevered. Once I got my build of choice rolling (STR/FTH Greatsword + Healing/Lightning Spells) I started having fun. The level design is weird (and unfair at times), the max-HP degradation upon death is stupid, and a lot of the difficulty of the game comes from it just throwing hordes of mobs at you, but it has a lot of cool ideas present that I wish were in other games. Some people hate how slow the flask is and the very existence of lifegems, but I've come to believe it's the best implementation of healing in the series. It doesn't take the option of healing away from you mid-fight, but doesn't let you heal in the enemy's face without consequences. The ability to completely clear an area of enemies after killing them enough times is cool too. I also like the lack of Heavy/Sharp infusions, it encourages the use of elemental effects you wouldn't otherwise use. Overall, good game with some frustrating elements but really cool ideas that compensate for it.

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