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neurodivergence can only take me so far

Kafka's metamorphosis but you wake up and you're Kinoko Nasu

This review contains spoilers

Rise unhindered, augur of darkness. Your life is one defined by many behind you, of furtive pygmies and bearers of wretched curses, where chosen undead and champions of ash spill blood and reap countless souls in the unbroken climb towards an insurmountable goal. The Age of Fire has burnt out, The Hunt has concluded, and atop the carnage of a million shambling corpses, you stand triumphant. However, time flows unceasingly, and with it, the memories of the past become one with the ether, and a valiant hero is called to usher in a new era. Hunters all, Kindred, Chosen, and Cursed, flow into a corporeal amalgam. Awaken, Tarnished. Raise your blade in the face of yet another unending struggle, and earn your place in the hollow halls of history. A tale told in cyclical fashion, the story repeats anew, Soulsborne by way of AI generation.
Elden Ring survives off of a concentrated slurry of highlights from From Software’s extended catalog, a regurgitation of recollections better left to the past. Mechanically, narratively, thematically, down to the aesthetics of the Lands Between, the world speaks in jumbled Dark Fantasy Mad Libs and “If [X] than [Y]” statements carefully pruned from its predecessors. Run through the gameplay loop with me: You, a Hollow – I mean, Tarnished, must fight against unbearable odds, earning Souls – er, Ruins, which you spend at a Bonfi– Lost Grace, while exploring desiccated castles, rotting villages, and vile swamps, all in the name of Ending the Age of Fire Becoming the Elden Lord and ringing in the Age of Darkness Stars.
It is impossible to put into words how much Elden Ring thrives off of being derivative, which… hurts, considering From Software's obvious skill at what they do. The formula of a Souls game has been perfected to science here, but in the process of refining it over a decade, the eponymous soul of the series has faded. What remains, a slideshow of “best of” snapshots, seeks to embolden dedicated fans of the Souls series into believing this is the definitive experience, a shambling husk wearing the skin of innovation.
None of this is to say that the game doesn’t have its moments, but the issue lies in repetition. Elden Ring is a vast void, a massive blank canvas splattered with algorithmic strokes, “content-aware fill” as a design principle. Case in point, the Tree Sentinel exists as the first truly foreboding enemy you encounter, an indestructible knight that aims to smash and skewer Tarnished too brave to give up and too stupid to run. However, the memories associated with that first conflict muddle when he returns… But There’s Two Of Him. Or even further on, where a third match-up happens, with the key difference being “do bigger numbers”. Let's not get into the many times Godrick is thrown at the player as a threat, over and over and over again.
For something derived from Dark Souls, it's painful to see how soulless this successor feels. Mechanically, systematically, it’s fine, but there’s no real passion or love found beneath the surface. Writing too deeply about it almost feels wasteful: It’s Dark Souls Again. If you want Dark Souls, here it is, almost entirely unaltered. If you don’t, this is still Dark Souls, you’ll get nothing new out of it. The Age of Stars extends its icy reach to the cosmos, and all I can do is recollect on nostalgia's frozen embrace.

perhaps if i had found this game sooner, i would have been able to part with my own leigh a little faster

Does for Twin Peaks fans what Jaws did for sharks

Gamers hate these games for being "unrealistic" because they've never actually spoken to women.

Thomas Pynchon for people who listen to JPEGMAFIA

A best-faith-effort fantasy tennis tutorial for masochistic dickheads.

This review was written before the game released

If you like Epic Movie, Scary Movie or Channel Awesome movies, this game is for you

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