I’m about to embark upon my journey into Elden Ring, and honestly, I’m pretty excited. The problem I have with it though is the expectation after all the furore around its release.
Scores of 10/10 (scores are stupid by the way) are all over the place. That’s something that should be massively exciting, right? Getting to start a game like Elden Ring, critically acclaimed almost everywhere.
Well……..I’m not too worried that I’ll over-hype myself o this one. I’m worried that critical reception has been too biased and forgiving to a game studio that seems to get a lot of leeway where others wouldn’t.
This isn’t a “bashing” of From Software. This is a “is it actually good or do people just want it to be good so badly, that they let their bias interfere?”.
Truthfully, I hope it’s every bit the experience people say it is, but look at the review cycle.
Elden Ring: Super-fan reviewers
It’s no secret the Elden Ring creator From Software has a pretty special following at this stage. With their wildly successful Dark Souls series, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
I’ve tried all of these, and only really enjoyed Sekiro. I didn’t “get” Dark Souls, years ago, so I just didn’t engage very well with it. I think I get it now, so Elden Ring should be a different experience.
The problem is fans of From Software games aren’t just regular fans. Everyone seems to be a die-hard. With the bragging rights of finishing all their games, regardless of difficulty. Like it’s a badge of honour, and honestly, a well-deserved one.
I just think that the affinity towards From Software, the pride associated with the games and getting through them and the hardcore fan base, mean that perception might be a bit skewed.
Not once have I seen a review of someone that didn’t click with the other games. Everyone seems to have stuck it out and earned their stripes. Well, I just can’t help but feel that it leads to blindly following the next release.
Is Elden Ring being objectively reviewed? I can’t help but feel that despite assurances, it probably isn’t. It feels like they’re being asked if they like their kid after working so hard to raise it and struggle through the pains of it.
All this is to say: If Elden Ring wasn’t actually good, would anyone admit it?
Going in without a perspective
I really want Elden Ring to be as good as people say. Truly. Because who doesn’t want a genre-defying, once in a lifetime kind of game? Damn, I’m primed to soak it up and fall for it.
However, I’ll be critical, too. Like, nobody can honestly say that the Dark Souls games actually look good, right?
I can’t claim to be familiar with the music and I haven’t played enough of the other series to talk about mechanics and movement (although I had a good chunk of time in Sekiro, I don’t think that will help me here…)
There’s no issue hitting a wall and trying over and over. I’m used to that. Either by not being good at games (likely!) or because I always push myself to play on at least hard on other games. I realise saying this is inviting trouble, but what can I say?!
I feel like I’m ready for a game like Elden Ring. I don’t know that I’ll finish it, I won’t pretend I’m going into 100% it in any way. I want the freedom to explore, learn and improve.
Recently reviewing Horizon Forbidden West has seen me tire of massive maps and a million markers. Billions of on-screen collectables and a never-ending stream of “go do this” or “head here now!”. Elden Ring, if anything else feels like the antithesis of that, and I’m ready to play a game with a blank slate that doesn’t baby me.
Anticipation aside, I’m not a major fan, I have no pride to hold back my thoughts, and I’ll do my best to be candid. Hopefully, Elden Ring is all that they say. But when “they” are a group of people that have perhaps been wearing those rose-tinted glasses whilst playing, I can’t trust anyone but myself to be objective.