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GAME: Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Game Review




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MarthKoopa



Joined: 08 Apr 2012
Posts: 280
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2024 11:39 am Reply with quote
I just want to say that "Play Smart" IS A PART OF "Get Good". Using effective tools and strategies is all a part of getting better at games like this. If you beat a boss in two tries because you used things that were very effective against it, including summons, you are better at the game than someone wearing weak armour, soreseals, scorpion talismans, dual katanas with no shield, and no summons, yet died 30+ times to it before they eventually beat it.
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Rogueywon



Joined: 01 May 2011
Posts: 261
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2024 3:13 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed Erdtree. It has some of the best environment and dungeon design From have ever done. But...

It feels like the final evolutionary step for the gameplay that From have been building up since Demon's Souls and like they've hit a dead end now. The difficulty is immense in places, especially on that last boss, but very few of the bosses offer anything interesting or novel. They're mostly just relentless attackers who make players perfect their defensive-game. There was nothing that made me think "whoa, that was unexpected" in the same way that older From releases have.

If anything, I think the last boss probably went beyond the level of difficulty I'm comfortable with (and I've beaten all of From's earlier games in the genre, most of them multiple times). It starts to tip towards those reactions-tests from Sekiro, that need insane reactions and timing, which is never something the Souls games really demanded when they were at their best.

It's also clear that their tech is now struggling to keep up with their ambition. Their combat system and, I suspect, significant chunks of their engine haven't changed since Demon's Souls on the PS3. There are still problems with input response and sequencing that have been present since 2009. Some fights against larger and fast moving enemies turn into battles with the camera. Some of the big outdoor battles with lots of enemies (in particular, one fight involving a dragon and a squad of knights) turn into a struggle with the targeting system.

I loved Elden Ring and liked Erdtree, but I hope that From now use some of their huge pile of money to take some time out to redevelop their technology platform from scratch so they have something that can keep up with their ambitions for future titles.
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onpufan



Joined: 22 Dec 2022
Posts: 139
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2024 3:24 pm Reply with quote
MarthKoopa wrote:
I just want to say that "Play Smart" IS A PART OF "Get Good". Using effective tools and strategies is all a part of getting better at games like this. If you beat a boss in two tries because you used things that were very effective against it, including summons, you are better at the game than someone wearing weak armour, soreseals, scorpion talismans, dual katanas with no shield, and no summons, yet died 30+ times to it before they eventually beat it.


Short of abusing glitches and exploits or turning down a difficulty slider I would concur that knowing how to use the things the game gives you is a display of skill. But I also understand why self-imposed challenge runs are a thing because at that point people like to challenge themselves. Some games are genuinely too easy once you know how everything works or where everything is like knowing which moves or items are completely overpowered. A no-hit run, no-armor run, or only using 1 specific weapon that may be low-tier is a way for veteran players to add some challenge and new ways to play.
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Mikan-box Glasses-kun



Joined: 21 Apr 2023
Posts: 72
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2024 9:27 pm Reply with quote
Good review! I really, really enjoyed my time with the DLC, just have a couple of last things to do. I actually did kinda like the idea of the Scadutree system, since it's a great way to have progression for a basically maxed out character build, but they definitely needed to work out more consistent/sane places to put them. Like, I don't mind bosses dropping them, but random enemies holding shiny pots? Really?

But yeah, I really hope they branch out a bit more from Souls-like gameplay after this. Like, I feel like they could make a really killer new survival horror game with the enemy design talent and experience they have now. Or maybe something completely out of left-field, who knows!

Rogueywon wrote:
It's also clear that their tech is now struggling to keep up with their ambition. Their combat system and, I suspect, significant chunks of their engine haven't changed since Demon's Souls on the PS3. There are still problems with input response and sequencing that have been present since 2009. Some fights against larger and fast moving enemies turn into battles with the camera. Some of the big outdoor battles with lots of enemies (in particular, one fight involving a dragon and a squad of knights) turn into a struggle with the targeting system.

I loved Elden Ring and liked Erdtree, but I hope that From now use some of their huge pile of money to take some time out to redevelop their technology platform from scratch so they have something that can keep up with their ambitions for future titles.

I honestly don't really think they need to throw out their engine, because besides all the major headaches and potential new problems that would cause... Armored Core VI actually was really good. Well, on PC at least. It ran excellently and had none of the stuttering issues that Elden Ring had, even in the larger levels and big set pieces (except the STRIDER explosion, that can still cause big frame rate dips). That probably means that whatever issues Elden Ring have aren't really baked in, they're just the product of a combination of design choices (like bosses that are huge and move around constantly, input buffers that can screw you over if you don't account for them and overcommit) and not enough time for optimization and polish. I was honestly hoping for some of that technical magic from AC6 to work its way into Shadow of the Erdtree, but unfortunately it did not.
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Greed1914



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 4501
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2024 2:15 pm Reply with quote
The different leveling system makes sense in the context of having to otherwise try to balance for all the different permutations of what a player might bring to it.

I can respect imposing additional challenges that some players do, but I also respect using the systems in place in a game. FromSoft could have imposed some sort of level cap system to make it so you couldn't overpower a boss for example. I see that as rewarding the accumulation of what you get for exploring instead of just sticking to the main path. I've run across optional bosses that didn't seem to allow summoning, but then the main bosses had the option to summon on top of what I had with me. There is plenty of opinion on the "right" way to play it, yet it seems like the devs handed a lot of leeway to players.
Personally, I am on my first playthrough of the game, and as much as I'm enjoying it, I also know that I probably will only have time to play the game once, so I don't mind that I'm taking down bosses in one to three tries.
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