Elden Ring

GWJ Conference Call 803

Elden Ring (PS5, PC), Horizon: Forbidden West (PS5), Lost Ark (PC), Total War: Warhammer III (PC), Slay The Spire (PC).

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Shawn Andrich steps in to wrangle up a crew this week to discuss Elden Ring as well as a few other games! He is joined by the mysterious and elusive Sean Sands, the passionate Soulsian Rich Lovejoy, and delightfully special guest David Heron from The Game Design Round Table podcast.

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Yes, more of Shawn and Sean, please!

00:01:46 Elden Ring
01:13:30 Lost Ark
01:19:15 Path of Exile
01:23:08 Horizon: Forbidden West
01:32:36 Ghost of Tsushima
01:34:42 Total War: Warhammer III
01:37:13 Slay The Spire

Great episode. Ghost of Tsushima is on hold for me at the moment. I adore the game. It’s as much a homage to samurai movies (I’m always on the look out for new ones) as anything else.

Elden Ring is giving me the same feelings the original Dark Souls did. Dark Souls 2 and 3 felt like elaborations of that first game and not as special, likely because they weren’t my first experience. Elden Ring is different enough and inscrutable enough that if feels like a first time experience with an endless unknown to be explored.

To start with the game was feeling remarkably unFromlike. Spacious and with nothing overly challenging* or blocking my way. When I encountered that first boss cutscene and heard about the environment beyond. It felt like that moment, while digging a hole for a plant or a post in the garden, when your easy progress through light soil is suddenly stopped by a solid and extensive root or rock. I had finally struck Dark Souls.

*Because I was riding away from anything that looked challenging not because I was laying waste to all comers.

I usually just engage with the show by listening, but I heard myself mentioned while driving a few minutes ago. I’m glad Certis was able to enjoy the story more in Ghosts of Tsushima. And it’s funny they mentioned it in the tail end of a show that may have changed my mind on whether Elden Ring is for me. I’m still going to wait until I get a PS5 at the earliest, but I might give From Software another try.

More accurate description for Lost Ark is that it's a MMO first and foremost. Another distinction is that it's a Korean MMO. Which means they're not so interested in the journey to the end game as they are about the end game itself. There's plenty of stuff to do along the way but a lot of the different systems aren't exposed fully until you reach the end game which has 3 different tiers of progression. It's all of that with the ARPG combat that we're used to seeing in PoE or Diablo as well as the world is delivered, beautifully with very unique design, in that format.

It really shouldn't be compared to PoE or Diablo.

Another great episode with the duelling Seans/Shawns not heard for many a moon. It's interesting how varied everyone's experience with Elden Ring is, which speaks volumes for its design. While I have barely scratched the surface with 8 hours of play, I do know that I have managed to explore a lot while not wading into too many battles with bosses. I'm only level 17 at the time of posting this comment , and do not feel confident or competent enough to take on a boss at the moment. Despite this I have managed to traverse a significant portion of the world and continue to, all the while marvelling at the scenery that From Software have created.

There was some discussion about the acquisition of a PS5 and Mr Sands declaring that he would not buy one until he could walk into a store to get one and not be at the mercy of some bizarre lottery system. I must confess that I can relate to that, which is why I pre-ordered one from my local GAME store 2 months prior to its release during the 1 hour window I was able to. This means that on launch day morning I picked it up without fuss or bother. I shall now flounce away with a smug expression on my face.