There have already been so many long-form essays written, so many two-hour YouTube critiques produced about Elden Ring that the passage below is unlikely to contain a single original take on the FromSoftware title. Occupying the same sort of space as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's considered a once-in-a-generation type of game; amazing combat, unmatched open world exploration, and outstanding visual design make it so.
While Elden Ring isn't our Game of the Year for 2022, it will almost certainly go down as the most influential experience in the years to come. Developers will be looking to FromSoftware for inspiration for the entire PS5 generation, finding a way to make their map just as big on the y-axis as it is on the x-axis, or improving their boss designs with some flair. An incredible game in its own right, Elden Ring could be studied as a way to enhance the experiences of the future.
It's that sense of freedom that really encapsulates what's so very special about the title. The moment you push open the double doors into Limgrave, the world's your oyster with regions to explore to the north, south, and east. The main story would suggest you head to Stormveil Castle, but riding Torrent, you're the judge of your destiny in The Lands Between.
Just like previous Dark Souls games and the more recent Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, combat is where experimentation is encouraged, with so many different builds to consider and means of dealing damage. Specific enemies may demand different approaches, or render specific archetypes useless through immunities. It's all about giving you virtually every tool in the playbook — and then some — and letting you dictate what works and what doesn't. Another example of how open and freeing Elden Ring truly is.
Like we said at the top of this article, you probably knew all of this anyway: the game has sold millions upon millions of copies, to the point where it's one of the best-selling titles of the year. That's a staggering achievement for a FromSoftware game, even taking its increasing popularity over the past 10 or so years into account. Sales don't always equal quality, but in the case of Elden Ring, it's far and way FromSoftware's best-ever title. A masterful accomplishment that will be remembered for a very, very long time.