Elden Ring is still a masterpiece, even two years later

FromSoftware /

As we enter 2024 one can’t help but notice we still have not had an official announcement of the Shadow of the Erdtree release date, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t play Elden Ring. During my first playthrough, I experienced all the game had to offer and put nearly 100 hours into my character. While the game has had many updates, Elden Ring is still a masterpiece, even after nearly two years.

While this won’t be a review, more of a look back at my first playthrough, I will be offering some criticisms and things we can see in the new DLC.

The Good:

Elden Ring has one of the best level designs in gaming. FromSoft took the criticisms from Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III and ran with them. Dark Souls III has some of the best level design because every different area felt like a different game and the bosses all made sense for that area. This being said Elden Ring’s level design is top-notch. Every area feels like its own game and has different things to do. Keeping the charm of FromSoft games, the dark atmosphere is immediately thrown out when you enter Limegrave, and the bright and inviting area is met with the Tree Sentinal who teaches you early on that some enemies you can run right past.

This is kept up the entire game as the music for every area is unique; Caelid sounds like flies because it’s an area of rot and death; Stormveil Castle offers slow, methodic music as you approach the first Legacy Dungeon and the Lyndell Capital offers grand music to give you the sense of something great. All of this comes together in a symphony that gives the player complete control over how they approach the game.

The bosses are some of the best in the game and since I was doing a Dex/Bleed build, the majority of good weapons I got were later in the game. The majority of the game can be  played with the humble Uchigatana and mix in whatever ash of war you’d like, in particular I used bloody slash and double strike. I also used a small shield and became very good as parrying and eventually, used some Dragon incantations that really helped later in the game.

Elden Ring also did something that gave the player a sense of ease. They offered an easy mode. They gave players the ability to call in spirit ashes to help you fight in tough areas and the ability to upgrade them. The game also reward you  for exploration like in other Dark Souls games giving that sense of adventure.

The Bad:

It’s hard to say anything bad about the game because it’s a fantastic game. I will say, though, the dungeons felt incredibly dull and lacked imagination. The different dungeons felt all the same and had the same point to them and really the only reason I did them was because I got the upgrade material for the spirit ashes. The dungeon bosses in the early game were basically all the same giving a sense that they were added as padding to fill in a hole the developers saw as far as leveling.

Some of the elite enemies also felt the same such as the Night’s Calvary and some of the Giant Trolls as well as the Magma Worm you fought a few times as well. Defeating them also doesn’t really give you too many good upgrade materials besides the Magma Worm in Caelid with the Moonveil Blade and maybe a few others. This being said, does it make the game worse? No, it just doesn’t make it better.

Looking Ahead:

As Shadow of the Erdtree looms closer and closer, this begs the question of what we can expect to see. My hope is a new area that deviates from the normal blue print of the game: fight standard enemies, dungeon crawl, beat the boss, repeat.

In other games such as the Dark Souls III DLC, the game has offered great new weapons and new spells that are great in PVP and in PVE providing all play styles with an upgrade. I do expect a very high level needed for the new area as Elden Ring is notorious for being very difficult.

While we don’t have a firm date of when to expect the DLC, I do expect it to drop in the first quarter of 2024 and more than likely around March.

Stay tuned for more Elden Ring updates on Apptrigger.