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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Elden Ring’s open world provides hours of fun — and frustration

Elden Ring is finally here, and it’s sure to satisfy FromSoftware fans who have been craving a new challenge. I’ve been playing Elden Ring for about a week-and-a-half, and in that time, I’ve traversed open plains, mounted a horse to chase down dragons, bested mad sorcerers, and built up my character from a naked nobody into a powerful warrior. I’ve also died again, and again, and again to everything from many-armed demigods, to well-hidden traps, to simply falling from high ledges. And, for the most part, I’ve loved the whole experience.

I say “for the most part,” because while I explored the Lands Between, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was spending a lot of time chasing dead ends. Elden Ring offers players a huge world with plenty of hidden secrets to find, and it doesn’t offer you much guidance for finding them. This makes the game feel much more adventurous and rewarding than the average open-world title. But it also means that you’ll spend a lot of time riding around, not finding a whole lot, and wondering whether you’re still going in the right direction.

Secrets of Limgrave

(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

The game’s first major area, Limgrave, is perhaps its most directed. After you stumble out of the tutorial dungeon, the whole world opens up, and you can go pretty much anywhere you want. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds, though, because a few helpful non-player characters hint that you should make your way to Stormveil Castle. There, you encounter an unavoidable boss called Margit the Fell Omen.

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