Monthly Archives: March 2022

Thoughts: Elden Ring


I am the worst person to write a review of Elden Ring. My objections to From Software’s Dark Souls series have been pretty well-documented over the years, along with my visceral negative reactions whenever I see design elements from Dark Souls turn up in other games. Asking me for my opinion about a game that is just Dark Souls again, but this time also open world, seems like it’s going to a forgone conclusion — especially because I’m starting to get increasingly irritated by open world games too.

But that means I am also the best person to write a review of Elden Ring. I do not have the massive rose-tinted glasses for Dark Souls and From Software that the entire rest of the gaming world does. I am not so invested in my cred as a Hardcore Gamer that I regard smashing my face against the same boss for four hours as a rational and sane thing to be doing with my time. I have had zero exposure to the pre-release hype. And the reviews from the mainstream gaming media made my eyeballs roll so hard they practically did a complete 360 degree rotation in their sockets.  10/10! Game of the year! One of the finest games ever made! A predictably vomitous stream of superlatives that I almost felt compelled to prove wrong, hence my breaking the From Software moratorium I’ve had in place ever since Dark Souls 2 and picking up Elden Ring on release.

Only to find myself thinking, after a few hours of play: shit. They might actually be right.

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Thoughts: Lost Ark


If you asked somebody to look at five minutes of Lost Ark footage and then pigeonhole it into a genre, the one they’d probably pick is the ARPG. This would be an entirely reasonable choice, as Lost Ark certainly heavily resembles an ARPG, with a fixed isometric camera and punchy hotkeyed combat abilities that tear apart vast swarms of dozens of monsters all in one go. I don’t think it’s the correct one, though, since the core loop of kill monsters -> get loot -> kill bigger monsters that underpins the entire ARPG genre just isn’t here.

If you asked somebody to look at five hours of Lost Ark footage and then pigeonhole it into genre, the one they’d probably pick the MMORPG. This, again, would be an entirely reasonable choice. Once you’re out of the tutorial zone, no matter where you go in Lost Ark, you’ll be constantly surrounded by other players. A lot of them will be bots. Even more of them will be morons. But there’s very little overlap between you and them; pretty much the entire game can be played solo if you want, with interactions with other players mostly being entirely optional. And the group content that Lost Ark does have hasn’t exactly impressed me. No, I don’t think Lost Ark is a particularly good MMORPG either.

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