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Everything We Know About Elden Ring

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: From Software
Release:

Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Ohhhhh, Elden Ring! For years, we’ve wondered when this dark fantasy collaboration between From Software and G.R.R. Martin would be coming. We have a release date and a ton of information regarding this open-world take on the From Software action-RPG formula. Elden Ring takes aspects of the Souls franchise, Bloodborne, and even Sekiro and rolls them into one epic amalgamation. Got questions? We’ve got answers. Let’s break down everything we know about Elden Ring.

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Who Is Making It?

From Software has essentially redefined itself over the last decade as the one to beat in the action-RPG genre. From a game destined for failure internally, Demon’s Souls, to come out of the gates blazing as a game that played by its own rules and challenged players to explore, discover, and struggle during a time when heavy-handed tutorialization was becoming the norm. From Software is helming this project, with some of the story, lore, and world-building coming from a collaboration with A Song of Ice and Fire’s G.R.R. Martin.

Who Am I Playing?

You play as a Tarnished, attempting to restore the shattered titular Elden Ring. Like many of the Souls games, you create your own character here to use from scratch. You can play as a brutal melee bonecrusher, an adept magic-user powered by weaponized wizardry, an archer, or any combination of multiple fantasy archetypes. As always, you won’t be ruled by your starting kit, and can take your character in any direction you wish over the course of the game.

How Does The Open World Work?

There are six critical “Legacy Dungeons” featured in Elden Ring that feature huge bosses, fog gates, and tons of secrets to discover in a typical looping From Software dungeon design. These areas are NOT present in the open world and are isolated, gated-off instances that preserve the nature of a curated dungeon experience. However, outside in the larger open world, you can ride your spirit steed at lightning speed all over the place, teleport to obtained checkpoints at will, and roam around to find all kinds of secrets, mini-dungeons, and even field bosses. While these experiences are isolated from each other, you’ll take all the special items and abilities discovered in the open-world into those legacy dungeons to give you a fighting chance against the challenging bosses and twisting levels that are found within.

What Tools Do I Have To Fight?

Like most other games in the From Software suite, you can “level up” at checkpoints using obtained currency, which will make battles much easier. Of course, finding new weapons, spells, and abilities is also critical to success. Co-op play is available, and you can have up to two other allies helping with a boss or an area. Stealthy play can be extremely helpful. With a chapter out of Sekiro, grass, and other areas to hide in and move around giant dangers. Or perhaps you wish to sneak up and pick off large packs of enemies one at a time, making a lethal scenario far more manageable. Elden Ring also introduces the concept of non-player-character summons on demand, which let you collect and upgrade various spirits that can be unleashed to offer serious support, from a gaggle of goblins that tank or attack and more importantly, distract and take the attention from a boss monster or many enemy targets that would be overwhelming to take by yourself. While there’s no doubt that Elden Ring is likely to be challenging, there are many tools and strategies to explore that give you the edge.

Okay, this just sounds like Dark Souls 4? Is this really just Dark Souls 4?

No way. While the core is absolutely based in From’s master of ARPGs and contains many of the same framework elements like checkpoints, fog gates, big boss battles, and levels full of secrets (that no doubt have elevators that you can jump off of in motion to find hidden areas), the open world and everything about it add serious and significant gameplay alterations. Map fragments let you unlock the mysteries of the overworld, you can blast around the world with unbridled speed and verticality thanks to the spirit steed, and explore areas and encounters that are absolutely massive in scale and scope to anything that’s in existing From games. More importantly, because of the open-world aspect, you can truly build your own path through the game. While everyone is going to head though the legacy dungeons, how you traverse the open world, what you find, when you find it, and how you use them offers some incredible new choice aspects to the formula, far more than the minor branching paths that players are familiar with from Souls. That said, if you like the Souls games, you’re probably going to be right at home immediately.

When is the game coming out?

Elden Ring is scheduled to release on January 21, 2022 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Dive deeper into various Elden Ring aspects right here:

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We’re Overdue For A Great Masters Of The Universe Game

The 1980s were rife with crazy cartoon properties that were all about big battles, crazy genre settings, and over-the-top characters. Those properties often arose from the need to sell related toys, but the power fantasies they engendered also happen to be excellent fodder for video games. While I could point to any number of fallow cartoons as fertile ground for revival, none is as ready for the big time as Masters of the Universe.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe debuted as an animated series in 1983, delighting kids like myself who were excited by the myriad characters, colors, vehicles, and playsets that continually flowed out from Mattel. To this day, few children’s playsets match the style and excitement of the Castle Grayskull set, with its trapdoor, opening “jawbridge,” and other tricks. Without fail, afternoons brought the opportunity to see the castle brought to life in the cartoon, with He-Man, Skeletor, and the rest of the heroes and villains duking it out, often against the backdrop of that familiar structure.

Our kid selves recognized by instinct what our adult selves can now examine and acknowledge; Masters of the Universe is unabashed fun, tying together science-fiction and fantasy tropes in a glorious mix of lasers, swords, spells, tanks, and more. The characters, no doubt fueled by Mattel’s need to discover ever-more cockamamie things to capture childhood attention, were a delight. Ram Man was a literal battering ram, springing across the floor to smash into targets. Two-Bad had – you guessed it – two heads. Moss Man was covered in green fur. Stinkor was a skunk – and the toy actually smelled bad! No idea was too out there.

But for all its silly fun, Masters of the Universe was also potent moralistic mythology, filled with impossibly heroic good guys and laughably maniacal bad guys. Like many of the best comic book characters, it featured a main character with a secret identity, whose heroism was often unheralded by those who knew him best. And no matter how bonkers the character concepts got, there was no denying the way those gimmicks kept things fresh, letting both the cartoon and the toy play sessions it encouraged take off in all kinds of directions.

The first episodes of the new animated series have released on Netflix

Following anticipation from fans, today brought the first episodes of Kevin Smith’s (Clerks, Chasing Amyrevival of Masters of the Universe. Rather than rebooting and starting fresh, the new Revelation animated series picks up where the 80s cartoon left off, telling a more adult story and simultaneously celebrating, poking fun at, and critiquing what came before. Revelation is an effort targeted at adult fans who grew up with these characters but are now eager to see it refreshed.

That same philosophy should guide the possibility of a new video game set within the Masters of the Universe setting. Over the years, several attempts have been made to bring the franchise to life, including everything from a 1987 arcade game to a 2012 mobile release. But the franchise deserves more. Imagine an open world of Eternia, filled with magic and technology to discover and equip. Optional playable characters or allies could expand the potential to reach new locations and sites, from confronting Mer-Man in the oceans to flying with Stratos to visit with the bird people. Melee combat sequences can be rich with potential and with no shortage of colorful and weird enemies against which to fight.

Existing licensed game properties have proven that a consummate love of a franchise, married to technical and design know-how, can lead to awesome video games. The Batman Arkham games leveraged an evocative setting and an impressive rogue’s gallery to modernize and embody the Dark Knight in a new way. The makers of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic recognized the stark moralistic tilt of the Star Wars universe and transformed it into one of video gaming’s most recognized morality systems. The developers behind the South Park games were unafraid to play with humor, brightness, and parody to reinvent what players might expect to find in an RPG. High Moon’s Transformers games reinvented an older 1980s cartoon series as a grittier story of war and loss, but without losing touch with characters and story.

While there are plenty of examples of licensed video games missing the mark, Masters of the Universe is uniquely situated to be a success story. Not only are its larger-than-life characters and setting a perfect fit for big video game action, but other mediums are actively bringing the old series back to public consciousness. Revelation is just the first of two announced Netflix animated series. New toys are back in stores. A tabletop role-playing game is in the works. And long-quiescent fan communities have remained quietly active for decades, ready to see these stories brought back to life.

Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation proves that you don’t need to abandon the fun and vibrancy of an old franchise to bring it new opportunities and help it step into the modern age. Like that new animated release, a high-end video game adaptation can find success if it updates the themes and characters without abandoning what makes them memorable. More than most of those old 80s cartoons, Masters of the Universe comes ready-made for the type of action and intensity that a big new video game needs. I’m crossing my fingers that some of the other attempts to revitalize the Masters of the Universe find success; perhaps, when they do, the right game maker can come along and bring He-Man, Skeletor, and all the rest to life on the thumbsticks of my controller.

The Simple Comforts Of Resident Evil 4

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