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Julius

Elden Ring (25th February 2022)

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PlayStation, so add me - WangJiLin is the tag. 

The online element is huge for me. It's not like I'm any good at the PVP, quite the opposite, but the emergent gameplay, the tension, the culture. Love it. And now with the open world? Ooh I can't wait.

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3 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

PlayStation, so add me - WangJiLin is the tag. 

checks the trophies on the first search result and sees Sekiro and Dark Souls III 

Yep, got to be the right one! Sent :peace:

3 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

The online element is huge for me. It's not like I'm any good at the PVP, quite the opposite, but the emergent gameplay, the tension, the culture. Love it. And now with the open world? Ooh I can't wait.

Yeah, it's not really something I've touched with the From games I've played so far, but something about those experiences felt so isolated anyways, maybe that's why. Elden Ring is definitely one I'll be looking to jump into the online stuff for though once I've beat it, I mean jolly open world co-op? Heck yeah, sign me up! :D

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Can't remember the last time I was this excited for a game. In fact the best comparison may be the Infinity War/Endgame releases for a similar level of excitedness. I've got 3 days blocked out, and I intend to absorb all of it.

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Overview trailer is up, and it's beefy, and apparently shows a lot, so beware if you're avoiding stuff, as I imagine the launch trailer that will drop in the next week will be showing a lot too, and not to mention reviews (which I think are dropping on Wednesday?). 

 

2 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

Can't remember the last time I was this excited for a game. In fact the best comparison may be the Infinity War/Endgame releases for a similar level of excitedness. I've got 3 days blocked out, and I intend to absorb all of it.

I'm right there with you, I've rewatched a few of the trailers we've had for a while a lot over the last few days, and trying to pin it down to a game I can't quite remember one was the last which had me quite as excited. The PS5 launch was pretty hype-inducing, though I think that had a lot to do with the myriad of lockdowns just making it so much easier to pool all of my hype into one spot. 

I'm just going to be careful when I do get my hands on the game, as with Dark Souls the timing of me burning out on it (I think in part due to talking too much about it) lined up with Ornstein and Smough, and I don't want a repeat with Elden Ring. Also need to be careful I don't go too far the other way and actually get some sunlight :p well, heavily filtered sunlight, thanks English weather! 

What's everyone playing/doing to pass the time up until release?

I think I'll try to finish off Ocarina of Time and maybe sneak in another shorter game, depending on when I do manage to finish OoT. Originally I was planning to go back to complete the Artorias of the Abyss DLC in Dark Souls, but trying to do whatever I can to avoid potential Souls burnout with Elden Ring less than a week away (!) I'll probably have to come back to it after. 

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I've yet to play a SoulsBorne game at launch and I don't think that will change with this. I love the games to bits but it appears this comes with a special edition/launch edition box and not a regular one. No thank you. :D 

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11 minutes ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I've yet to play a SoulsBorne game at launch and I don't think that will change with this. I love the games to bits but it appears this comes with a special edition/launch edition box and not a regular one. No thank you. :D 

It's been so weird seeing how the launch edition has changed since the game resurfacing last summer at SGF. Regular boxes > what is now the launch edition + regular box > the current launch edition, which seemingly has no regular box but still shows the same slipcase. Super bizarre! 

What makes it even more confusing is this from the official Bandai Namco store, which still shows the current launch edition slipcase and steelbook + regular box? 

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And in the description it's described as coming with an alternative steelbook. So goodness knows what actually is the case at this point, guess we'll see on Friday ::shrug:

I do get it, though. Still irks me that Like a Dragon never got a standard PS4 box, and so I just picked up the steelbook in the end (I know PS5 had one, but meh, gets into a whole other weird thing I've got going on with some of my game collection). If this ever gets a standard release with a regular box I'll probably just pick it up on sale at some point anyways :laughing:

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It's been so weird seeing how the launch edition has changed since the game resurfacing last summer at SGF. Regular boxes > what is now the launch edition + regular box > the current launch edition, which seemingly has no regular box but still shows the same slipcase. Super bizarre! 
What makes it even more confusing is this from the official Bandai Namco store, which still shows the current launch edition slipcase and steelbook + regular box? 
0cfc79f99d3dff2050c1c4da4ff23376_446_KR.jpg
er-launch-edition-192_1080-en-1635859850-48c5.jpg
And in the description it's described as coming with an alternative steelbook. So goodness knows what actually is the case at this point, guess we'll see on Friday ::shrug:
I do get it, though. Still irks me that Like a Dragon never got a standard PS4 box, and so I just picked up the steelbook in the end (I know PS5 had one, but meh, gets into a whole other weird thing I've got going on with some of my game collection). If this ever gets a standard release with a regular box I'll probably just pick it up on sale at some point anyways :laughing:
You get the steel book only from ordering direct from Namco Bandai is my understanding.

Not that I'm bothered mind - I've gotten into a habit of selling games afterwards now. So much money to be reclaimed!

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14 hours ago, Hero-of-Time said:

I've yet to play a SoulsBorne game at launch and I don't think that will change with this. I love the games to bits but it appears this comes with a special edition/launch edition box and not a regular one. No thank you. :D 

First time at launch for me, but with massive FOMO from the previous entries. There's so much to discover in these games and I really want to be part of it this time round. Will be making notes as I play.

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Have the digital edition pre-ordered.  I was going to hold off as GT7 is out the following week and I have that pre-ordered already.  It looks fabulous though and comes out on my birthday so fuck it, I'm getting it!

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Launch trailer (which is immediately going in a spoiler tag to save anyone accidentally opening it up, I'm not watching it either as launch trailers tend to show far too much):

Spoiler

 

Reviews are dropping tomorrow. I think I'll probably only check out one or two from outlets I trust to not show too much, see the hype-inducing scores, and then I'll be going dark on it before the conversation of difficulty rears its ugly head. 

Less than three days to go! I'm not going to make the mistake I did with Dark Souls last year, I'm going in and will probably be relatively quiet until it's done. 

But I'm very excited :bouncy:

Edited by Julius

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Reviews are dropping and so far they're a doozy to look at.

We'll see where it lands over the next few days, I'd expect it to drop a few points, but it's looking like it's going to be From Software's best reviewing game based on the early aggregate scores (for reference, Bloodborne currently sits at the top of their pile with 92 on Metacritic), and potentially one of the highest reviewing of the generation. 

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RISE...YE TARNISHED! 

Edited by Julius
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I really want to get this, but at the same time... I don't want to get this. :heh:

Although I (somehow) managed to make it through Dark Souls II and Bloodborne, they were both pretty stressful experiences for me. :hehe: Nioh is definitely still my favourite when it comes to this type of game. Not that it wasn't also stressful, it most certainly was, :laughing: but I think perhaps the setting was just more my cup of tea.

Shall be keeping an eye on Elden Ring though, I'm especially interested in how it compares to the games I mentioned above in terms of difficulty.

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It sounds like it follows on from RDR2 and BOTW, and pushes the openworld genre forward, which is great news as someone who's just played Tsushima and is currently playing Horizon Forbidden West.

Not my kind of game, but the world sounds great. Incredibly bold of them not to give any map markers or a quest log.

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I mean, it's literally the most reviewer friendly game you could possibly make.  It was always destined to review incredibly well.

Souls + From Software + Open World + Game of Thrones + Early-Generation "Next Gen Experience".  It literally can't fail.

Will be an absolutely rip-roaring sales success for sure.

Edited by Dcubed

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I knew it was going to review well, but some are putting this in instant masterpiece territory, which really does get my bits tingling. 

Blackout now for me until tomorrow night. Can't wait.

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Quiet, you detractors, lest you be tarnished.

On Friday there will be a reckoning. The prophecy has said so.

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Wow, I thought it was going to be good but this is incredible.  Roll on Friday.

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Well, I like what I'm hearing about the difficulty level in this review: :hehe: 

But the current performance issues on PC mean that I'll probably still wait a while before picking it up. :hmm:

I guess Digital Foundry will chime in soon, be interesting to see what they make of it.

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1 hour ago, Cookyman said:

Wow, I thought it was going to be good but this is incredible.  Roll on Friday.

Midnight Thursday for us truly obsessed.

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6 hours ago, RedShell said:

Although I (somehow) managed to make it through Dark Souls II and Bloodborne, they were both pretty stressful experiences for me. :hehe: Nioh is definitely still my favourite when it comes to this type of game. Not that it wasn't also stressful, it most certainly was, :laughing: but I think perhaps the setting was just more my cup of tea.

Yeah, totally get that, I think I'm one of those in the middle with you where I enjoy the games (I've played Demon's Souls and Dark Souls so far), but they do still stress me out a bit. I think it's just kind of part of the package with this game. They're incredibly intense at times, but that's matched by how rewarding I find them, which is compounded by the fact that I love the challenge of their boss fights, great level design, and S-tier soundtracks. 

Thankfully, I'm in the mood for another From Software game right about now. So I can't wait to dig in, just need to remember to get up and stretch my legs a bit :D

6 hours ago, Ronnie said:

It sounds like it follows on from RDR2 and BOTW, and pushes the openworld genre forward, which is great news as someone who's just played Tsushima and is currently playing Horizon Forbidden West.

Not my kind of game, but the world sounds great. Incredibly bold of them not to give any map markers or a quest log.

It's really interesting that you mention RDR2 and BOTW in particular, as yeah, those two games and this all seem to have done something with open worlds that other games have fallen short of with theirs, which is reflected in their respective scores (going off how high they all are on aggregate score sites like Metacritic, anyways). 

I think the difference is that there's a conversation to be had about these games which transcend the typical open world structure. The problem with creating an open world which is so heavily structured - arguably mollycoddling at times, and perhaps even overdesigned to some extent? - is that every player will be having the same experience when it comes to the general progression of the story and their traversal of the world, etc., which in any non-open world, and more linear game, would be the major beats of the game. The same design ethos - a focus on experiencing the same beats in virtually identical ways - being applied to open world games just doesn't work that well, at least in my opinion, unless I'm looking for such an experience.

BOTW, RDR2, and seemingly now Elden Ring, are all games where you are creating stories to discuss with your friends through what you experience and decide to do in the game - where do you go? Who do you talk to? How do you act? - which creates a sense of community and immersive relevance unique to you, because the sense of discovery and awe is amplified by the sense of adventure, which other open world experiences are often lacking. That's not to say that other open worlds are lesser - when I'm in the mood, I love the checklists of open worlds, but I only engage with them when I am in the mood - but I think it's one of the things which elevates these open world experiences and differentiates them from the rest. 

I know you said they're not your type of game  - which is fair enough, play what you want to play! - but have you tried one before? Is there a particular thing which puts you off about them from what you've seen or heard, and is there something you would want to see from them moving forwards that might bring you into the fold? Genuinely curious, hope this doesn't come across as trying to call you out, I always just like getting other perspectives on things, as you know! :D

6 hours ago, Dcubed said:

I mean, it's literally the most reviewer friendly game you could possibly make.  It was always destined to review incredibly well.

Souls + From Software + Open World + Game of Thrones + Early-Generation "Next Gen Experience".  It literally can't fail.

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I feel like you can say that about anything that reviews well in hindsight, but that easily falls apart when you figure that just one of these aspects could have gone disastrously wrong and made the game an incohesive mess. 

Souls - I haven't played Nioh, so can't comment there, but being Souls-like is an overutilised oversimplification of a game that's considered more difficult than others and tells its story indirectly. But it's been applied to so, so many games at this point that the myriad of review scores out there show that being a Souls-like probably doesn't mean much unless it's executed well. 

From Software - quality developer develops a quality game and it's reflected in its reviews, that's not too surprising. They could have easily made a bad one and it would have been called out as such by most reviewers. Same goes for other stellar companies in the industry, like Nintendo. None of these guys are infallible. Yes, we're all staring across the room at Naughty Dog right now (and this is as someone who actually enjoyed parts of Part II). 

Open world - so this is totally subjective, but from my perspective (and I'm basing this only off the reviews, as I haven't played the game yet), this is only going to be the third open world game to knock it out of the park in the last 5 years, the other two being Breath of the Wild and Red Dead Redemption II. No, I don't consider God of War or Dragon Quest XI to be open world, well at least not in the same sense that the other games I mentioned are. And again, this isn't me saying that the other open world games are lesser by any means (even if at times they can be a bit formulaic), but I think these two (and possibly three, now, with Elden Ring) will be standing above the rest when all is said and done. 

Game of Thrones - assuming this is a reference to GRRM's involvement...it doesn't seem to have done much, if anything, from the perspective of someone reading and watching a few of these reviews. I think his entire involvement fell flat after Schreier leaked it ahead of E3 2019, and I've barely seen it mentioned outside of Bandai Namco's marketing of the fact. The final season of GoT falling flat on its face months before the announcement of his involvement (regardless of GRRM's involvement in the series or lack thereof by that point) certainly didn't help. 

Early-generation next-gen experience - I genuinely don't think Bandai Namco have had the nerve to market this as being a next-gen experience, and rightly so, because it was designed with last gen in mind. It's a noticeable visual improvement from what From Software has released before, but it doesn't exactly scream next-gen. I also don't think reviewers are viewing it this way either, and I genuinely think it would have reviewed just as well if it hypothetically were in this state and launched before the PS5 and Series X | S. 

So yeah, I think it's clear it could have failed, quite easily actually. I could end up hating the game, I try to be honest even just on a forum about my opinions on things, but for the reviewers at least, it seems like they've got a whole lot of praise for this game. We rarely see games hyped to all hell reviewing this highly on aggregate score sites like Metacritic, so let us be excited :p it genuinely reminds me of the reception Breath of the Wild got back in 2017, and I can't wait!

Edited by Julius
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Lol. The game reviews ridiculously well and people say it's reviewer friendly?

Way to downplay the devs' achievements...

Edited by drahkon
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To be fair, this game is total GOTY bait. That's not a knock on any of these reviews, it's just clearly a combination of a lot of things that are popular and positively received.

That said, back in my day, "reviewer-friendly" meant that the game was easy enough to play (not too difficult), engaging enough to stay interesting (not too easy), and straightforward to explore and/or complete (so, easy checklists for sidequests, and also games that could feasibly be explored within one playthrough). In other words, a bunch of checklists that would make the job easier for someone who systematically plays several games for a living. I remember Zelda and Assassin's Creed being usually accused of this. I don't think a Soulsborne-type of game would fit the description, either.

Edited by Jonnas

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4 hours ago, Julius said:

It's really interesting that you mention RDR2 and BOTW in particular, as yeah, those two games and this all seem to have done something with open worlds that other games have fallen short of with theirs, which is reflected in their respective scores (going off how high they all are on aggregate score sites like Metacritic, anyways). 

I think the difference is that there's a conversation to be had about these games which transcend the typical open world structure. The problem with creating an open world which is so heavily structured - arguably mollycoddling at times, and perhaps even overdesigned to some extent? - is that every player will be having the same experience when it comes to the general progression of the story and their traversal of the world, etc., which in any non-open world, and more linear game, would be the major beats of the game. The same design ethos - a focus on experiencing the same beats in virtually identical ways - being applied to open world games just doesn't work that well, at least in my opinion, unless I'm looking for such an experience.

BOTW, RDR2, and seemingly now Elden Ring, are all games where you are creating stories to discuss with your friends through what you experience and decide to do in the game - where do you go? Who do you talk to? How do you act? - which creates a sense of community and immersive relevance unique to you, because the sense of discovery and awe is amplified by the sense of adventure, which other open world experiences are often lacking. That's not to say that other open worlds are lesser - when I'm in the mood, I love the checklists of open worlds, but I only engage with them when I am in the mood - but I think it's one of the things which elevates these open world experiences and differentiates them from the rest. 

I know you said they're not your type of game  - which is fair enough, play what you want to play! - but have you tried one before? Is there a particular thing which puts you off about them from what you've seen or heard, and is there something you would want to see from them moving forwards that might bring you into the fold? Genuinely curious, hope this doesn't come across as trying to call you out, I always just like getting other perspectives on things, as you know! :D

I think what also doesn't help is by contrast to the RDR2's and BOTW's, the two major players of the openworld genre: Ubisoft and Playstation Studios play things extremely safe with their games. Zelda, Red Dead and Elden Ring seem to be a lot more bold in their direction. Nothing especially wrong with the former approach, like you say I enjoy them a lot too, but it's getting to the point where I feel like I've played these games a dozen times already.

And as for me saying Elden Ring/Souls games aren't for me... It's hard to explain. The extreme difficulty doesn't sound particularly fun, and the combat in general doesn't seem like the kind of thing I'm into. I'm also not really a fan of the types of worlds these games are set in. Maybe I'll give it a go down the line, but atm happy to just observe from afar!

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Digital Foundry are still working on their video for the 1.2 patch that's been rolled out (they were waiting for this Day 1 update as agreed with Bandai Namco), but have some early impressions to share. 

Console

Quote

First, let's look at the situation on consoles. The performance metrics we saw in the game's network test last year seem largely unchanged on PS5 and Series X. Both continue to offer two modes - a frame-rate mode and a quality mode. However, even running on the launch day patch 1.02, the frame-rate mode continues to run at a range of 45-60fps on PS5 and Series X, while the quality modes on each range between 30-60fps. Both machines run with entirely unlocked frame-rates, and much like the network test, there's still no 30fps cap to even out the wavering reading in quality mode. The result? A highly variable performance for the quality mode in particular, where 60fps is rarely - if ever - achieved on PS5 or Series X.

In comparison, PS5 is typically operating at a higher frame-rate than Series X, though clearly neither is ideal. The bottom line is neither console offers a consistent 60fps in the final release. That being said, there are workarounds for each platform well worth considering. Xbox Series X is greatly improved by its system-level support for variable refresh rate (VRR) if you have a supporting display. VRR helps minimise the perceived judder in its 45-60fps range in frame-rate mode, creating a smoother experience by matching the screen refresh to the frame-rate. This may not be a solution for everybody, but for those with compatible TVs it's the best option on Xbox right now. Series S users also benefit from VRR here. Given this platform's frame-rate mode runs between 40-60fps right now it's a viable choice, though not perfect, given Series S's performance veers more often towards the lower end of this range than Series X.

Meanwhile, hitting a stable 60fps on PS5 involves another tactic entirely. Sadly, VRR support isn't available on Sony's machine right now, but, as with the network test, simply running the PS4 app on PS5 clears up the frame-rate to a smooth 60fps. The trade-off? The game runs at a lower resolution - at what appears to be a reconstructed 1800p - and with lower settings in grass density than the native PS5 version. This is fundamentally the PS4 Pro codepath, using the higher power of PS5 to hit a more consistent performance level. Even with these trade-offs, running the PS4 app on PS5 is currently the best option on any console to achieve a consistent 60fps - and comes recommended if you value outright performance over image quality and higher-end graphical features.

PC

Quote

The PC situation is also worth clarifying. As it currently stands the PC version using the latest 1.02 patch has a number of issues that will affect all hardware configurations on all graphical settings presets. Elden Ring is From Software's first foray into low-level APIs on PC and the game uses DirectX 12. As we have seen in other DX12 titles, there can be severe and distracting frame-time stuttering issues.

First there are stutters of up to 250 milliseconds in length when new effects, enemies, and areas appear on screen. These types of stutter lessen as the play experience goes on and enemies, areas, and effects are revisited by the player. A second and more pervasive stutter appears to be tied to loading new game areas - when traversing the terrain, moving from one area to the next can cause minor one-off frame drops a few times a minute, or at worst, tumbling frame-time issues that drop the frame-rate from a steady 60 into the 40s.

Variable refresh rate monitors using G-Sync or Freesync help alleviate a level of the distracting nature of some of these issues, but leaning on the technology is not a good situation in light of how the console versions do not suffer from these stutters. Other issues to note are the lack of ultrawide screen support, no support for frame-rates above 60fps, and unintuitive graphical options that lack visible scaling. As we have seen with other titles suffering from similar issues such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Halo Infinite, it could be sensible to wait for further patches before investing time into the PC version of Elden Ring.

In short:

• The PS4 version through PS5 backwards compatibility is currently the best version of the game for performance, at a smooth 60 fps, but at a reconstructed 1800p and lesser fidelity features when compared with next-gen offerings. 

• The dedicated next-gen versions of the game offer a highly variable frame rate, ranging from 45 - 60 fps in the mode favouring frame rate, and anywhere from 30 - 60 fps in the mode favouring visuals. There is no capped 30 fps option currently available. 

• Series X and Series S versions both benefit noticeably from VRR when used with compatible screens. 

• Wait for more updates if you're playing on PC, where the game's performance is at its worst. 

 

Man, that's rough, and it's very surprising that the situation hasn't really improved since the CNT, where the PS4 version through backwards compatibility was also best for frame rate. I played both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls at 60 fps, so that could be a bit rough, and I currently have the PS5 physical version on the way, which has been shipped this morning (woo!) and should be arriving tomorrow.

But honestly, I'm kind of half (read: REALLY) tempted to pick up the PS4 version digitally after reading this and let the PS5 version just sit on my shelf (for now), a higher frame rate almost seems essential for these games. I'm off work tomorrow too, so maybe that would make more sense...

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