game: Elden Ring
exploration: As an open-world game, one of the main mechanics of Elden Ring is exploration, where you can find many different kinds of landscapes, hidden times, puzzles, lore tidbits, and enemies scattered around the massive in-game world. Exploration is the core of both the gameplay and the narrative, as it’s the only way to unlock new areas and enemies required to progress the story. Players may explore by walking, running, jumping, and dodge rolling around, or if they want to travel long distances, they can hop on their horse to quickly traverse large swaths of terrain.
combat: The core appeal of the game is the combat, especially in the form of boss fights. Each enemy has a set of various choreographed attacks they can perform, with even just one or two hits usually being enough to kill the player. As such, players will spend hours having to memorize each boss’s attack patterns to know when they have an opportunity to get in a hit or two, and each fight becomes a test of skill and patience. During the fight, players may avoid attacks by sprinting, jumping, or dodge rolling, and may attack with a normal attack combo sequence, a heavy attack, or a weapon-specific skill. If they specialize in magic or faith, they can also cast various spells and incantations to aid them in battle, supporting many different playstyles.
specialization: Players earn runes, the in-game currency, for defeating enemies. They may then use these runes to level up different skills, depending on if they want to specialize in health, stamina/equipment load carrying capacity, dexterous physical attack, strong physical attack, spell casting, incantations, or bleed damage.
These mechanics come together to create the dynamic of challenge. Elden ring is an insanely challenging game that will have you trying hundreds and hundreds of times to defeat just one boss. However, the level of challenge (and the absence of things like luck that would make you frustrated with the game’s mechanics) makes overcoming these challenges intensely rewarding, and combined with the aesthetics below, make the game one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played.
sense pleasure: breathtaking visuals that look straight out of a painting coupled with an intense soundtrack that swells and rests alongside the gameplay; it can be really satisfying in a boss fight when the music and sound effects sync up with the boss’s attacks. In addition, while the graphics aren’t the best, the artistic direction is flawless and each boss fight and even regular enemy has beautifully choreographed attacks with simulating effects.
fantasy: you can select between many different types of classes (e.g. warrior, sorcerer, wretch) and from there specialize into many different types of builds. So you can role-play as a mage, dexterous ninja, or a muscular, dual longsword-wielding brute.