Like many gamers over the past week, I have been playing Elden Ring, the new title from developer FromSoftware in the Dark Souls genre. While I have enjoyed much of my experience exploring the vast world and challenging the diverse array of enemies, I can't help but feel disappointed. Other reviewers have called it a masterpiece and, while I respect their opinion, I find it tough to agree whole-heartedly. Don’t get me wrong — the combat is fantastic and the world is incredible. It is an amazing game in so many ways, but, at the end of the day, Elden Ring did not make me feel like Spider-Man.
Like Dark Souls and Demon Souls before it, combat in Elden Ring revolves largely around learning how to time and aim the iconic dodge roll. Success hinges on the player’s ability to learn the tells of bosses and avoid massive blows. Dynamic and ingenious, the dodge roll is a rightfully beloved mechanic. Unfortunately, this falls short of feeling like Spider-Man. Sure, Spider-Man does dodge roll, but it is not near enough movement on its own to make me feel like Spider-Man. Where are the backflips? Where is the wall climbing? Where is the web-slinging? I just don’t find it believable that this character was bitten by a radioactive spider. Quite frankly, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel like Spider-Man without web-slinging.
Not to mention how both major iterations of Spider-Man, Peter Parker and Miles Morales are known for their quips and wise cracks. In all my hours of playing Elden Ring, never did my character crack wise. Not once was a successful dodge roll followed up by a lighthearted “Swing and a miss!” My character never let out a “Yeesh, bad hair day!” upon seeing an undead skeleton king with embarrassingly bad hair. This is a disappointment to say the least.
On top of that, and I don’t mean to be hurtful, but it seems like not a single person at FromSoftware has even seen a picture of New York City. There was a point where I thought I saw the Chrysler Building, but that was just another spire of what appeared to be a castle. Last I checked, there are no castles in New York City.
Maybe I’m missing something because no other review I’ve seen has noticed these immense oversights. With how consistently it falls short, I can’t help but think the developers of Elden Ring weren’t even trying to make me feel like Spider-Man. This is why, despite being an amazingly fun and well-crafted gaming experience, I can’t in good conscience recommend Elden Ring to anyone. 4/5
Jeffrey Brown is a former Arts Editor for the Daily Cardinal. He writes for The Beet occasionally and does some drawing and photography too. He is a senior majoring in Sociology. Do not feed him after midnight.