The Reviews Are In

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AV_Gamer

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#1  Edited By AV_Gamer
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bigsocrates

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I kind of resent this because I feel compelled to try the game given the glowing reviews and I am very suspicious that the things that most of these people think make it good will be incredibly irritating to me. I'll give it a shot but I feel like I am going to end up both disappointed in the game and in myself for not being able to enjoy it.

I know that's a weird perspective but I've had that experience with several highly praised games that I just couldn't click with. Often because of frustrating difficulty and not respecting the players' time, which is the Soulsbourne calling card.

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AtheistPreacher

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The hype is definitely real. Game Informer's video review is subtitled "Why It's One Of The Best Games Of All Time." Laying it on pretty thick!

But I'm definitely excited. I've got Friday off and am looking forward to playing it for three days straight.

I kind of resent this because I feel compelled to try the game given the glowing reviews and I am very suspicious that the things that most of these people think make it good will be incredibly irritating to me. I'll give it a shot but I feel like I am going to end up both disappointed in the game and in myself for not being able to enjoy it.

I know that's a weird perspective but I've had that experience with several highly praised games that I just couldn't click with. Often because of frustrating difficulty and not respecting the players' time, which is the Soulsbourne calling card.

I mean, that is a weird perspective in the sense of, if you're so convinced you aren't actually going to like it, why do you feel so compelled? No one's forcing you to play it. E.g., despite BotW's ridiculously high review scores, I never felt compelled to play it, and when I finally borrowed it from my brother well after release, I quickly decided that I had been right that it wasn't for me. So, y'know... just don't buy it.

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BaneFireLord

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#4  Edited By BaneFireLord

@bigsocrates: Hey look, you’re me! (Though minus the buy at launch urge)

I’ve definitely made my thoughts known about Soulsborne games on this forum numerous times, so I won’t rehash my reasons for not buying it here, despite all the accolades. However, I may pick this up down the road when it’s $15 or something and the inevitable EZ Mode mods are out to see how the open world fits together. I was surprised to hear how well that aspect of the game has been received and I love a well done, original open world, but I don’t feel like shelling out $60 and bashing my head against the usual Soulsborne systems to explore it.

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I really wish some of these reviews were written by newcomers rather than hardcore fans of the works of From. I understand the game is well-made and its world is big, but as someone who does not like the punishing difficulty of the Souls games or their general jankiness, I still do not know how to react to the widespread praise of the game or even if the game is for me.

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bigsocrates

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@atheistpreacher: Because my intuitions aren't always right. There are games I thought I'd hate that I ended up loving and games I thought I'd love that I ended up hating.

Breath of the Wild did not sound super appealing from descriptions but I picked it up and I absolutely loved every moment of it except the Yiga cave. I didn't think Transistor was going to be enjoyable and it ended up being one of the few games I've ever played through multiple times.

If you don't try things outside your comfort zone you'll never expand your horizons.

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AtheistPreacher

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@atheistpreacher: Because my intuitions aren't always right. There are games I thought I'd hate that I ended up loving and games I thought I'd love that I ended up hating.

Breath of the Wild did not sound super appealing from descriptions but I picked it up and I absolutely loved every moment of it except the Yiga cave. I didn't think Transistor was going to be enjoyable and it ended up being one of the few games I've ever played through multiple times.

If you don't try things outside your comfort zone you'll never expand your horizons.

Fair enough I guess, but I hope you'll at least wait for a sale or something. No reason to pay full price when you're so suspicious of it.

I really wish some of these reviews were written by newcomers rather than hardcore fans of the works of From. I understand the game is well-made and its world is big, but as someone who does not like the punishing difficulty of the Souls games or their general jankiness, I still do not know how to react to the widespread praise of the game or even if the game is for me.

I'm genuinely a little curious about what you mean here. When I think "janky," I tend to think of Bethesda and just outright buggy messes. I don't see From Software's games as rating that high on the jank scale.

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@bigsocrates: I don't think that's an unusual perspective at all when it comes to Souls games.

It took me three tries to accept I just don't like playing them, and at this point I'm immune to the hype. Fortunately we live in a world of streamers, and I can still participate in the zeitgeist by watching other people torture themselves.

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spacemanspiff00

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#9  Edited By spacemanspiff00

Man I really wish I had upgraded my PC. I am still on a 970 with an i5 and 8gm ram. And early reports show rough PC performance. Hoping since it runs on a PS4 that I can at least get something decent looking at a stable 30. Even if it takes a couple patches. Not looking to shell out for a new console yet either. Maybe grabbing a couple Ram sticks wouldn't hurt. Cheap enough anyway. Sekiro and DS3 I could get running at 60fps so I have hope.

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#11  Edited By berfunkle

PC gamer review said that it was fine over all but it was essentially another souls game. If true, I don't really have a problem with that although some no doubt will.

Funny, one of my criticisims of HZD: Fobbiden West is that it's more of the same yet I don't have a problem with playing yet another souls game. To each their own, I guess.

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ZombiePie

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#12  Edited By ZombiePie

@atheistpreacher: The franchise/series starts out real rough and with major issues with pathfinding, geometry breaking, general falling through shit, hit box weirdness, and clipping. Later games addressed most of these issues. Also, stuff like this:

However, I'm also applying the world "jank" to the storytelling and narrative structure of this "genre." Trying to get the entire story in these games is janky.

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mellotronrules

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I really wish some of these reviews were written by newcomers rather than hardcore fans of the works of From.

yeah- this is a thought i keep returning to. i have no doubt the quality of this thing is off the charts, and it certainly appears to be on track as the *cough* quantitatively *cough* best reviewed game of all time. but from everything i've absorbed, it really does seem like it falls squarely within the language and prerequisites of what a From game is. and that is such a specific thing- it kinda gives me a little bit of cognitive dissonance trying to imagine people that traditionally haven't enjoyed From games trying to crack this Elden Nut.

i suppose time will tell, but i'm most interested to see some of games folks i follow who are 1hundo not about that From life to see their take on it. meanwhile, i'll just continue to not stare at my PS5 unlock clock...

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Also in the camp not too interested in this. Tried Bloodbourne and couldn't get into it - I prefer games with "snappier" control without windup periods for attacks. But I feel that's 100% on me and doesn't say anything in particular about the quality of these games. So, happy for y'all who are into this. I don't doubt it deserves the praise!

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AtheistPreacher

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@zombiepie: That's one way to see it. I guess the story aspect is something I tend to overlook because I'm there for the gameplay and really don't care about the story. I mean, I've been known to like fairly story-driven games, e.g., I've played and enjoyed a lot of JRPGs, even replayed Persona 5 Royal recently and may have enjoyed it even more the second time around. But especially for an action game like this, for me the story is incidental and unimportant. I'm mostly there for the combat, exploration, cool treasure, etc.

I also think these games gain something in authenticity for not laying out everything clearly for you. I still remember something Kevin VanOrd said back on an old Gamespot Gameplay podcast with Tom Chick and Carolyn Petit: in real life, you can't walk up to some random person on the streets of San Francisco and say "Tell me the history of this place!" They aren't going to give you a lore or story dump, they're going to look at you funny and tell you to fuck off, probably. In that sense I find the From Software style of "storytelling" in these games refreshing, because it's not always about you, and I don't think you should always expect to know exactly what's going on. It also provides more space to be filled in with your own imaginings.

Anyway, different strokes. I've loved From Software games since King's Field, so I'm certainly biased in their favor.

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@bigsocrates: Not respecting players' time is such an overused nonsensical phrase that needs to go away. Having to learn the ins and outs of the game is one of the most enjoyable aspecsts of their games.

I totally get if that's not for you, but reducing it to them not respecting your time is ridiculous. Their games would be lesser in most fans minds if everything was streamlined and straight forward to get you through in a quick and efficient way.

Their last two games have also been tuned so you can blast through them extremely quickly if that's what you're looking for.

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wollywoo

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#19  Edited By wollywoo
@atheistpreacher said:

I still remember something Kevin VanOrd said back on an old Gamespot Gameplay podcast with Tom Chick and Carolyn Petit: in real life, you can't walk up to some random person on the streets of San Francisco and say "Tell me the history of this place!" They aren't going to give you a lore or story dump, they're going to look at you funny and tell you to fuck off, probably.

It might be more realistic, but I dunno, I find that kind of realism a bit depressing. It's one of the reasons I didn't get that much into The Witcher games - with the exception of some key characters, everyone is a jerk in those games. In games like Elder Scrolls, random NPCs are not jerks but they're coldly and robotically polite. It might not be realistic how in some JRPGs most random NPCs will enthusiastically tell you the latest news, but it's at least a refreshing change from reality. For the record, if some random person on the street asked me about my city, I'd happily tell them what I know.

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AtheistPreacher

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@wollywoo: Yeah, in that case I think we just have different tastes. Like, I loved Witcher 3 to death. And while I can enjoy the occasional JRPG character full of sunshine and the power of friendship, it can wear on me after a while. What can I say, I like games where people are self-interested jerks and everyone dies at the end.

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#21  Edited By glots

Game looks and sounds good enough for even me to be somewhat interested in, despite having only beaten the first boss in the original Demon's Souls, not beating any bosses in Bloodborne and getting absolutely destroyed in Sekiro to a point where I told myself I probably shouldn't even try any From games anymore. We'll see when friday comes, as I'm already busy with Forbidden West.

Speaking of, I'm really, really not looking forwards to hearing potentially three podcasts I listen to (Bombcast, Fire Escape and Nextlander) compare this and Forbidden West next week. Not like people being down on something is going to make me not enjoy it and Horizon is more guilty of open world tropes, but I feel like it might become real tiresome to listen to, especially when the only person who is going to be positive about FW is probably Vinny at this point.

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PC gamer review said that it was fine over all but it was essentially another souls game. If true, I don't really have a problem with that although some no doubt will.

This is basically what I was expecting ever since it was announced. I'm not the biggest souls-borne-iro fan in the world but I have played and enjoyed them all to varying degrees and finished more than I haven't, but I guess I just don't find the idea of "that but in an open world" as utterly mind blowing as a lot of people seem to.

If the game is good, then great! That's obviously a good thing. I just feel like the odds that it wasn't going to be completely gushed over when it finally came out were basically zero (even if there is a lot to dislike about these games unless you're already a fan of the series).

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I did see Dan Ryckert gushing over it a bit which was interesting because as far as I know he's not much of a Souls guy. Instead he was hitting it from the BOTW angle which doesn't do anything for me personally but still sounds promising.

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#24  Edited By ajamafalous

I'm trying to avoid reading reviews in case I do play it, but: does anyone who has read some have an impression of whether I'd like this game or not? Dark Souls 1 is one of my top 5-10 favorite games ever (I have the platinum trophy in all but DS3), but I generally dislike-to-hate open world games and game design. I even played Breath of the Wild, the apparent pinnacle of the genre, twice (on both Wii U and Switch) and I didn't finish the game either time. Every open world game with a map feels like a big boring checklist with discrete environmental 'designs' or enemies or whatever stamped into it to me. So, is this 'a Souls game with a slightly more open world,' or is it 'Breath of the Wild but with Souls-ish combat?' I'm maybe interested in the former, though the intricately-designed and interconnected parts of the map ('oh wow, this elevator leads me back to Firelink?!') are a big part of what make DS1 better than the other Souls games to me, and I don't see how it's possible for this game to have that. If it's the latter, I don't think it's for me.

@ragtagbag said:

@bigsocrates: Not respecting players' time is such an overused nonsensical phrase that needs to go away. Having to learn the ins and outs of the game is one of the most enjoyable aspecsts of their games.

I totally get if that's not for you, but reducing it to them not respecting your time is ridiculous. Their games would be lesser in most fans minds if everything was streamlined and straight forward to get you through in a quick and efficient way.

Their last two games have also been tuned so you can blast through them extremely quickly if that's what you're looking for.

Totally agree with this; 'learning the game' is what makes the Souls games so unique when compared to most modern AAA sand-off-all-of-the-rough-edges games. There is no way I would like Dark Souls 1 as much as I do if it had a map rather than forcing you to learn the paths in your head yourself, or if it had a waypoint or breadcrumb trail pointing you in the next 'correct' direction rather than forcing you to explore/get lost/sometimes end up in the wrong place, or if it just respawned you at the boss door when you died rather than forcing you to get better and optimize the path back to the boss so that you didn't lose too much healing to attrition on the way there or lose patience and get too rushed and lose your souls before you got back to the boss, etc. Every thing that someone might point to as 'wasting their time' is a completely integral part of the experience for me and is what sets the games apart in contrast to most others.

I think Monster Hunter is a good comparison point. Is it 'wasting your time' to have to kill a monster 3-15 times to farm for rare drops to make a weapon or armor set, or is it giving you an opportunity to master a monster's moveset so that you can eventually crush them without being hit in 1/5th of the time that the first hunt took you? Almost every part of any game can be labeled a 'waste of time' by someone who doesn't want to do it.

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Shindig

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The time aspect is always a weird one to judge. Not all players will struggle to intuit where to go next. I've seen blind playthroughs where the person playing has really kept their eyes peeled. The flipside to 'not respecting the players time' is rewarding a players' observations and curiosity.

I'll pick it up, just not right now. I play plenty of Souls stuff through the year and just want a break.

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#26  Edited By AtheistPreacher
@ajamafalous said:

I'm trying to avoid reading reviews in case I do play it, but: does anyone who has read some have an impression of whether I'd like this game or not? Dark Souls 1 is one of my top 5-10 favorite games ever (I have the platinum trophy in all but DS3), but I generally dislike-to-hate open world games and game design. I even played Breath of the Wild, the apparent pinnacle of the genre, twice (on both Wii U and Switch) and I didn't finish the game either time. Every open world game with a map feels like a big boring checklist with discrete environmental 'designs' or enemies or whatever stamped into it to me. So, is this 'a Souls game with a slightly more open world,' or is it 'Breath of the Wild but with Souls-ish combat?' I'm maybe interested in the former, though the intricately-designed and interconnected parts of the map (oh wow, this elevator leads me back to Firelink?!) are a big part of what make DS1 better than the other Souls games to me, and I don't see how it's possible for this game to have that. If it's the latter, I don't think it's for me.

I haven't played the game at all myself, not even the Network Test, but here's a few observations from the coverage I've seen.

I think everyone was more or less expecting that this would be a Souls game, just with an open world. The former is a known quantity, the latter clearly isn't, in the sense that From Software has never really done an open world type game. So of course that's the part about which I've been most interested to see how critics/players are responding.

And so far I just haven't really seen any complaints saying that the open world has detracted from the Souls experience, which is what we were all worried might happen. It sounds like there is genuine scope for a lot of sequence-breaking sort of nonsense (which I like) and actual discovery, as opposed to a bunch of glowing activity/point-of-interest icons on a map. It's impossible to know how I'll actually feel about the open world aspect until I actually get my hands on it, but the response so far now has me pretty optimistic where before I'd just been plain unsure/neutral about it. Where I've seen complaints, it's been people who have never liked Souls games still not loving the same aspects in Elden Ring.

To get a tiny bit more specific about the map aspect, what I've gathered from coverage is that (1) there are maps of the individual regions that you have to find in the world, so that until you do, opening the "map" screen will just show you in a formless gray void until you've picked up the portion you need, and (2) these maps do not mark a bunch of points of interest for you to look at; it lets you add markers yourself, but won't breadcrumb you toward anything but the "main" dungeons. Which all sounds good to me. The Unbisoft style of peppering the map with activities is tedious to me by now. Open world fatigue in that sense is definitely a thing.

Also, from what I hear, at least some of those "main/story" areas still have the intricate, looping-back-in-upon-itself level design of the Souls games, they're just surrounded by a larger open world. Of course that's a hard statement to really parse until we can experience it for ourselves.

FWIW I too am a Monster Hunter nut, if that means anything (been playing since Freedom Unite on the PSP).

Which is all to say: I don't think I or anyone else can really answer that question without playing the game ourselves, but if you liked the other Souls titles, I suspect you will like this just fine, despite an aversion to open world design. As I said above, I didn't like BotW either, but I'd be pretty shocked if I ended up disliking this based on what I've seen.

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Efesell

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Really not liking what I’m hearing about PS5 framerate.

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@ajamafalous: Based on the reviews I have read, I think Elden Ring is going to be more of a souls game with Breath of the Wild style open world. It sounds as if this is not "slightly open world" but a completely open world where you can completely ignore whole sections. I love BOTW (Top 3 game of all time for me), but I think finding a new weapon/item/enemy in Elden Ring is going to be way more satisfying than finding the same thing in BOTW and that is the main difference. The map doesn't turn this into an ubisoft style game, if that is the worry.

As for me, I am incredibly excited for this despite Sekiro & Demon's Souls (PS3) being the only FromSoft games I have beaten. But the Breath of the Wild comparisons really speak to me, and I've been looking for a good open world for a long time (and skipped out on Horizon).

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@efesell said:

Really not liking what I’m hearing about PS5 framerate.

If there's been one thing that From Software has always been bad at, it's framerate and performance, back to their earliest games. They have great gameplay and great art design and great almost everything else, but the tech side has always hovered between poor to merely adequate, and it can take fan-made solutions like the famous DSfix to clean up their technical messes. Here's hoping that future patches might improve performance.

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What's the word on performance? I can do ps5 or rtx 3080 pc.

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#31  Edited By constantk

I really appreciate everyone who is respectfully articulating their views in this thread. I love BotW and, if I'm honest, love the time I've spent in DS and DS2 even though I've come nowhere near beating either. But I'm still fighting with that nagging feeling this is going to be a waste of money for me to buy if I don't think I'll finish it. Then again, does the open-world nature change things enough to keep me going...

Reading through everyone's thoughts, I'm seeing a lot of valid points. Not a lot of hyperbole on either side, which I appreciate. Reassures me that though the hype is really ridiculous right now, there are people who are choosing not to play this game for reasons that make sense.

I'm still not sure where I land, but thanks for the discussion, everyone!

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#32  Edited By BaneFireLord

@shindig: This is almost certainly a “Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong!” problem on my end, but I’ve always found Souls games far more likely to punish my curiosity than reward it. When I played Dark Souls back in ye olde days of 2011, I was quickly conditioned to never stray from the beaten path because what awaited me there was inevitably some nasty monster that’s going to hand me my ass before I can find anything interesting (for early game examples: wandering to the graveyard near Firelink and getting my shit fucked up by skeletons; going up that tower in Undead Burg and getting my shit fucked up by that black knight). Then I respawn at the bonfire, having gained nothing from my attempt to explore except a slap in the face and the prospect of having to drag myself back to whatever hellhole I stumbled into if I want my money back. Having that dynamic applied to an open world, a format that is entirely about going off the beaten path, sounds kinda like a weird joke. But, again, probably a me problem.

- - -

I’ll admit, I’m definitely feeling a bit bitter seeing critics are doing the “one of the greatest games of all time” tango for ER while I know that if I try to play it I will bounce off it in just enough time to no longer be able to get a Steam refund. I also do not relish that every open world RPG is going to be unfavorably compared to ER from here until whatever the next Greatest Of All Time is, and undoubtedly some franchise I love will chase From Software’s glory once again and come up very short while corrupting its own identity in the process (why yes, I AM still mad about Deathloop, thank you for noticing!).

But hey, whatever, it’s fuckin’ video games. I’m glad this is living up to the hype for the people that like that sort of thing. Everything else in the world sucks right now so I’m happy people are getting joy out of Miyazaki’s latest bout of madness.

(Plus, it’s hard to stay annoyed when I have Weird West coming out next month, which based on everything I’ve seen so far might as well have been made specifically for me and only me. Would never in my wildest dreams have expected to be blessed with a Cthulhu cowboy imm-sim RPG from the Arkane old guard.)

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Efesell

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@banefirelord: At this point the next Greatest of All Time will just be whatever is released the week after Horizon 3.

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bigsocrates

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@ragtagbag: It's not at all a nonsensical phrase. People use it differently but what it essentially means is that a game is perfectly willing to take a bunch of time from players in often punitive and sometimes intentionally sadistic ways (or force a lot of grinding) because either the designers are very persnickety about what they want from player or, often, because they're just assholes.

It's not just about "learning the game." It's about extremely punitive games that are notoriously janky (so people fall through the world and lose a whole bunch of progress) and opaque (so people CAN'T 'learn the game' unless they look stuff up online or experiment for hours and hours) and have extreme distances between checkpoints so that if you're stuck on one particular issue you have to repeat earlier parts you have mastered over and over.

Some people like having their time disrespected either because it feels better when they finally surmount the obstacle or because they just enjoy and chuckle at the sadistic games the designers play (like if you get killed out of nowhere by something almost impossible to see and just chuckle even though it sets you back 45 minutes for what is essentially an act of trolling by the designers.)

It's not an invalid game design decision to disrespect your players time if you're clear that you're doing it, which at this point From Software very much is, but I personally don't like it.

People who have an easy time with these games fall into one of 3 camps

1) They're just very very good at games in general.

2) They've played these games to death so they're very good at this particular kind of game.

3) They are happy to spoil everything for themselves so they look up guides and walkthroughs and follow them so they can overcome the game's intentional opacity and in some cases blatant misdirection including in things like skill descriptions, not just level designs.

Other people either don't mind occasionally playing a game that tells them "I don't care about you, or how long this takes" or just love some aspect(s) of the game so much that they're willing to put up with the issues, but I tend to really dislike those mechanics.

Not respecting a player's time isn't always a design blunder. Sometimes it's intentional and sometimes there's an audience that appreciates it, but it's very much a thing that some games do.

The From Software games are pretty open about it and use it as a selling point, which it is for some players.

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I love the atmosphere and world building in From's games, but they always seem to be a very delicate balance between fun and frustration for me. I finished all three Dark Souls games, but don't enjoy their difficulty at all. I only managed to finish them by calling in help for many bosses and looking up guides on how to spec my character.

Sekiro I loved what I played, but didn't get very far at all because it just gets way too difficult really quickly.

Any word on the difficulty in the reviews so far?

I'm definitely going to play Elden Ring, and I'm not opposed to looking up stuff in guides, so I'm fine with it being a bit obtuse... eventually the internet will figure it out. I'm just hoping combat will be easier than other souls games, so more folks (like me) can finish it.

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Efesell

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The whole not respecting time thing just became such a buzzword phrase for a little bit that it honestly barely means anything to me now.

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Efesell

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@warpr: A number of reviews seem to suggest that it is actually a little more accessible.

At the very least it's not going to be like Sekiro just by nature of design. That game is built to bring players to its level or drive them away.

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Hayt

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#38  Edited By Hayt

Is the camera still fucked up super badly when locking onto large things or in tight spaces? If this is the game where they finally fix that I might buy the whole "best From game ever". I have enjoyed their games a lot but it is wild how they just never seem to fix the quality of life stuff. Even Sekiro had it and that's their... 6th rodeo?

Edit: Just reading about the console performance stuff. Kinda wild that they have the same issues they've had since Demon's Souls...

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Efesell

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@hayt: Sounds like there's a lotta dungeons so you know there's gonna be some sort of weird too large dog in a too small room.

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ajamafalous

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#40  Edited By ajamafalous
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AtheistPreacher

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@bigsocrates: But see, the way you're using the phrase "not respecting a player's time" to me just reinforces @ragtagbag's point. It is an inherently negative phrase. No one could look at that phrase in a vacuum and think that good things could come from it. If "not respecting a player's time" isn't always a mistake, then we should be using different terms, because it certainly sounds bad. Also, ascribing actual malice to the designers ("they're just assholes") is a little beyond the pale IMO. I have a hard time believing that these games are designed the way they are because staff at From just like watching people suffer. They are doing it for non-malicious reasons.

Admittedly, other ways of describing it have their own problems. Apologists saying these games "don't hold your hand" is sort of the same issue in the other direction. It overlooks the fact that From games have often been just plain too obscure as far as basic mechanics go, to the point where you could never expect to figure something out without looking it up (e.g., the mechanics of crafting boss weapons in Demon's Souls leaps to mind).

But I think the phrase "doesn't respect the player's time" is never going to be a great way to put it because different players are looking for different things. Fans of these games will point out that banging their head against a boss for two hours (and/or beating a path back to that boss for hours) is respecting their time just fine, because they keep getting better at the game, or they just enjoy the challenge. A lack of "forward progress" doesn't necessarily mean the game doesn't "respect your time." By that standard only a walking simulator with no fail states actually respects your time fully. You could equally say that From games respect you more than other games that are slobberingly accommodating to even their most-stoned audience members, with giant neon signs pointing you in the right direction and checkpoints so generous that the difficulty and the notion of overcoming a challenge becomes meaningless. And with people looking for such different things from their games, such phrasing just doesn't seem to lead to very fruitful discussion.

Returning to @ajamafalous's point about the relation to Monster Hunter, how about just saying the game is overly repetitious? Or that it is too difficult? Or its mechanics are not well-explained? Or that it's just not the style of game for you? There are all sorts of games I don't like for all sorts of reasons, but I've never thought that a dev was trying to make me suffer, their game just wasn't made for me.

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AtheistPreacher

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@warpr said:

Sekiro I loved what I played, but didn't get very far at all because it just gets way too difficult really quickly.

Any word on the difficulty in the reviews so far?

Kind of a mixed bag? Here's my best understanding. First, it is plenty hard in general, as much as past From titles have been. This is exacerbated somewhat by the fact that you can wander into what is, for lack of better phrasing, a "higher-level" area without realizing it, and get your ass handed to you before you realize that you should be coming back later when your character is more powerful.

But this cuts the other way: more than any other game before it, there is always somewhere else you can go if you hit a proverbial wall. Or maybe run off, find some really powerful weapon in a chest, spend some time grinding to get the stats you need to use it, and return to that previously tough enemy and kick its ass in turn.

So it depends, I guess, on how much you stick to the path of least resistance versus wander into more dangerous areas in the early going. I expect the game will remain just plain too hard for some people, which will be impossible for anyone but you to judge...

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alistercat

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@efesell said:

The whole not respecting time thing just became such a buzzword phrase for a little bit that it honestly barely means anything to me now.

It never meant anything worthwhile. It's one of the most open ended and subjective criticisms possible.

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Shindig

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@shindig: This is almost certainly a “Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong!” problem on my end, but I’ve always found Souls games far more likely to punish my curiosity than reward it. When I played Dark Souls back in ye olde days of 2011, I was quickly conditioned to never stray from the beaten path because what awaited me there was inevitably some nasty monster that’s going to hand me my ass before I can find anything interesting (for early game examples: wandering to the graveyard near Firelink and getting my shit fucked up by skeletons; going up that tower in Undead Burg and getting my shit fucked up by that black knight).

I shit the bed every first playthrough of a From game but they do give you the right hints.

Everyone found those skeletons. The way I saw it, they're right on your doorstep so it's not like you've lost actual progress. As soon as I saw the damage numbers, I bailed and said, "Not right now." The Black Knights are intimidating to look at but the first two have their back to you. They're also explicitly at dead ends.

It's odd that I see so many first-timers tip-toe around the place expecting a challenge but they don't look out in those ways. Heck, it took me a while to find Undead Burg but the familiar enemies had me thinking, "Ah, hollows. Just like in the Asylum. I can beat those guys in two hits. This must be the way forward."

It's one of those things where the developer's toolset has become way more diverse than just 'make numbers bigger' or 'obfuscate this crucial thing'. The latter is still kind of present but I think From and Miyazaki have always wanted to give their players much more credit for taking in their surroundings and making judgement calls.

Then again, as players, we're coddled by every other game and still nothing truly feels like what From offers. Over a decade on, they're in a class of one.

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BaneFireLord

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#45  Edited By BaneFireLord

@shindig: I think I misread your initial post and use of "curiosity," for which I apologize. I do think that Dark Souls does a good job with organically signposting via enemy placement and expecting players to pay attention; it's much more interesting and immersive than quest markers, for instance. The issue I have (which I now realize you weren't actually talking about) is with the idea I've come across numerous times that the Souls games encourage curiosity in the sense of exploring and poking into its various corners, which I don't agree with for the reasons I said in my initial post.

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Shindig

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@banefirelord: That's fair. I don't even think the compulsion to look everywhere for stuff is unique to Souls. Every game encourages exploration just in varying degrees of risk and reward.

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Honestly, so many reviews talking about it being Dark Souls BotW have me concerned as I enjoy the Souls formula, but have a mixed relationship with BotW. I'm hoping co-op makes up for that and I can really enjoy my time.

Excited to jump in and see how it goes.

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Hayt

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@efesell: When Sekiro put that ninja in what felt like a 4 x 4 meter tunnel I knew they were taking the piss.

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Efesell

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No quest log or markers or things like that in an open world is actually going to drive me up a fucking wall though.

I will accept it as a design decision and try to push through but I'm already tired of seeing "this lack of useful game design is Good Actually" takes.

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@efesell: Maybe I played too many games in the early days of computer RPGs, but this seems fine to me. If I could get past my hatred of Souls combat, I'd be very into the idea of a modern RPG that doesn't explain itself. Break out the notebook.