Yeah, I have to work tomorrow. No, I really shouldn’t go another day on low sleep. Yet somehow I can’t bring myself to turn off my Xbox Series X. I’m forty hours into Elden Ring, and I feel like I’ve only just begun my journey. Like so many, I find myself plotting my next route while at work, calculating the best armor combination during rush hour traffic, agonizing over which stat I should boost on my next level up while I make dinner. I haven’t been this adsorbed into a game in five years.
It’s only March. We’ve had three major releases that will contend for Game of the Year, and there are still several heavyweights coming in the months ahead. Sure, Pokémon Legends Arceus and Horizon Forbidden West have been remarkable, even incredible, games. Any gamer would be well advised to pick those games up for their collection. But there’s something special about Elden Ring. It’s a generational game.
I’ll never forget the way I felt playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time. The exploration and sense of wonder brought me back to my childhood and the way I felt as a kid playing games in the 1980s. The developers for Elden Ring paid attention; they took what Breath of the Wild accomplished and they built a better world, one in which every obscure corner, every hidden pathway provides the player with purpose. More than any other game I’ve ever played, Elden Ring allows the player to tell their own story.
The game doesn’t talk at you, doesn’t hold your hand, or force tutorials upon you—it respects you. It makes it clear—learn or die. That learning becomes skill, and that skill becomes glory. Conquering Great Enemies makes you feel as though you’ve entered the Valhalla of gaming.
Of course the game is also gorgeous. I’ve lost myself for hours at a time, avoiding combat simply so I can take in the beauty of the medieval world. The complementary mix of humans, creatures, and the supernatural constantly surprise, ensuring that exploration never grows stale.
I don’t know how long it will take me to finish the game, but I feel quite certain that when I do, I’ll want to do another run. I chose the Samurai class this time, but I’m fascinated by the idea of building a character around magic. The sheer size of the overworld makes it likely that I’ll continue to make new discoveries along the way and that I’ll be able to continue to tell my own story too.
I’m certain that Nintendo will bring the magic when they release the sequel to Breath of the Wild. I know Bethesda Game Studios will deliver with Starfield. Throw in Santa Monica Studio’s God of War Ragnarök and 2022 just might be the best year in the history of gaming. But Elden Ring is going to be tough to beat.
Tell us what you think! Do you agree that Elden Ring has already secured Game of the Year for 2022? Share your reactions in the comments below or join the conversation on Boss Rush Discord and Facebook.