Catch up on Elden Ring before the release of Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring's Ranni the Witch at the end of her questline

Elden Ring took the world by storm in 2022 and the game continues to attract new players while luring back those who have beaten it.

The pairing of beloved gaming studio FromSoftware and acclaimed author George R. R. Martin was meant to garner attention but ultimately, it was the game itself that turned heads. Elden Ring launched to an incredible amount of fanfare, and went on to win a slew of awards. It wound up becoming one of the top-selling games of the year, topping the likes of Call of Duty and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

The game’s mainstream appeal remains high, but there are plenty of people who are left scratching their head about what Elden Ring actually is. Here are all the key details and what lies ahead for the possible cross-media franchise.

Elden Ring dragon

What is Elden Ring?

Elden Ring is an open-world action game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco. A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin also contributed to the game’s story, helping to flesh out the game’s lore.

The game launched in 2022 after a prolonged wait for FromSoftware fans. The studio was famous for quickly churning out blockbuster titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but the development of Elden Ring was defined by the studio’s years of silence after the initial teaser trailer for the game. Expectations were still high, and the title lived up to them according to most critics. 

The game’s release was met with extremely strong reviews, receiving perfect scores from many prominent outlets. While it was already positioned for blockbuster success, the strong reception boosted sales as well. In February 2023, the development team announced that over 20 million units had been sold.

Does Elden Ring have DLC?

Elden Ring has had multiple free DLC releases and will have a paid DLC offering with Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree. Alongside this have been some significant patches that changed the game for committed players.

The first major DLC unlocked questlines for Nepheli Loux and Diallos Hoslow. This added an inspiring new chapter to Nepheli’s story and a tragic end to the tale of House Hoslow. The next major free DLC came in December 2022 with the Colosseum Update, which added new PVP multiplayer modes and balance changes.

The biggest DLC will likely be Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, a paid update that will seemingly star Miquella, a major character in the game’s lore. Fans can likely look forward to a new legacy dungeon, more spells, special weapons, and fresh questlines from the expansion. Shockingly, FromSoftware managed to balance development of this DLC alongside a AAA sequel to its classic Armored Core series.

Is Elden Ring hard?

Elden Ring is more challenging than most games in its genre, but it is regarded as more accessible than many other FromSoftware titles. The studio developed other notoriously difficult titles such as Demon’s Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but the open-world gameplay and greater character customizability of Elden Ring allow players to find more ways to survive.

While other open-world titles like The Witcher 3 and Ghost of Tsushima allow players to change the game’s difficulty, that’s not the case here. Though complaining about FromSoftware games not offering players an easy mode is a tradition at this point, these gripes were much quieter with Elden Ring than with other FromSoftware titles.

Is Elden Ring any good?

Elden Ring is regarded by many as the best game of 2022, with others going as far as to declare it the greatest game of all time. Regardless, the game received resounding praise from critics. Review aggregators have Elden Ring rated above 95%, making it one of the highest-rated games of all time.

FromSoftware’s level design has always been held in high esteem by players, but there were questions about whether that approach would translate well in an open-world game. While it was likely a major hurdle for the studio, the game’s massive legacy dungeons rank among some of its best levels. Even its smaller catacombs and tombs are carefully crafted labyrinths. Combined with Dark Souls-style combat, there’s a lot to love about the game.

Was Elden Ring the game of the year?

Elden Ring was 2022’s game of the year according to many publications and received multiple game of the year awards. It received top honors from The Game Awards, the DICE Awards, the Steam Awards, and many others. 

This was a particularly great feat, given the strength of competition in 2022. A number of other AAA titles dropped in 2022 including God of War Ragnarok and Horizon: Forbidden West, and glamorous indie titles Stray and A Plague Tale: Requiem also received high praise. Still, the game’s quality and popularity carried it to victory with most major awards.

Can I play Elden Ring on Steam Deck?

Elden Ring can be played on the Steam Deck with the right settings.

When the Steam Deck was still new, early adopters were delighted to learn that a fresh AAA title was playable on the hardware. Though Valve’s portable PC can’t match the power of a proper rig, or even a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S console, it can get 30 FPS at a high resolution with generally high settings.

Unfortunately, Elden Ring can’t get a steady 60 FPS even at uniformly low settings. Still, the game is definitely playable on the platform and many started and finished the game on Steam Deck without issue.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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