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Elden Ring Is GameSpot's Game Of The Year 2022

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Here's what makes Elden Ring our choice for the best game of the year.

In the last decade, few developers have been as influential as From Software. Whether it's the challenging gameplay of Demon's Souls, the thoughtfully constructed worlds of Dark Souls, the compelling stories of Bloodborne, or the razor-sharp gameplay of Sekiro, each of its games has resonated in profound ways.

The design of From Software's games is expertly calculated and balanced; that much comes through in the sense of discovery you feel as you inch through decrepit castles, unsettling forests, and otherworldly realms of darkness. It's in that triumphant swing of a sword that brings a seemingly insurmountable enemy to its knees, and the heartbreaking moment where a misstep allows a foe to bring you to yours.

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Now Playing: Why Elden Ring Is Game Of The Year 2022

The soaring highs and crushing lows of From Software's gameplay loops hinge on the foresight to know what a player will see, when they will see it, and how they're likely to react. On paper, an open world that affords the freedom to go anywhere and do anything would surely undermine the design principles that From Software has diligently refined to the precipice of perfection. And yet, Elden Ring showed that the opposite was in fact the case.

The Lands Between is vaster than anything that From Software has created before and empowers the player to take discovery and exploration into their own hands. From the very outset, those who have the determination to surmount the challenges they face can travel through verdant fields teeming with life, down into treacherous dungeons where monstrous sentinels await, through regions corrupted by rot, and even discover lost cities in the depths below.

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That From Software has been able to instill this sense of freedom alone is impressive, but being able to do this while also strengthening the design principles that are core to its games is a monumental achievement. It ensures that, all these years later, the defining features of the studio's games remain fresh. Elden Ring is a game that delivers a role-playing experience stronger than any that From Software has created before, one that encourages experimentation and venturing outside your comfort zone and rewards it with memorable gameplay opportunities. That could be circumventing one area of the game or unexpectedly falling into another, or it could be discovering an extraordinarily powerful spell or a devastating weapon. Regardless of which it is, what's important is that, at every step, Elden Ring inspires a sense of wonder that pulls you deeper and deeper into its world. Even when faced with challenges that seem impossible, it gives you the opportunity to seek adventure elsewhere and return when you feel more capable.

It's a game that, on a first playthrough, feels like it is infinite, always surprising with new jaw-dropping vistas and architecture of stunning scale, presenting you with hardier challenges and bestowing you with new rewards. And upon subsequent playthroughs, Elden Ring continues to give, allowing players to experience more questlines, encounter characters nestled away in dark corners, and develop a deeper understanding of the narrative driving the struggle for the fate of the Lands Between.

In my review, I said Elden Ring was contrariant in almost every way, and its commitment to design by subtraction placed the responsibility of charting their journey in the hands of the player. All these months later, the impact of that has not lessened. I previously said Elden Ring stands head and shoulders above other open-world titles, and as bold as that statement is, I believe it even more strongly today. In Elden Ring, From Software redefined its design philosophy for its first true open world, and in doing so, it raised the bar for the genre even higher. It's a game that guarantees that the studio will remain as influential as it has been up until this point for years to come.

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Tamoor Hussain

Tamoor Hussain is the Managing Editor of GameSpot. He has been covering the video game industry for a really long time, having worked in news, features, reviews, video, and more. He loves Bloodborne and other From Software titles, is partial to the stealth genre, and can hold his own in fighting games too. Fear the Old Blood.

Elden Ring

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