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“Ayrden’s Circle” Vagabond Review Scored 9.8, Miyazaki Hidetaka Once Again on the Altar

Even after dozens of hours of experience, the world of Ayrden’s Circle still blew my mind. While gathering all the advantages of the previous “Soul series”, it also revealed huge ambitions. With the seasoning of the open world and many new ways to play, the series has come to a new height – it can be said that “Ai” The Ring of Arden is a perfect answer presented by From Software for players.

When Soulbound Experience Meets Open World

The fusion of “Soul” and “Open World” makes the explorable area of “Ayrden Circle” the largest in the “Soul Series”. From emerald plains, scarlet swamps, to dreamy crystal lakes, players will Encounter landscapes with different styles, as well as a variety of uniquely designed enemies. Even after clearing the game, there are still many hidden contents waiting to be discovered, including dungeons that players have never set foot on, and some that are still unknown how to unlock them. The sealed “mysterious realm”.

Also, the open world of Eldon Circle doesn’t have any formulaic feel to it, it doesn’t “teach you how to play” with to-do lists and checklists for players. Its guiding method is more like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, which will only give players a small amount of hints in the dialogue between Blessing and NPC, and finally we will choose the exploration route by ourselves. You can even skip many mainline bosses in the early stage and go straight to the next area to start your exploration journey.

When exploring this world, the player’s experience will be much “easier” than before.

On the one hand, the number of blessings (that is, the bonfires in “Dark Souls”) is large and scary, and some elite monsters and BOSS wandering in the wild also have a “Malika Keystone”. “Save point” for players to directly revive here after death – these designs basically let players say goodbye to the previous “Soul series” after the death of the prison experience tired of running maps, always feel the mercy of Miyazaki Hidetaka .


Reaching blessings is like coming home

On the other hand, the addition of “Lingma” has also accelerated the player’s exploration rhythm. On horseback, you can gallop in open scenes, run around monsters, jump over three-dimensional cliffs, and even play a wave of “horse and slash” with wild elite monsters and bosses – in short, this A new partner, allowing players to explore more conveniently and flexibly.

The “junction” of the open world stage of this work is huge but not empty, and all kinds of fillers are scattered in it. In addition to the different enemies and content available for collection, there are also some wild bosses in the game with cool names, expressiveness and combat effectiveness that are not inferior to the main line, and enemies that take time to break, but will also be rewarded very richly. Square base.

Some friends may have PTSD when they hear “clearing the stronghold”, but don’t worry, most of the enemy gathering places in this game have unique designs that match the environment. The styles of the different “strongholds” vary wildly, ranging from corrupt villages where residents shoot flames from their eyes, to dark tombs full of spooky monsters and four-handed puppets imprisoned by unknown mages. The process of conquering them will not be repetitive and boring, and it is easy to be substituted into the environment design full of “narrative”, and unconsciously think about the stories behind these strongholds. At the same time, because of the different combat ideas and scene styles, they also provided me with a lot of fun outside the main line from the psychological and gameplay level.

At the same time, there are many hidden small dungeons all over the world. There are usually elite monsters and bosses waiting for players at the bottom of the level, and some unique props and equipment can often be obtained here. Unfortunately, the structure of some small dungeons is too simple. After entering, there is only one small room. After defeating all the enemies, you can open the treasure chest and leave. This kind of rough “kick the door to find treasure” style design will somewhat reduce the player’s desire to explore. .

Old tricks and new tricks

“The Ring of Eldon” is ridiculed by many players as “Dark Souls 4”, which is not a problem, because its upgrade, attribute system, including the basic logic of operation and combat, basically follow the classics of the “Dark Souls” series Design; the online mode is also similar to previous dynasties. Players can enter the world of other players as helpers or invaders by writing markers and using props. However, on this basis, this work has added a “gathering point” setting, which is used to gather the summoning marks drawn by surrounding players to facilitate shaking people.

Although the overall gameplay logic has not been significantly changed, the addition of many new systems and the improvement of old gameplay have brought the entire game experience of “Ayrden’s Circle” to a whole new level.

The new “War Ash System” in this work can be seen as a fusion of the combat skills and metamorphism system of “Dark Souls 3”. The ashes can not only change the attributes and enchantments of the weapon, but also replace the original combat skills of the weapon, such as making a mediocre spear blow a storm, or cancel the original rebound ability of the shield, making the player Combat skills using the right-hand weapon in the shield state, etc. There are many kinds of battle grays in the game, and various combinations and collocations also have a certain depth, which can greatly expand the fun of battle.

The “production system” can be regarded as a derivative of this open world. The wild plants and monster materials that players collect on weekdays can be used to produce various props including flame pots and arrows. However, the existence of this system is not strong for me. On the one hand, it may be because I am a group of hamster players who are reluctant to use pine resin from the beginning to the clearance; on the other hand, the game is not because of the existence of the production system, but Reduce the number of items players can pick up and buy. In other words, even if the crafting system is not used at all, it will not affect the game experience much.

And the most critical change that made countless old and undead people burst into tears is-now, in the “Soul Universe”, the knees can be bent, and it is no longer only Ashina ninja. The addition of the jumping function in “Eldon’s Circle” not only allows players to step over a half-height platform, but also expands the dimension of battle. Jumping attacks have higher damage and toughness, which can destroy the enemy’s defense and make The annoying flying monster fell directly to the ground. Similar to “Sekiro”, jumping can also replace rolling to avoid some lower attacks, and at the same time the player can counterattack, providing more output space than rolling – of course, only in certain situations.

bizarre adventures of the faders

The character played by the player in this game is called the “Fader”, and in the background story is an existence that was once abandoned by “the grace of the golden tree”. After the “ring of Eldon” was broken, the protagonist and many faders woke up and embarked on their own journeys.

The way of telling stories in the Soul series is quite unique, and it has a certain “unity and commonality”. Players always come to this world without knowing anything, encounter all kinds of mysterious and great beings, experience many difficulties, defeat one enemy after another that was once out of reach, and get full rewards at the end of the journey. of fulfillment.


Every footprint is worth remembering

Most importantly, a lot of fragmentation, scene narratives, and many riddleman NPCs make this adventure story very open. After clearing the level, you will still have a lot of doubts about this story, and in the process of piecing together various details of the game, discussing with others, and observing the analysis of the “Huan Scientists”, you will gradually penetrate into this huge world and eventually become addicted to it. in.

The Ring of Eldon is the ultimate form of this “big adventure” experience. On the one hand, the size of the map and the number of NPCs in this work have reached the highest in the series. The former makes the stage carrying the story more and the volume of the plot becomes larger. The latter makes the game’s “reticulated narrative” have more space. Each NPC has its own story waiting for players to explore, and can open up a new story line by understanding their needs and cracking their “riddles”. Finally, the world is connected into a huge narrative web – then you will find that you have fallen into the fascinating “narrative trap” of Miyazaki Hidetaka.

On the other hand, the mysterious world created by George Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki is also full of impressive scenes and enemy designs, and the experience of adventure in it is even more difficult to reproduce.

It is worth mentioning that although the story of the “Soul Series” has always been known as a riddle, the main storyline of “Ayrden Circle” has finally begun to speak human words. Compared with previous works of the Soul series, the words of NPCs are more “easy to understand”. Players can understand the context of the plot as long as they listen to the dialogues of NPCs and read item descriptions. And NPCs will also guide players in various ways. For example, some people will click on the side to prompt nearby “places worth exploring”, and players can also buy clue documents from some merchants to better understand the plot.


Crossed the threshold of the “soul series”

Compared with the previous works of the Soul series, the upgrade of “Eldun’s Circle” is not only the screen and map scale, but also the design of many enemies and BOSS has been updated a lot.

First of all, the types of enemies in this game are more abundant than in previous generations. Every time I come to a new area, I can basically see new types of enemies. There are a large number of heavy armored knights stationed in the “Nymgef” area, but in “Lienia of the Lake”, there are a lot of ghosts, wizards and aquatic creatures, and in the “Galid” area, there will be more Most of them can lead to abnormal states, and their appearance is also very indescribable. The attack methods and action logic of these monsters often cause my characters to die “accidentally”.

In addition, I can feel that the AI of this boss has also been greatly strengthened. They will frequently use various changes, and even the direction of the slashing will temporarily change according to the player’s movements – every time they confidently respond to the move but suddenly die , I can feel that they are indeed smarter (or insidious) than the previous bosses in the series. By the way, the scene design, stage-shifting performances, and music included in this BOSS battle are all outstanding. The design of several mainline bosses even has the potential to surpass the most famous bosses in the Soul series, such as Wangcheng Shuangji, Unknown King, and Ludwig.

It sounds like “The Ring of Eldon” seems to be more difficult, but in fact the so-called difficulty of the game depends more on the player’s exploration route. Under the structure of the open world, if you encounter enemies and levels that cannot be beaten, you may be able to get the ashes that are helpful for the strategy if you change the way; parkour directly into the high-level area, get the weapons with damage and explosion, and come back It’s not too bad; and even if you get nothing, at least you can save a bunch of souls to upgrade by exploring the map…

Of course, although the open world is full of so-called “compassion”, in the large labyrinth (this is the code name) area that the main line must pass through, such as “Stonewell City”, there will still be an authentic soul exploration experience. The number of blessings here will be greatly reduced, and the formation of troops will also be filled with the malice of old thieves. Players will be familiar with the entire complex maze structure in the death after death.

Yes, the “soul smell” of Eldon Circle has not diminished, it is still difficult and will kill you many times, but the change is that players no longer need to find the only one from countless deaths and attempts. The feasible path, but the ability to discover hidden new possibilities from the exploration and understanding of the world. The experience of “Soul System” positive feedback is not only the hearty experience after a successful challenge, but also the fun of daring to try and discover. “Ayrden’s Circle” utilizes the composition of the open world, while maintaining the experience of the classic Souls series, while trying to allow players of all levels to enjoy this grand adventure.

optimization and others

Due to the limitation of evaluation time and other reasons, I still have a lot of content that I haven’t had time to explore. For me, “Ayrden’s Circle” still retains many secrets.

It is worth mentioning that we initially used a machine equipped with RTX3080 during the evaluation, and encountered a lot of stuttering during the test, which seriously affected my experience. After changing the test platform to another computer equipped with RTX2070S, this phenomenon was solved, and after asking several media friends who participated in the evaluation, I learned that this phenomenon is not only encountered by me. However, Bandai officially stated that the problem with the Dunka will be fixed on the day of the official release.

When tested under the RTX2070S, the game can maintain 60 frames of experience at full height and 2K resolution. At the same setting at 4K resolution, the frame number fluctuates between 35 and 50 (more than 40 most of the time).

In addition, we also communicated with other media friends who use PS5 for evaluation. It is reported that under the “performance priority mode” of the PS5 platform, the game occasionally drops frames.

Epilogue

“The Ring of Eldon” has created an epic and magnificent world. In terms of the breadth of the map and the depth of the combat system, it has reached the highest level in the series. It is not only the master of the Soul series, but also retains the “Soul” “At the same time as the most essential content, using the open world to immerse more players in it has become an unparalleled masterpiece. Adventure in this rich, challenging and exploratory world is a wonderful and memorable event for most players.

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