Elden Ring players discuss if the game is worthy of its 96 Metascore

Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-05-16 19:27 JST)

Elden Ring players have recently been discussing if the game is worthy of its high Metascore on Metacritic, and opinions appear to be divided. Looking at the content of the discussion gives us a glimpse at just how difficult a game it is to assess.

Elden Ring released on February 25 of this year and is FromSoftware’s latest action RPG. The game launched to high scoring critic reviews, with the PC version having a Metascore of 97/100. The PC version has since fallen to 94 with the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S versions sitting at 96.

The game is also pulling in strong sales numbers having shipped 13.4 million units by the end of March. This is three times higher than Bandai Namco’s initial sales prediction of 4 million units (related article).

However, the reception from players was a bit more mixed just after launch. User reviews on the previously mentioned Metacritic see the PS5 version sitting at 7.9 out of 10, the Xbox Series X|S version at 7.6, and the PC version at 6.8, showing a divergence from the critic reviews.

When we take a look at user reviews, for all of the praise the game receives, there are many that are dissatisfied with the gameplay in the latter half and the tuning of the bosses. Reviews of the PC version were also mentioning performance issues when the game was released, with Steam reviews being “mixed.” However, as the game amassed over 360,000 reviews on Steam, they’ve gone on to be 89% positive with the game now being evaluated as “very positive.”

On May 9, a thread was started on ResetEra titled “Do you agree with Elden Ring’s 97 Metacritic score?” that has been blowing up. As mentioned earlier, the game’s Metascore is currently 96 instead of 97.

The isn’t the first discussion about whether the game’s score is disproportionately high, with the topic being widely discussed just after the game’s release. However, now that over 2 months have passed since the release, it’s interesting to see the topic come up again. And now that more players have cleared the game, the discussion also seems to be more in-depth than before.

What we can gather from the thread is that those who find the Metascore to be appropriate slightly outnumber those that don’t. And among those who consider the score too high, many still give the game high marks saying it deserves to be around a 90.

On the other hand, comments from both those that agree and disagree with the Metascore mention performance issues, and how small-scale dungeons and bosses feel reused. Elden Ring being a game with brilliant points and flaws seems to be agreed on by most players. But how you feel about the flaws present will mostly decide what you think about the Metacritic score.

There were also users expressing doubt over the meaning of the Metascore itself. As Inverse pointed out, the narrative around the game just after its release will be shaped by fans of past titles, making scores lean in that direction. For the media, many outlets have to blast through a game just before its release to take in all the content and evaluate it. An aspect of the experience that likely differs for regular players.

Plus, players and critics have different focal points when evaluating a game, with different writers and editorial departments deciding what factors should get more emphasis. And for a game like Elden Ring, you could say giving a fixed score is a near-impossible task.

Similar to discussions after the game’s release, players also questioned the idea of fixed scores from media outlets, wondering what makes a 97 different from say a 92 or a 95. The difference in values between a player and the media may also be the motivation behind these arguments.

At any rate, neither players nor media are immune to bias. If a site and a reader have different criteria for evaluating games, it’s difficult to be on the same page when having a discussion.

There was also a thread posted to Reddit last week called “Is Elden Ring the goty for you?” where a lot of players are dropping their opinions. We’re approaching the time where players that have cleared it will begin looking back on the experience and setting their evaluations of it in stone.