As good as Elden Ring is, it can’t save how awful FromSoft’s first, experimental Ring game was

Anybody who claims to have any fond memories of playing a PS2 launch game other than TimeSplitters is a filthy liar. It was a miserable wave of sports and racing games, with a couple of absolutely honking action RPGs thrown in to keep people happy until Dark Cloud came out. Don’t talk to me about Fantavision.

Even among such dire competition, FromSoftware’s Eternal Ring stands out as the least memorable. Summoner looked vaguely like something Bioware could have made. Even Orphen: Scion of Sorcery at least had that rad anime guy on the front cover.

Poor Eternal Ring had precious little going for it when it first appeared. FromSoft’s other first-person RPG offering – King’s Field – didn’t have the cultural cache it’s retroactively earned by its association with the Souls games. There were no quivering hordes eagerly awaiting its arrival, no scores of tough guys just chomping at the bit to explain how it’s actually incredibly easy if you just get the Holy Bauble of the Fecal Matriarch and dump all your points into the Girth stat. Video games in 2000 mostly lived and died on the shelf, and Eternal Ring’s box was the sort of uninspired fantasy that would barely register in the brain even as you flicked past it in a Blockbuster’s bargain bin five years later.

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