And here I am, nearly two months after the first installment of this supposed series, ready to talk about Elden Ring again.
In that time, the ray tracing update’s performance has remained disappointing — so much so that I decided to take away the temptation entirely and started playing it on the Series S instead of the PS5. I’m usually a framerate guy, but if a fun new/interesting graphics setting is present before me, I’m going to feel like I have to turn it on.
Performance has never been Elden Ring’s strong suit, and since everything in the game is built around precise controller input timing, the more frames you have the better it feels to play. The Xbox Series S is a weirdly okay option for this as long as you don’t mind sacrificing some resolution.
Here then are my thoughts in my weird “notes” style after starting the game all over again, and playing through Limgrave’s vast store of content, including defeating legendary first boss Margit the Fell Omen. I started this “notes” series to function sort of like a written podcast. Yes, I know that makes no sense. I noticed though that game reviews have fallen off the traffic truck faster than last year’s hot takes, and long-form thought pieces about games, while fun to write, take much longer for me to produce. So instead I’m doing whatever this is.
The Series S is a Surprisingly Great Elden Ring Machine
I spent some time over the first half of this year writing “Xbox Series S Check-Ins,” pressing the lil’ Xbox into service to see if it could run the most demanding games. I’ve stopped writing these because no one was really reading them, but let me tell you — Elden Ring runs pretty well on the cheapest modern Xbox.
You can select between Performance and Quality modes, and weirdly both of them have an unlocked framerate. The performance mode lowers the resolution and gets much closer to a stable 60, while the quality mode hovers in a weird zone just above 30, occasionally taking a dive whenever the wind blows in the wrong…