First Impressions of Ring of Elysium

There's a new battle royale jumping into the market and here's what we thought when we first jumped in.

Everyone is getting into the battle royale craze, and the latest rendition comes from Tencent Games with Ring of Elysium, a battle royale game that certainly took many of its gameplay aspects from PUBG, while still creating a unique experience.

Despite feeling like PUBG, Ring of Elysium feels far more polished and offers a few twists that make it stand out from the others you can pick up. Also, it's free!

What's The Story?

Unlike several battle royale games, there's a reason the players are all stuck where they are. The goal of Ring of Elysium is to make it to the safe zone, survive the other players, and get a spot on the rescue helicopter that's coming in because the town just outside Mt. Dione is getting hit by a mega snow storm called Ymir. The name comes from Norse mythology and it belongs to the father of all giants.

By giving players a goal, they have a reason to stay on the move and remain as mobile as possible as this snow storm steadily engulfs the map. There's no telling where the safe zone is going to be, and when you're in the last section of the map you have to wait to see where the helicopter is going to land. No matter if you're still the last person to make it to the end, you need to grab a seat on that copter. No more hiding in a small hut or camping! 

I'm already a huge fan of this change. A rescue helicopter concept was similarly used in Fear The Wolves.

Starting Out

The game starts you with a new twist just before you enter a game. In the beginning, all of the players the game get to choose where they'd like to start, rather than having to load into a massive plane and fly over a specific route. 

When you choose a part on the map to land, this little section gets highlighted. No one else in the match lobby can choose your exact location, however, they can certainly choose to spawn near you. Due to you spawning somewhere in this tiny region of the map, it's not likely you're going to die immediately, but it does make the early game far more interesting than landing near someone and dying right away. You're likely to find a weapon or two quickly enough to fend off anyone you encounter.

Another interesting aspect is everyone starts out with a weapon set and comes with their own unique method to traverse the snowy map.

Weapon Sets

On the side of the map where you choose your starting location, you can clearly see three different choices you can highlight. These are your starting weapons and unique travel option. Each one comes with their own benefits and disadvantages.

For example, the rock-climbing gear, the least mobile of the three, grants the player to start out with a shotgun, whereas the others give players a starting pistol. The other two, the snowboard gear and hang glider, give players a decent advantage near the later part of the game if they have to make their way across the map. While the rock-climbing gear may seem like a complete disadvantage, the gear also grants players the opportunity to travel down wires that cover the entire map. This checks and balances attempt is great because if you choose the least mobile option you still have the opportunity to get away from the barrier.

These simple starting sets also don't give players direct advantages in combat. There's no class system where these classes provide a defensive passive or a more aggressive starting game. All of the combat is entirely left up to the player's skill, and it's refreshing to see a game not attempt to introduce an in-depth class system with these three starting choices.

The Elements

One of the fearsome factors in Ring of Elysium is the impending Ymir storm the town is steadily taken over by. This storm proves a worthy adversary, but like the barrier in almost all battle royale games, it's easy enough to outrun. You'll see a small temperature gauge located at the top left of your HUD. This changes based on your location. If you're in an area that's going to get taken by Ymir, you'll see it start to show a negative amount. When you're in the normal area, the temperature should read 5 Celsius. 

As of right now, this temperature gauge doesn't do much other than add the extra sense of realism to what's happening to your character. You'll only notice something if Ymir hits you, then you'll start to lose health and see the temperature gauge get to a crazy amount of cold. There might be more mechanics added to this in the future, like finding warmer clothing on the map based on your location.

Another thing you'll have to watch out for is the avalanches. These fearsome natural disasters plague this map, and can easily destroy a small building area, with all of the players in it, too. While they may not happen often, they add a sense of imminent danger everyone can run into.

Gunplay and Travel

Shooting in Ring of Elysium feels satisfying. There's a wide array of gun choices available to everyone, from the standard assault rifle, agile submachine gun, and the accurate sniper rifle. This is where it leans more towards PUBG in that the sniping in this game takes finesse. You have to line up your shot far more and take the time to carefully consider how far away your target is to know where your bullet will land. When picking up attachments, they automatically attach to the guns in your inventory from top to bottom.

Close-range fighting is about what you expect. The assault rifles reign supreme in this game and the shotguns prove extremely useful if you're in a building. After a few games, you'll find your ideal choice and you're going to lean on that every time you play. Because you can carry up to three main weapons, you can have a wider range of weapons at your disposal rather than having to choose between so many. I normally found myself with a shotgun, an assault rifle or submachine in the second slot, and a long range in my final slot.

When I had my weapons all picked out, making my way across the map was just as much fun. At first, I stuck to the rock-climbing gear to feel what it was like to have limited mobility. To suffice to say it was fine. I didn't feel I was too big of a disadvantage, and I had plenty of choices available. Though, I loved snowboarding down the side of a mountain. There was something about the mechanics of watching my character sway side to side as they sped down a slope that was exhilarating.

Because I always had the snowboard on me the gear never felt like a massive weight I had to deal with. The inventory management in the game is minimal, as I rarely looked at it while I handled my weapons.

Graphics

Unlike some of the latest battle Royale games, Ring of Elysium comes with a lot of great polish. You won't find yourself fighting to keep up the servers or attempting to chug through the environment dealing with a character that's running standstill. The game looks and feels great.

Because it's a free product, you're allowed to feel a little weary on this, but do not fear if you have a mid-range gaming computer. Tencent Games went the extra mile to make sure the graphics look great and it doesn't take a toll on my memory or have player's computers crashing. It's an excellent change of pace!

Final Thoughts

Having played so many battle royale games before this one, I never felt lost. The controls were intuitive, the shooting was similar, and the set up was entirely what I expected it to be. The ending goal provides players with something else to focus on, because no matter how many kills in the game you get if you don't make it to the helicopter at the end, you can't win. With only four seats, there are four potential winners who can come out on top at the end -- or two duos or one entire squad.

With the game having just been released, it'll be interesting to see what Tencent Games does with this new hit they've created. There's plenty of time for things to change, but again, the game's free and out on Steam now!

You can purchase the founder's pack, but that's only $2.99. Given how much some developers have attempted to turn anything with a scent of battle royale in it into a cash cow, this lower price and free to play approach is a refreshing change.

If you're already downloading Ring of Elysium, check out our Landing Guide now to prepare for your first round.

Games Ring of Elysium Genres Shooter Platforms PC Tags battle royale 
Published Sep. 21st 2018

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