The battle royale genre/craze continues this month with a new competitor joining the fray, Ring Of Elysium from Chinese publisher Tencent Games. Ring Of Elysium is more similar to the old king of the ring, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, than Epic Games’ recent smash hit Fortnite: Battle Royale.
From the get go you can tell that Tencent was heavily influenced by the success of their new rival. The menu is similar, as is earning credits to buy crates which unlock cosmetics, and even some of the guns. But that’s not to say that Ring Of Elysium isn’t unique. It brings a change that many people find refreshing, and adds something I personally find quite cool.
Ring Of Elysium is available in early access for free on Steam
Ring Of Elysium adds a niche feature to spawning in that I haven’t seen done in previous Battle Royale games. It allows all the players to see the map and have roughly 60 seconds once everyone has loaded in to select a spawn location. Not only do you and your squad/duo’s partner get to choose where you spawn, but you also see what areas of the map everyone else has chosen. I have noticed that if someone is choosing a spot by themselves that isn’t overly popular, but you select a spot next to them, they will move away. This essentially allow's you to bully people out of spawn positions you want to use yourself.
Another thing about spawning that Ring Of Elysium does differently is allowing the selection of one of three different kits. All 3 kits include different starting capacities, weapons, and mode of transport. Yep, you read that correctly, transport. At least to some degree. Kit 1 “Glider”, pretty self explanatory, you start with a 9mm pistol, some bandages, and a small carry capacity. You also have access to a gliding kit that you can activate after jumping off high buildings or mountains, which, there are plenty of. The second kit is the “Skiing Pack” which includes a starting .45 pistol, some bandages, medium carry capacity and a snowboard you can use to zoom across the map. The final kit is the “Climbing Pack”, giving you access to a starting shotgun, yet again some bandages, a large carry capacity, and an ice pick/pulley system.
Having a starting kit really allows for a change in pace, the start isn’t 100% about RNG anymore and does have a leniency to skill. I no longer feel as if I’m screwed if I don’t grab an AK-47 from the first room I walk in. The individual perks of each kit are fun too. I’ve mainly used the glider and the climbing pack as they are easy to use and suit my playstyle more so than the skiing pack.
Ring Of Elysium adds more than just starting weapons and perks though. The pace feels faster than PUBG and Fortnite, but not quite the level of intensity that Islands of Nyne has. The zone isn’t a circle, it’s more of a random shape, and with minimal loot, you don’t feel like you are sifting through trash to find things. Most buildings will have meds, attachments, armour, and weapons a plenty, even snipers.
The map design is amazing too, featuring snow, hills, lakes, a cable car system that goes across the map, cars and other vehicles that suit the environment. Nothing feels out of place, which really helps you feel like you are going to slowly freeze to death if you don’t get out and evac on the helicopter.
There are a few issues with the game though, as there are with most. My main gripe is the vehicle's feel heavy and just wrong, they aren’t slow, but they aren’t very fast either. Even the snowmobile feels off and weird, but hey, the game has only had four patches since release (at the time of writing), so I’m sure they’re working on it. Another thing I personally find to be annoying is the last section of a match. You have to climb up a rope ladder attached to helicopter that only seats 4. This seemed cool, until every time I went to climb it and there was more than 4 people left, I would instantly be shot at and ultimately killed. This is a problem in my perspective as many people simply will sit and wait the timer out and go for those extra kills over getting evac’ed.
Graphics & Audio
Ring Of Elysium isn't the next big graphical master piece and it doesn't claim to be. The games graphics and art style do the job and immerse you in a mountainous snowy environment. The game is well optimised and runs on most somewhat recent PC's at high to medium settings.
The buildings are bland and don't do much to stand out but each area is unique in its own way. Each area is clearly defined and its not hard to start associating areas with different memories or experiences. Being a battle royale and early access title having lower end graphics can be acceptable as it's not a deal breaker for most players.
This game does audio amazingly well from vehicles to shooting, and even walking. You can easily tell the difference between walking through snow and walking on the road. After a few matches you will be picking up on what guns make which noise. Words don't do Ring Of Elysium's sound design any justice. You really have to play the game to fully grasp how well done it is.
Overall I feel as if Ring of Elysium really has a chance at being a big contender in the battle royale world. It has the backing of Tencent, who have a lot of money to throw around in both advertising and game support. Plus the game is genuinely fun to play solo or with a squad. It’s well optimised, and I’ve had zero issues running it or launching, and I’m yet to personally run into any bugs.
It’s free to play on Steam through early access as previously mentioned so you should give it a go if you want a fresh take on the genre. Or if you're simply looking at a way to jump into the world of battle royales. Plus it’s only got a 4GB install, so it shouldn’t take long to download and get into a match.