Hands down the best GOTY!
Elden Ring was my first souls-like video game and the first game I've played by developer FromSofware. It wasn't love at first sight. I've grown to love it.
It is, by all means, a very punishing game, based on my perspective as a new souls-game gamer. I died a lot, but it never took away the fun. Instead, I got the hang of it and took it as a part of the game.
I get excited playing this game, knowing that it has open-world gameplay, and that's me being a fan of open-worlds in general.
I know a lot is complaining about its open world, that it's hollow? Duh, please. You choose your narrative. That's the point, and there's no linear way to play this game. Set your own pace. I like how the game never really tells you what to do. You need to figure it out on your own and the best part is that there are no dead ends. You definitely need to grind your way in old RPG fashion.
Design-wise, Elden Ring does it. The fantasy around it, everything falls right in its exact place. What do you want? Demi-gods? Dragons? Undead? Aliens? Knights? Kings? Zombies? Pandemic? It has all of those fantasies. Anything around it is just so good.
Also, the memes, don't forget the memes.
10 out of 10.