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Elden Ring on PS5 vs Xbox Series X vs PC: Which is best?

Elden Ring screen shot
(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

Elden Ring is out now and it’s pretty much a masterpiece, successfully blending an open-world with the taught combat and challenge of Dark Souls. If you don't have the game yet, you may be wondering which platform to play it on. 

That's because there have been plenty of reports and deep dives into the performance of FromSoftware’s latest game. Even our own Rory Mellon rolled up his sleeves and did some testing

So read on to get an idea of the console or PC you should consider playing Elden Ring on for the best experience. 

Elden Ring on PS5  

PS5 updates

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Sony’s flagship console offers a “prioritize frame rate” and “prioritize quality” modes, both running at an unlocked frame rate. 

In the quality mode, Elden Ring runs at a fixed 4K resolution,  but this appears to be rather tasking for the console, according to Digital Foundry's testing, with it offering between 30 and 60 frames per second, but occasionally dipping to 20 fps. Unsteady frame pacing means the experience can be rather unsmooth on the PS5, which means you may be best off with the performance mode. 

Aside from shadow rendering, there’s not a lot of difference between the visuals of the performance and quality modes.

In the prioritize frame rate mode, Elden Ring offers a minimum resolution of 2,688 x 1,512 going up to a full 4K. But this doesn’t mean the PS5 can deliver a smooth 60 fps experience. It's more consistently in the 50 fps range, and there are less dramatic frame rate drops. We’d suggest opting for the frame rate mode over the quality one. 

Loading times is where the PS5 shines, taking an average of 7 seconds to load the game after players die. Given Elden Ring is a game with a lot of deaths, this is a tick in the PS5’s box. 

Elden Ring on Xbox Series X 

Xbox Series X on wooden table.

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In a nutshell, the Xbox Series X has the same performance options and parameters as the PS5. But Sony’s console tends to be faster overall, with a 10 fps lead when exploring the Lands Between on foot, compared to the big black box from Microsoft. 

The system-level support for a variable refresh rate (VRR) can help inject a dose of stability in Elden Ring. Those of you with 120Hz refresh rate TVs, like the LG C1 OLED, can use VRR and set the display to only refresh at 60hz in order to make any frame rate drops feel a little smoother. 

The Series X falls down when it comes to loading times, sadly. In our testing, the Xbox Series X took around 19 seconds of loading to boot the game from the main menu, and average loading speeds of 12 seconds to get back into the fray after a death.

It’s not the longest of loading times compared to some open-world games on last-generation consoles. But it’s long enough to potentially frustrated gamers used to the speedy loading times of other games. 

Elden Ring on Xbox Series S 

Xbox Series S review

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Unsurprisingly, the lower-powered Xbox Series S isn’t aiming to deliver 4K Elden Ring action, though its quality mode is set at 2,560 x 1,440 and delivers a frame rate of about 30 fps. 

Flip to frame rate mode and dynamic resolution is deployed, with Elden Ring going from  1,792 x 1,008 to 2,560 x 1,440. This sees the frame rate jump into the high 40 fps. But Digital Foundry noted that there’s a lack of consistency in this mode, though it’s likely to be better for the gaming action than the quality mode. 

The graphics kicked out by the Series S tends to hold up well in comparison to the PS5 and Xbox Series X. But the visual presentation is understandably not as crisp compared to the more powerful machines. 

Loading times are broadly similar to those of the Xbox Series X, with Digital Foundry measuring 17 seconds of loading. 

Elden Ring on PC 

Alienware Aurora R11 review

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As it stands, we suggest you might want to steer clear of Elden Ring on the PC for the time being. Even if you have one of our picks from the best gaming PCs list, Elden Ring is currently locked at 60 fps, meaning you may not be able to bring the power of a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 to bear even if you have one. 

Add into the mix a slew issues with Elden Ring on the PC, and it’s perhaps not the platform we'd chose to use. But FromSoftware did release a day one patch — though issues apparently still remain — and has said it will work on improving the game on PC. 

But with frame rate issues and stuttering still being reported, Elden Ring’s performance on the PC is still sub-par. So we suggest waiting for more updates or playing on console. 

Bottom line: Play Elden Ring on PS5  

Elden Ring screen shot

(Image credit: FromSoftware Inc.)

Going by our findings as well as those of Digital Foundry and others, we recommend that the best way to play Elden Ring right now is on the PS5. 

Granted, the console is a chunky beast and you may need to plumb the depths of PS5 restocks to find one. But Elden Ring is a critically acclaimed game that you'll want to experience in the best way possible, so it will likely be worth the PS5 pursuit. 

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.