As someone who is completely new to the Fromsoftware games, Elden Ring was a pretty steep learning curve. Even though I had a brief run-in with Dark Souls 3 years ago, I’d never actually played one of these notoriously hard action role-playing games. My Dark Souls 3 playthrough, in essence, was me dying to the giant crystal-looking lizard thing in the first five minutes and closing the game, never to return. I had dubbed Fromsoftware made games too difficult and tilt-inducing. Patience is not my virtue, as anyone who has briefly interacted with me will be able to tell you. However, here I am, a week after Elden Rings released and still playing. Am I evolving?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve most definitely been exposed to the Fromsoftware game – watching streams, rage compilations and, of course, my fiance’s love for them. I was particularly in awe of Bloodborne’s storyline and the lore that came with it but I enjoyed that by sitting in the background, watching over his shoulder while he took on the creepy bosses. Elden Ring was different from the beginning – ever since that first trailer dropped about three years ago, it drew my attention. My guess is that was Fromsoftwares plan all along, to make a bridge of some sort for newer players to get into the franchise. I can say this much; I am definitely hooked and I’m already keen to explore the rest of Fromsoftwares games, specifically, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and actually play through Bloodborne myself.
Elden Ring is frustrating beyond belief – and I’ll admit, I came into it knowing this. What I didn’t expect is how different it is when compared to other RPGs. I’m definitely not the MOST experienced in them, I’d say I’m more a MOBA player by definition, but Elden Ring stumped me. Ignoring the fact that the first enemy you spot completely obliterates you, where most of us are used to early game enemies being rather easy to kill, what struck me was I simply had no idea what to do. No little quest markers above NPC’s and overall a basic idea of where to go. Initially, I was incredibly vexed by this and spent the entire first day of gameplay walking around aimlessly. It was only until I asked for help and did a bit of research on my own did I discover the fundamental idea of Elden Ring: You have to discover the story on your own and create an elaborate wall of clues. I feel a bit like a detective who has lost the plot in a crime movie, with one corner of my house dedicated to hints given throughout the game with little red strings connecting them.
Initially, their storytelling style is a bit strange. When you’re not used to it, it can be irritating. What I’ve discovered is that I think I actually enjoy Fromsoftwares approach more. Every little item gives a small piece of lore, a metaphorical puzzle piece, and I’ll be honest, now that I’ve realised that, I’m absolutely loving putting the pieces together. Elden Ring comes off as less engaging than usual RPGs – but in actual fact, is quite the opposite. Elden Ring grips you with its long beautiful golden claws and you find yourself questioning everything you see. From what seems to be human remains tangled in giant roots deep in the catacombs, to a massive free-roaming belltower/ building atop what I see are little stone turtle legs.
Elden Ring is difficult, there’s no way around it, it is a difficult game that will frustrate you at some point, but there’s so much reward with it too. I believe that’s the reason I’m still here, my small little victories. As I’m playing through, my fiance is going along with me – and I find it fascinating that I can easily take down some bosses while he struggles and vice versa. My first metal breakthrough was exactly that, I’d been brawling bosses left to right and center. Truthfully, I was getting one-shotted until I got my first ‘Enemy Felled’ flash across my screen. And then I finally sat up in my chair and proceeded to watch my fiance take on the same boss with a lot less ease than me. Elden Ring simply wasn’t designed to be easy, or be able to change its difficulty, and once I had accepted that I found myself simply having fun.
The game in a nutshell is brilliant, it’s not only beautiful with the stunning open-world creation but its lore rich and fascinating to discover. The secrets of Elden Ring aren’t right out in the open and you find yourself fully immersed in it, trying to figure it out as you go. This is by no means a review and I doubt I will ever get around to reviewing it, but I will come back to writing about it from my perspective, maybe once I’ve leveled some more or finished my crazy detective wall. In my opinion, it’s definitely a game you should at least try, even if it’s your first time approaching the Fromsoftware franchise. Get stuck into it and let’s compare notes, I’m truly excited to see where it goes.