I’m bad at elden ring

OKAY! This is out of my wheelhouse a bit. This is a quick, kinda sloppy, post I made out of excitement when I was first playing this game. Think of it like reading a blog post in 2007. Short, sweet, and earnest.

Like everyone else, I got Elden Ring recently, so I feel the need to talk about it. But unlike basically everyone, I’m not playing it as a veteran Fromsoft player returning to an old friend, but as a new player. Sure, I’ve played Dark Souls 3 a bit, but I hit a wall and stopped playing, moving for more radioactive pastures in S.T.A.L.K.E.R instead. I was expecting a similar experience, but instead I essentially got the game that I’ve been looking forward to all these years.

I’m gonna be blunt: I’m bad at video games. Maybe it’s because I didn’t play them as a kid, and that I don’t play them much now, but I am awful. I have terrible gamesense, poor reflexes, and I just am not a natural at using a controller. I brute force myself through games usually through a combination of luck and being just good enough that I can grok it. Makes a lot of sense now that my usual genres of strategy games & roguelikes, huh?

So the Fromsoft games, I’ve realized, aren’t my thing. Sure, I can grind enough to be overleveled before a boss, but that’s boring. I know, I ground for 20 hours straight in DS3. I didn’t really have the strength of will to keep going. I’m proudly a skrub who’s never gotten good.

So what’s different about Elden Ring?

Well for one, I like its vibe a lot more. The setting of Dark Souls, with it’s ruined castles and cathedrals, weird fucked up knights, and whatever those turtle pilgrims were, is cool and all. But Elden Ring looks like some prog rock album cover shit. It’s awesome. I play it playing either prog rock or stoner metal in the background (Sleep’s Dopesmoker / Jerusalem is perfect background music, by the way) and it rocks. But I think the key is that I can actually fuck off and do other things in Elden Ring if I’m stuck. In Dark Souls 3, when I got stuck, you are kinda just, well, stuck. There’s nothing to do! I play video games to see cool new shit. So I need cool new shit to see! In Elden Ring, I got teleported across the map to some cave that was obviously much higher level and it rules. I was stuck on a banished knight for hours and during that time I did 3 side quests and explored this area that’s all rotting and evil to level high enough to beat him. I cannot overstate how pleasant it is to be a coward after being owned in Elden Ring. It just feels right to leave, lick your wounds, and come back later to kick that one guy’s ass.

It solves a problem that I’ve had with Open World games since forever – a lot of it is empty, desolate, and there’s nothing to do really. In Elden Ring, I have a reason to come back to places, a real emotional connection to different hallways and doors.

And I think that’s rad.

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