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All things Elden Ring


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Since I just beat it but don't consider myself actually good at Souls games (I don't invade or anything like that), I shall try to answer!

The game is hard, but in many ways is more forgiving than past FromSoft games. You'll die a lot, but they included a ton more "respawn" points than post FromSoft games (especially early on) so even if you do you won't have to re-do much. They give you a horse, which makes getting around easier, and soon into the game it gives you the ability to 'summon' creatures to help you in your fight against bigger enemies so you will have assistance. There are also messages left on the ground by real players, like "ambush on left" or "watch up" or "strong foe ahead" that can provide little tips to keep you alive. That being said, I'd say the first few hours are the hardest in the game as you adjust to the style. Later there are so many ways to go that even if you hit a hard area, you can just go somewhere else, and some harder areas are completely optional anyway.

Its not really similar to anything, I mean it is third person ARPG but the easy answer is "its like every FromSoft game!" which doesn't help if you haven't played them. The main difference is that its more "realistic" in that if you get hit two or three times you'll probably be dead. And no matter your strength you will get one-hit killed at some point and want to punch something. I mean you will have heals but its not a game you can just take some shots, give some shots, take some shots, etc. the goal is to not get hit at all and have a good retreat plan. But it does give multiple viable ways to play so if you like magic, like swords, like massive axes, etc whatever you are comfortable with there is a build that will work.

As far as the mechanics, its both simple and takes some time to get really into the grove. I'm a FromSoft vet, even though I do not consider myself great at them. With Elden Ring it took me a couple hours but the longest learning curve was the horseback play. Its the first FromSoft game with a horse and they expect you (esp early on) to kill enemies while on the horse, but it took me awhile to get good at it. Since being knocked off the horse = bad. But I got there. But one nice thing is you can stay in the opening map area for awhile as there is A LOT to do early-game, so it gives a chance to get the mechanics down without the game forcing you to move too quickly.

Its a game I can recommend but its a hard game to recommend in some ways as its definition of fun is different from say Assassin's Creed or Shadow of Mordor, two other games I really enjoy. But I do think its more approachable than past FromSoft games. I will say this though to anyone - don't feel guilty or bad looking up shit in guides. FromSoft games are notoriously ok with you missing major plot points or items. There are some items early on for example you will NEED for the game but they aren't on the map, they are just on a random stone or something and if you happen to not walk that way, you'll miss it. So if you ever feel stuck, or like you are missing something, or really need a Smithing Stone [6] and can't find one, just read a guide. I wouldn't recommend spoiling bosses or plot points but using a guide to find an item is a staple of FromSoft games and is acceptable ?

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Thanks for the info @Kevin Wilson! I think I may wait and pick up a used copy at a later date. I've never played a FromSoft game before so I guess I'm wary to spend full price on something I might hate. Oh for the days when you could just pop into a Blockbuster and rent before you buy.

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On 5/13/2022 at 7:26 PM, cwoy2j said:

So I'm thinking about getting this game but wanted to ask a few questions. I feel comfortable asking people in this forum as everyone here is civil and won't be a "git gud" type asshole.

Just how hard is this game? I've heard it's like Dark Souls, which I've never played but heard that the difficulty is frustrating. I don't mind a challenge but also don't want to be hitting my head against a wall playing a game that's unnecessarily hard.
What other games is this similar to? I've looked at some videos and the combat sort of seems akin to Shadows of Mordor or AC Valhalla. Am I totally off base with that?
Is the learning curve to being competent really steep? I get about an hour or two of gaming every couple of nights as I have a 5 year old so I just want to know how long it takes to sort of get the mechanics of the game down.

Thanks in advance!

As someone on an extended break from Elden Ring, I'll say that I don't think the game is that hard or even impossible. It certainly isn't the difficulty behemoth that others made Soulsborne games sound like. My break with the game has more to do with playing other games and when I think about going back to finish off the remaining four bosses, I just think of the points that will follow.

I think the biggest source of difficulty, frustration, confusion, and learning curve is that the game is completely wide open. There isn't any sort of quest tracking, but there are side quests, so I've heard of people doing everything from keeping a physical notebook to keep track of what they're doing to having a system of using icons/stickers on the world map. For most of the time, I felt like I was just wandering around getting into all sorts of trouble anywhere I went. Now, when you get to certain Grace areas where you can save your progress and do some other stuff, you'll get a vague indication on your world map for where you should go next if you're only focused on the main quest. Other than that, you'll run into NPCs and see some other shit that talks about places in the game world or things going on and I have literally no idea WTF any of that is about until I go and hunt down a YouTube video or walkthru explanation.

The other source of difficulty is I think related to building your character. Your stats screen is borderline incomprehensible unless you go and read someone's explanation online. And even then, it's still freaking weird. So don't go into this expecting something like what you'll see in Elder Scrolls games or any other action RPG. Most of the time, I have no idea what I'm doing with regards to my character's build.

Mini boss fights feel like they have more of a pattern to them. Big boss fights feel like they have even less of a pattern. In both cases, I feel like I'm cheesing those fights because I summon ghost wolves to run interference while I cast spells from a safe distance.

As for the gameplay itself, I think it's very, very good. Like I said above, I don't think the gameplay part is the part that is actually difficult. If you get yourself into a sticky situation, you can almost always find a way to get out of it as long as you aren't way under leveled for what you're doing. Parrying is the only thing I have some trouble with because the timing for parrying feels different than any other game with parrying. I may have it backwards, but in other games that have a parry, you hit your parry button before the attack would hit you. In this, you have to start the animation much sooner. I also want to say that your parries and rolls, the speed of them anyway, all change depending on your character build. If you're a slow, lumbering person, then you're going to want to start your animation sooner than you would with other classes or builds.

I will go back to this game. Despite what I said above, I think the game is excellent and it reminds me a ton of Breath of the Wild. It's just that at the moment I'm repelled by the thought that there's no structure to quests. However, the good part of that is that when I do return, there's practically nothing to remember or forget. It's not like any other action RPG where if you take time off you might forget the whole story up to where you stopped. This is pretty much a pick up and start playing type of game.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apparently Elon doesn't know shit about how to play games.

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  • 1 month later...

Israel Adesanya's glowing trailer may convince me to bang my head against a wall and play this fucking game after all.

I beat Sekiro so I can probably survive this one as well.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Haven’t really touched this thread in months, I beat Elden Ring in early April and have a hard time even putting things into words. In many ways it’s the best game I’ve ever played, but just like any of the other Souls games, it’s got glaring flaws that seem pretty easy to fix in hindsight.

 

Going back to DS3 recently really illuminates how much more fun the difficulty was since it was linear and nicely curated. Elden Ring was always either too easy or too hard. And yes, I do believe Souls games can be too hard, 1 and 3 are definitely not it, but the endgame in Elden Ring, even with different builds and being more familiar with the area and enemies, is really not that fun for me. Huge parts of the game were just a running simulator, as there’s zero reason to engage with most of the enemies, unlike the Souls games where I always felt inclined to clear out every room, maybe skipping the occasional enemy. You can get killed sooo quickly in the end game by certain enemies that it’s just not worth it to fight something for a few measly runes. I mean I totally get it when you’re running away from the Tree Sentinel in the beginning and how good it feels to come back and kill him, but right at Stormhill in my first hour of playing I remember just feeling guilty that I was simply running past the troll the game was seemingly encouraging me to fight, but what incentive is there to not just run? Bosses being repeated also felt really cheap and uninspired to me, I did like the iterations of Margit, but the reuse of things like Erdtree Guardian, Tree Spirits and Sentinels was a big bummer, as it actually took away from their first encounters for me and made them seem less significant in hindsight.

 

The Souls series, especially since DS1 was my first one, was a real paradigm shift for me since I was so burnt out on open world games at the time. It gave me an open world with no bloat, no wide open areas to comb through for trivial rewards, but a claustrophobic meat grinder that beckoned me to internalize it. Off the top of my head I cant think of a single boss arena in Elden Ring that made me engage with the terrain, they were all wide open spaces with maybe the occasional pillar to create distance, where DS1 had a unique arena for almost all its bosses that added an extra layer of complexity beyond just learning their attacks. 

 

Combat was also kinda frustrating for me, I ended up cheesing way too many bosses with a spirit ash, OP spell, or with my str build character, jump attack till posture break ad nauseum. In general I just found it way too fast. I think there’s a fine balance between too slow and being way too fast and twitchy, and it definitely felt too fast here. Joseph Anderson’s review is spot on with how they ask you to learn way too many combos and fake outs if you’re actually trying to master precise evasions. The battles often come down to trading damage and finding exploits.

 

Exploration was pretty cool the first time, but the second time through, which was more of a completionist run for me, things like the Catacombs got pretty exhausting. I think it would have been much better if they were all interconnected, spat you out at a few different locations like Siofra River, and had more shortcuts to be discovered. Discovering Siofra River was incredible, but again, I found myself just riding around, running past enemies and scooping up the items. Souls games were much better at making certain areas impassable without clearing out some enemies since they weren’t so wide open. The size of the map was also pretty difficult for me, there’s a reason all these sandbox games have a bunch of icons and blurbs on the map, it’s because when a game is this big it’s really easy to forget where you’ve gone and what you’ve done. I don’t have the best memory and had to resign myself to the fact that I would miss out on a lot of content, and even if there was stuff I remembered to come back to later, i was probably overlevelled and the loot was inconsequential to my build anyway. I was one of the ones who thought FromSoftware didn’t need some busy checklist of a map until I actually had to engage with the enormous scope of it. I also didn’t give two shits about the crafting system, things were already fine in DS, now items are just further fragmented and it really adds to the bloat. I don’t think I crafted a single item besides the pickled gold feet for exp in both of my playthroughs. I also didn’t even really notice or care to get in to the great rune mechanic my first playthrough.

 

My favorite part of the game was definitely Stormveil Castle, which is kinda sad to me looking back considering how early on it is. But it was even better on replay as well since I found a completely different path through it. That part was as good as a Souls game gets for me, so it was really sad I didn’t get more of that. Raya Lucaria didn’t quite feel as interconnected to me, and by the time I got to Leyndell I was at like 70 hours and just wanted to beat the game so I ran through it without much curiosity. Crumbling Farum Azula and the Haligtree were huge disappointments, just wayyy too cheap with the enemies. Once again I just sprinted through them. I guess when I replay this one day down the line I’ll have to just go from one legacy dungeon straight to the next one because a lot of the side content and grinding in between them just added to my fatigue and took away from my enjoy of the most finely curated areas. 

 

Also wish they did more of a DS2 level curve since that would add to build diversity, and since I could only commit to leveling a few stats I had to disregard a lot of the equipment I found. Also I think a lot of what I say might not apply to newcomers to the series, as having spent hours upon hours in Bloodborne’s chalice dungeons made the Catacombs a lot more uninteresting to me. If you don’t know how boss arenas in DS1 were half the battle you might not even notice how lacking they are here.

 

Anyway, this is why I didn’t want to write this review, I’ve been rewriting this for an hour and it’s still just a mess of my thoughts about how the game is too big, bloated, and difficult, but still somehow it’s the best new game I’ve played in years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My daughter has now gotten into this game because she wants to pick the games to play that are the most difficult. She rolled whatever the Paladin equivalent is at first, played for awhile, and now she rolled a Prophet and is following a video on YouTube to build a Dragon Prophet. Watching her and jumping in and playing at times, I gotta say, Prophets are pretty cool and fun looking to play. It's actually making me want to jump back in and either keep playing my Astrologer build or start over as a Prophet. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have since started playing a Confessor, and then after buying it on Steam, I started a Samurai there. Holy shit. This is one of the best looking games ever played on a pc or anything really. I didn’t think there would be that big of a leap from the PS5 to the PC, but playing it with graphics settings set to maximum makes it look incredible.

I’m not sure which class I like better, but I’m only past Godrick and I feel super farmed with my Confessor. I either use Bloodhound’s Fang or I use the Uchigatana with Bloodhound’s Step. I still die a lot, but I’m also doing massive amounts of damage.

This game rules.

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I still remember the day it launched. I'd seen a little of the betas but not much on purpose. I remember walking ouf of that turotial cave and you're presented instantly with that big fuckin' panorama of the glowing tree and whatnot and I just stood there and after a few seconds said "wow".

Fromsoft never really do cutting edge graphics per se but they absolutely get the max out of the style they do.

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I think it was true originally as the first couple FromSoft games combined high difficulty and clunky controls/slowdown/glitches to make them stupid hard. Plus not even having fast travel at all in the early ones, or obnoxious fast travel later on which added to the frustration of getting into it. Elden Ring is hard but its not nearly as hard as the past games and probably less frustrating than games like Cuphead. 

I think after a decade, FromSoft finally found their spot, with still having a demanding and difficult game but not a controller-throwing frustrating one. I'm not saying of course its the perfect game, I can nitpick anything, but I think for the genre they've reached a peak that will be hard for them to top.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just got this last week. About 10 hours in and it's ok. Having fun with it so far but the game feels aimless. Like the one poster above said, it's frustrating to not have a journal or quest log and having to run to youtube or find a tutorial online in order to find things to do. It's decent enough but I feel like this is going to be one of those games that I'll spend a good amount of time on, beat it once and then trade in.

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I'm pretty awful at this game. I'm just not getting the combat mechanics down and enemies who are way lower level than me and killing me easily. I'm level 50 and that stupid tree sentinel thing kills me within a few hits. Everything I've read said you should be able to beat him around level 25.

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What's funny is that not more than 5 hours after I wrote my last post, I beat Godrick the Grafted pretty easily. I lost once but went right back at it and killed him fairly quickly.

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That's just how Elden Ring be sometimes. I will say the biggest early "wall" I got over was once I got really good at fighting on horseback. Except the battles you can't use him, Torrent was really my key to success once I got the timing down pat for sticking and moving. I went from dying to stupid enemies to having far more success once I mastered that game mechanic.

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I thought Margit was the cheapest fucking boss. Godrick was easier than him. The moon Queen lady was way easy. I beat her on the first try.

But now I’ve fallen ass backwards into fighting Radahn and he’s the biggest bitch. Half the time I die trying to summon all of my helpers. Then when I do get to fight him, my bloodfang sword never hits him with its special attack and he just one shots me. Once I had him down to half his life so I’m going to keep trying. I think what would really help is being able to level up my sword some more but I can’t find a somber smithing stone 6 or higher.

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Radahn took me the most attempts of any boss the first playthrough, now I always beat him first try. I assume you’re on your horse for most of the fight, I just run around on horseback dodging his attacks and getting every summon activated. Rotten breath dragon Incantation makes this battle a joke once the summons aggro him. If you can just set up all the summons and use some kind of ranged magic or pick your shots with big jumping attacks that should whittle him down quickly. And I just use the Elden Ring wiki to find out where the upgrade stones are just to get a sense of what level the game expects my weapons to be at. 
 

playing this game for my 3rd play through now. It really is incredible how many new things I keep finding, though this is the most completionist run I’ve done yet. My int build run was fun but felt somewhat limited, most spells didn’t feel worth it and the Moonveil was just too good to trade out for anything. I did a Guts cosplay for my second run and it was really fun and god damn is the greatsword op, but it got a little boring having to use the same weapons through the whole game. My latest faith/arcane build has been the most fun. Faith has been buffed to have way more viable offensive options than DS games before, and Arcane mixes well with it, giving you bleed, poison, and magic options. The dragon incantations, coupled with my seal that scales with faith and arcane, and lightning spear have been shredding through everything. 

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On 9/16/2022 at 9:22 PM, Craig H said:

I thought Margit was the cheapest fucking boss. Godrick was easier than him. The moon Queen lady was way easy. I beat her on the first try.

But now I’ve fallen ass backwards into fighting Radahn and he’s the biggest bitch. Half the time I die trying to summon all of my helpers. Then when I do get to fight him, my bloodfang sword never hits him with its special attack and he just one shots me. Once I had him down to half his life so I’m going to keep trying. I think what would really help is being able to level up my sword some more but I can’t find a somber smithing stone 6 or higher.

Yeah same here. Margit took me a bunch of tries. Godrick only took me two. The wolves and whatever other helper you get in that fight did most of the work and I just ran in and hit him a couple of times with a +4 bloody longsword. I had the firedrake pendant that negates a lot of fire damage so his dragon attack didn't do much damage.

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It took me a bunch of tries, but I finally beat Redahn. That was a really cool boss fight.

And so now of course killing the Godskin Apostle in the divine tower in Caelid is nearly impossible. I have tried more times to Kim him than Redahn and the closest I’ve come is just a little over half his life when he gets all stretchy and is practically unblockable. He is now the cheapest boss in the game. There are so many times he’s hit me with some bullshit that one shots me and there’s no real pattern to his attacks. Fuck that guy. I’m just going to do the cheese method to kill him and go get that rot breath spell.

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4 hours ago, Craig H said:

It took me a bunch of tries, but I finally beat Redahn. That was a really cool boss fight.

And so now of course killing the Godskin Apostle in the divine tower in Caelid is nearly impossible. I have tried more times to Kim him than Redahn and the closest I’ve come is just a little over half his life when he gets all stretchy and is practically unblockable. He is now the cheapest boss in the game. There are so many times he’s hit me with some bullshit that one shots me and there’s no real pattern to his attacks. Fuck that guy. I’m just going to do the cheese method to kill him and go get that rot breath spell.

Minor spoiler, just in case you weren't aware (or anyone else reading this):

Spoiler

You don't have to fight him. I fucked with him for about an hour with frustrating results, then realized he was optional because I'm a dope. So I played the game for another 40 hours, came back later and killed him just for the satisfaction. If you did know that and the cheese method isn't working, I'd still recommend coming back later as mid-game he was almost impossible for me as well. I had a "cap" on how much frustration I'd put up with from optional bosses, and some I never did beat even though I finished the game. My sanity is too important.

 

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Yeah he’s probably just worth coming back to, I think I spammed him with rotten breath too. Godskin noble (or whoever the fat one is) is possibly my least favorite of the reoccurring bosses, his rolling attack is the absolute worst to dodge and usually traps me in a corner. And unfortunately from what I remember Godrick’s rune is pretty much the best one you’ll get all game and I didn’t use anything else.
 

A big revelation in my second playthrough was using map markers too, maybe I’m just dumb but I never used them my first playthrough and missed so much, especially bosses I wanted to come back to.

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