I confess to you something. I’ve played all of the From Software games since the first Dark Souls release in 2011, but I only finished one of them – Dark Souls 3. And that’s only because for some absurd reason I decided it was time to review one of the games. The game was great, as was Bloodborne, whom I also spent a lot of time with, but who finally “beat me” and I haven’t been able to come back to it to this day. But although I gave the “three” a very high mark (fully deserved), in “everyday life” I simply do not have the strength, willingness or time to face games, the creators of which made it a point of honor to crawl the player across the floor. And I know that I am not alone in this approach.
If, like me, you belong to the group of people for whom Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Demon’s Souls or Sekiro are too time-consuming / demanding / frustrating (delete as appropriate), Elden Ring may be the first From Software production that you should actually take a closer look at. The reason is … the emergence of an open world. What does a large map and open gameplay structure have to do with the game’s difficulty?
During my several-hour session with the Elden Ring, a certain dependency became apparent fairly quickly. It was present in previous From Software games, but the open world meant that it was additionally exposed. It is about … the possibility of farming. Fighting with less demanding opponents and gaining “souls”, which we can then exchange to improve the parameters of our character, it is theoretically nothing new – at times when we weren’t dealing with Amygdala or the Ornstein-Smough duo, we could always spend a few hours increasing our character’s level and HP. However, it was tedious, and the corridor nature of the location meant that after a few secondary rounds, most people refused to do so. And they just gave up the fight with the problem boss.
The Elden Ring There will be plenty of difficult bosses. In fact, during the tests, I faced only two (there were of course more), and they gave me a hard time anyway. I dealt with the first one after an hour, and with the second one, I hung my head with resignation after three tries and decided to use the limited time to explore the world. In the final version, when I don’t have the clock counting down to shutdown the servers over my head, I will be able to move freely between “places of grace” acting as teleports, scattered densely around the world. In this way, tick off the most “profitable” groups of opponents in selected places, collecting the necessary points and bringing our character to a level much higher than the challenge represented by the problematic boss. In other words – they use a somewhat colloquial term, but still well illustrating the situation – thanks to such a gameplay design, we can “fall down” so that he can take a dozen hits, before we see the inscription “you are dead”.
The world in Elden Ring is constructed in such a way that, apart from the places patrolled / occupied by bosses, in almost every corner there is a more or less dangerous “ordinary” opponent. When we combine this with the ability to travel on horseback, it turns out that even if one of them is too difficult for us – we can quickly evacuate from one place to another without dying and losing precious souls. The key element in all this, however, is that the world of Elden Ring is really intriguing – all the locations that I was able to visit look great, they are very diverse, and for the supporters of the so-called environmental narrative, hide a whole range of flavors and stories. Such jumping and farming of weaker opponents before the boss fight is simply much more fun and interesting than anything we’ve seen in From Software games so far.
All this means that even if we have stayed away from Dark Souls and other similar productions so far due to the high level of difficulty and frustrating dying – we can really have fun in the Elden Ring. Of course, we will continue to die, the game will still mix us with mud many times, chew and spit us out, but the negative emotions that accompany it – can be significantly limited. Instead of throwing yourself into duels in the heavy class, we can easily spend hours exploring and fighting with less demanding opponents, until we feel comfortable enough to face the boss. This is an interesting procedure that seems to be a compromise on the part of From Software – instead of making the game easier as such, they just give players the tools to simplify their duels on their own. Sounds promising to me.