Elden Ring is the best game I’ve played so far this year and will almost certainly be the best game I’ll play in all of 2022. But I’m terrified to go back to it.
I started playing FromSoftware’s massive RPG in mid-February, about a week before it launched. It was the last review I took on as a freelancer before joining TheGamer, so I played as much as I could (about 60 hours), submitted my extremely positive review, and just kept on rippling my adventure through the Lands Between.
But then I was hit by a combination of roadblocks. I started working full time and, despite writing about games for work, had less free time to play games. This development overlapped in-game with my decision to take a nap in a coffin and as a result come face to face with Astel, Naturalborn of the Void. Despite being equipped with the Rotten Breath that made short work of Starscourge Radahn and a health bar that stretched halfway up the screen, Astel, a spider-like monstrosity that lived deep beneath the surface of the Lands Between, took me down in just a few hits. . †
So I put the game down and planned to come back to it the next day. Oops, two months have passed.
This happened with bloodborne, at. Despite considering FromSoft’s Lovecraftian horror game to be an all-time favorite, I fell off before finishing it. There’s a thin line between “This boss frustrates me. I should take a break, calm down, and come back later.” and “Wow, it’s been a year since I touched that game. I guess I’ll never finish it.” With Elden Ring I’m on the abyss. I could reload the game, explore a bit, defeat a few low level enemies and gradually get back into the habit of blocking, parrying and rolling around at the speed of sound. Or, you know, I could keep doing what I was doing: not playing the game.
Some games have an irresistible attraction for me. When I pick up a new game from a developer whose work I like, like Naughty Dog or Valve, or a new game in a favorite series like Zelda or Mario, I know I won’t stop playing until I see the credits. But with the games from FromSoftware I have to overcome a certain slowness. On the plus side, I will continue to play a FromSoftware joint unless it is acted upon by an outside force. I dropped Bloodborne because my job required me to spend time with other games. I dropped Elden Ring because I was acclimating to a new job. When this happens, and I spend enough time resting, without striving to maintain my Starscourge slaying skills, it becomes incredibly difficult to get moving again.
That’s where I am now. Elden Ring is one of the best open world games I’ve ever played. It has extraordinary combat, an intricately designed but expansive world and an opaque story that I nevertheless want to see to the end. But I could just play something that isn’t going to kick me.
A few years ago, an article went viral where a journalist talked about using a PC mod to play Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice at half speed. If you’ve ever heard someone say, “You’ve cheated not only the game, but yourself,” then you’re familiar with the kind of response journalists received in response to something gamers have been doing since time immemorial – using cheat codes. That Git Gud mentality is stupid and people who follow it should feel bad. I’d love to install some mods if it meant seeing a great game like Elden Ring through to the end. Unfortunately I play on PS5 where cheating with the game and myself is not an option.
So, what should a man do?
The way I see it, there are two options: a) I can give up the idea that I’ll ever beat Elden Ring, or b) I can put all my heart into returning to the Lands Between and refusing to leave until I’m his crowned Elden Lord. Anyway, there are pros and cons. If I give up, I’ll be avoiding the boss fights I know are waiting for me, which will almost certainly make me controller-throwing mad. On the other hand, I’ll miss more of a game that I find incredible (and look like a poser when I inevitably select it as my game of the year).
But if I commit to finishing Elden Ring, I’ll have to play it regularly to make it to the end. It may not be the only game I play, but it will be the game I have the most time for. But if I commit to finishing it, I will come out on the other side and feel a little better about myself for letting myself do something difficult. Does it matter much in the long run? No. I don’t care about getting good. But I think it’s important not to live in fear. And therefore, I have just decided, I will return to Elden Ring and destroy any enemy that stands in my way. I’ll see you on the other side.
#afraid #Elden #Ring