Elden Ring achieves approachability without sacrificing the challenge
The phenomenon known as Elden Ring FOMO is something that anyone who has been following Twitter over the past week will likely have experienced. The internet was abuzz with glowing reviews for Elden Ring after the review embargo was lifted. Elden Ring was a revelation for legendary developers FromSoftware. It felt like they had reached their final form.
Elden Ring was suddenly a cultural icon and a must-see event in gaming. The series’ fans were waiting to get their pre-order copies or to go live digitally. But suddenly, a new generation of gamers was about to enter a world and experience a genre they had never seen before or reacted to unusually.
I fall into the second category quite comfortably. I have played Dark Souls 1 and 2 and Sekiro. If you asked me which FromSoftware game I love, I would answer Metal Wolf Chaos. Although I haven’t completely abandoned the Soulslike genre, I’ve reviewed Code Vein and Darksiders (before it was updated to be fewer Souls). I also loved Absolve.
Even though I have a history of avoiding FromSoftware’s most iconic games, it didn’t stop me from getting “Elden Ring-FOMO.” All you need is a few 10/10 reviews, a Metacritic rating in the top ten of all time, and I’ll pay PS50 for your game. Either this Souls game is my bounceback, and all is well, or I find the one that clicks. You can probably guess from the headline that it clicked harder than any other game in a long while.
It doesn’t feel as punishing. That is the main reason I can remember. Elden Ring feels more approachable than other FromSoftware games. Elden Ring is a game that encourages players to face the challenge head-on. This allows them to get invested in the game early, so they don’t become discouraged by its difficulty later.
It is imposing in the opening section. You’ll find a Grafted Scion when you wake up in a new location. This is an extremely hard-working enemy that will likely ruin your week. Although skilled players can defeat this enemy, there is no loot. However, it’s a tough opponent who will likely trample you until the middle of next week. After you have re-awaken, you will be in a new area right next to a small, easy dungeon that is designed to give players an immediate win. This is a great way to boost your confidence after the Scion.
All that confidence and brilliance could be lost when players reach the open world. They will travel twenty steps north to meet the Tree Sentinel. This knight-riding horse will stomp on your face immediately. Although these moments can easily make Elden Ring players turn away, they are actually there to teach them two important lessons: It’s okay for you to fail, and it is okay to run.
Tutorial dungeons were used in Soulslike games before. These are easy starting areas that prepare you for the horrors ahead. These dungeons are not for the faint of heart, but they can be done. The problem is, you must do them. Elden Ring does not suffer from this problem. It’s part of the experience to take an L, which is a liberating feeling.
FromSoftware tells you to leave Scion immediately if you lose to them or the enemies become too strong. The game offers many options to regroup, rebuild, and retreat, so you don’t need to keep hitting the same walls. This is a game that you want to explore and get lost in. The Limgrave starting area offers easier dungeons like Groveside Cave.