It compels me. Not the pursuit of the Elden shards, but the game itself…
It is time for Elden Ring. I’m only three months late, but this game taken the world by storm and there’s no shortage of coverage this long after launch. It’s an incredibly expansive and compelling adventure of your own making. Want to wander round exploring the world on your spectral steed avoiding conflict entirely? You can pretty much do that, although that’s not the main point. Want to set out immediately and fight a massive knight on a horse who’ll easily pulverise you in a second? That’s fine too.
Given how absolutely massive this game is I’m not intending to cover everything in one post. This is more of an overview to give you a flavour and potentially inspire you if you haven’t already picked it up.
For the uninitiated, Elden Ring is an open world Souls-like action role playing game with it’s roots in the Souls series from the same developer, FromSoftware. It’s somewhat ironic that a Japanese company founded to develop business productivity software has now produced one of the greatest time vampires ever. But I digress.
Souls games have a reputation of being extremely challenging and punishing, particularly if approached with the traditional button bashing strategies which work in other games. Battles can be over with a single hit. Fear not, however, as death is not the end. Death is part of the learning curve. Runes are currency used to level up and buy items, and collected by felling enemies and finding them around the world. Upon death, your runes are deposited at that site and you are revived at the nearest Site of Grace to you (or statue of Marika if you’re closer to one). The Site of Grace serves as a checkpoint, and somewhere you can refill your health and perform a series of actions including levelling up.
So you come up against a tough enemy. What about taking the usual approach and whittling down their health, running away to heal at a Site of Grace, then getting back into the battle to finish them off? There’s a catch. Once you rest at a Site of Grace, everything is reset and the enemies you’ve already killed are revived (aside from major bosses). It took me some getting used to the first time I encountered that mechanic in Nioh. It’s part of the Souls-like deal and can be used to farm enemies when you’re starting out, so it’s not all bad.
Other than the opening exposition, the story is discovered rather than told. Elden Ring’s setting is the Lands Between following the destruction of the titular Ring. The shards of the Ring were scattered, then known as the Great Runes, and are possessed by the offspring of Queen Marika the Eternal. Much like the One Ring in Lord of the Rings, the Great Runes have corrupted the holders and turned them into a nasty lot of so and sos. You play as one of the Tarnished (previously banished after losing the grace of the Erdtree and subsequently summoned back) trying to collect all the shards and restore the world to what it once was. Can you tell George RR Martin was involved? It does have a certain level of convolution seen in some of his other intellectual property.
I have only begun to scratch the surface of this game, and although as the title suggests I have died numerous times in interesting ways, I am not disheartened. The beauty of Elden Ring is in the open world design. Can’t beat a baddie? Why not run away and find someone easier to kill, level up, and come back when you have some better kit. All of a sudden an unattainable goal becomes doable. Certain enemies act as barriers or skill-checks along the way. Have you learned enough to beat this beast? Then you’ll be able to hold your own in the next area.
Margit is the first major boss and one I’m currently working towards. I accidentally stumbled across him in the first hour or two on and he instantly wiped the floor with me. My samurai is much stronger than at the outset of the game so I reckon I could get a couple of hits in before being demolished, but you never know.
Breath of the Wild
Was buying a second incredibly immersive game within two days of Elden Ring a good idea? Probably not, but part of our post-exam pact was to get back into gaming. I can safely say that has not been an issue. Breath of the Wild was the second acquisition of the week. We have been splitting time, with Sarah playing Breath of the Wild, and me dying repeatedly in Elden Ring. Other than to say it seems like a great game, I don’t want to say much this time as it deserves it’s own space, and will follow in a later post. It’s a very worthy addition to the golden franchise.
I am terrible at backups. I used to be an excellent organiser during my Masters, but it has been a long time since I’ve carefully filed all my documents, videos and photos. Chaos has subsequently ensued, and I’m not a big lover of cloud backup solutions as I find accessing the files can be quite clunky, and I don’t like the idea of being beholden to changing terms of service. One example is Google’s push to store images with higher compression in exchange for free storage, only to remove that later, leaving you with worse quality photos still eating into your space allowance. I’ve picked the Synology DS220+ and will write more about it once it’s up and going. I have great plans. Terrible, yes, but great.
That’s it for now. Better get back on the road to becoming the Elden Lord.
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