Elden Ring Misadventures Day 1

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Elden Ring Misadventures Day 1

Join ESTNN's Lahftel on a day of misadventure in FromSoftware's latest release.


Elden Ring is finally here. Even with a bunch of technical issues I've managed to put around 10 hours in. Join me on this little, mostly spoiler free diary.

Prelude

These days, whenever you want to talk about Soulsborne or Souls-like or whatever we call this subgenre of games now. It feels like you need to throw down your gamer credentials. Since this is gonna be some kinda blog format, topped off with a review you need to understand where I'm coming from. I've been with this series since Demon's Souls, since then I've played through all the entries and fell somewhat off the FromSoftware bandwagon. (Please make another Armored Core, please and thank you. I love you Miyazaki.)

While Bloodborne is, in my humble opinion, the genre at its best and most polished. My favorite remains Demon's Souls. And that's not because it was my first one, or to have some nuanced take. It remains to this day the most unique one. Every area you visit feels distinct, every boss is unique and there is a certain sense of presence within the world. And while the switch to Dark Souls polished all of Demon's Souls systems up with each installment. It seemed to be a series trying to remaster itself over and over again, retreading old grounds while also never straying too far from the formula.

Now we have an open-world Dark Souls.. borne thing. And while it is more of the same from the get go, there are already certain touches I really appreciate. So please join me over the following days, as I meditate on FromSoftware's newest venture.

A woman appears in the swamp in a hooded black cloak, in FromSoftware's Elden RingThis nice woman offered to be my maiden. Not sure what that means, but some other guy
laughed at me for being maidenless.
Couldn't let that one slide.

“Elden Ring oh Elde- Oh I'm dead again.”

So, starting up the game already proved to be a challenge. Not sure if it was on me or not, but Elden Ring refused to work with my PS4 controller. I'm on the Steam version by the by. Only after I got rid of another peripheral I was able to use my dear controller. I made my character and venture into the Land Beyond as a warrior. Duel-wielding from Dark Souls 2 is back! And paired with the jumping move's and weapon arts its more fun than ever.

After I get (as it is tradition by this point) my head smashed in by the first encounter the game finally wants to teach me how its done. Then, surprisingly, it lets you go do your thing. There is clearly some inspiration from Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Especially after dodging some guy on a horse that had a particularly bad day, with all those fresh Tarnished trying to bother him and all.

A player character in Elden Ring stands at the edge of a cliffside overlooking the game's sweeping landscapeGame's a visual feast, I'll give them that.

Game tells me to go right, I go left. And after some unfriendly encounters with the wildlife, I find myself in a cave beset by little stone gremlins. After I got rid of them, I demanded to see their manager and I was introduced to Elden Rings; ‘No fun allowed' Boss design. That thing took me to school. Only thanks to the joys of jolly cooperation and some adjustments in my ‘just hit it till its dead' tactic, I was rewarded with some swag. And I found another optional dungeon right after that! Which I cleared alone so I could feed my ego a little bit. Both of these rewarded me with unique abilities I could not use yet. But after further hi-jinx, I believe to know what optional content in Elden Ring is like.

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So, the game will ask of you to assemble the Elden Ring, (its pieces are held by a bunch of lords who don't want to play nice with each other.) And whenever you run into a boss sized brick wall, or can't make any progress in their holdouts… you can just go off into the wild to improve yourself. Something interesting in the distance? There might be something there that will give you an upgrade, or offer you a whole new playstyle. So far, and I haven't even laid low the first lord yet. Everything seems worth doing.

So, I tried to enter Stormveil castle, and got my butt handed to me by its warden. I decided after the fifth time I'll take my business somewhere else. So I went south, past a bridge with some unfriendly guards. Met a lady looking for her father and was promptly asked to just go to that big old castle in the distance.

Again I went the other way instead. And even in an Open-World, FromSoftware's encounter design shines. I went up to some broken down hut in the woods and expected nothing evil, I should've. After clearing out a rat problem I went further into the woods, found horror's I'd rather not recount, and went on my way to find that woman's father.

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The castle that followed, and apparently it's side content, was about the size of Undead Burg from Dark Souls.

Again with the help of a few strangers, I managed to find both the father and a boss. (Who also wasn't too pleased to see me.) During my exploration's through the castle, the statement people tend to echo about Dark Souls level design came to mind; how you open some door, turn a corner and you realize you were just down there a few minutes ago.

Now apply that to an entire castle, which you can scale every which way. And now, instead of being a bunch of connected tunnels, its an actual castle.

You jump over battlements, climb rooftops or drop down to the beach. That castle is a place and there are no bottomless pits or invisible walls to keep you in place. If you think you can make a jump, or something should be behind that tight corner. It is usually the case. And that seems to be the case all around.

After I was done with the castle, I went towards a tower in the distance. On the way there, nothing of note happened. (Don't ask. Please.) After I solved some riddle to open a magical door, I got a neat new spell, reminding me that I still can't cast any magic. (Pin on that for tomorrow.)

I try my luck again with dear Margit and he still hands me my butt on a plate. So back to exploring the area around the castle. At that point, I notice that the game is plastered with those Sites of Grace. Elden Ring's checkpoints, Bonfires, you know the drill. Makes me wonder how much stuff is around them, so… I gotta go back to them eventually.

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A writhing mass of wood and tentacles, one of the unique beasts in Elden RingWe don't talk about this thing. Never ever.

I had more run-ins with the local wildlife, I plundered a few open graves and suddenly found piles of rocks exploding all around me. Then a bunch of jellyfish and very unfriendly skeletons totally, did not make me regret chasing after sparkly things. (Sometimes you just need to know when to stop… and then come back later fully armed.) So I turned around and saw a big golden tree in the distance, not the very big golden one, just a big golden tree. So I set out.. got chased by bears and ended up in an elevator. Now, I won't tell you what's down there. Only that its inhabitants are very unfriendly and the place looks very cool. And unfriendly ghosts made me consider coming back another time.

So, back to Stormveil castle, now a little bit stronger but not smarter by any means. I recall my days in Dark Souls 2 PvP. Magic is pretty useful, so, I summon a couple of volunteers with staffs. Lo and behold, Margit finally got his eviction notice. And I got to proceed to the castle proper.

Now let me tell you, actually getting into the castle rekindled memories of Boletaria Palace from Demon's Souls. But the castle proper… phew. Imagine that castle I mentioned earlier. But way bigger, with about four or five layers stacked on top of each other. Full with all kinds of fiends, and honestly Elden Ring seemed to be out for my PC's blood at this point. Sometimes it ran well, sometimes the game straight up crashed.

The player character and one of the game's maidens embrace With the horror's I've seen today. I deserve this.

Before I had a couple of stutters here and there, but whenever I head into the castle it becomes a game of chance.

Still, I soldiered through, after exploring the castle. Which surprisingly let me get away with using all kinds of items to get to places I wasn't supposed to be at yet. Elden Ring seems fine with letting me have that kinda fun. To sneak past enemies or book it into a corridor where I can get rid of them one by one. And then I went down some hole and… again we don't talk about that hole for now.

So after my encounter with the next big boss thing, I decided it might be time for a substantial upgrade. I'm talking new weapons, magic and armor. Currently I'm rocking two great swords and armor just light enough to let me roll proper. Once more I set out into the wild and pick a completely random direction to find riches and something that won't make me look so pathetic. I head to the lake near the starting zone to take a look around. After an unfriendly encounter with a local crab I find a basement. Open a chest and-

A player character in Elden Ring pauses to read a message from a visitor I want to go home. I want to go home and never come back.

Well, I ended up in a place that made me go ‘Alright, enough of Mr. Miyazaki's wild ride for now'. I shall document tomorrows exploits after a hopefully nightmare free nap. We'll have more on Elden Ring, like guides and news here on ESTNN.