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I've wanted to try a FromSoftware game for years now. For various reasons I just haven't jumped into the Lovecraftian world of Bloodborne or the genre-defining Dark Souls. However, after a very generous friend bought me a copy of Elden Ring, I had no excuse but to embark on a journey for the ages. Here's my story so far playing an "unmissable open-world masterpiece".
A deep voice is telling me about some ancient rings as a cinematic opening plays. Is it normal to have absolutely no idea what's going on in a FromSoft game? He's calling me "Tarnished" now, not going to lie, I'm a little nervous. Several names of generic fantasy characters later, I now know I have to become the 'Elden Lord' - whatever that means.
Anyway, time to make my character. I opt for the Confessor build as it looks like you start with some kind of healing spell, which could be helpful. I think I can be proficient with magic as well as melee as a Confessor, too. Though I'm not entirely sure as the game is just showing me loads of numbers that I don't understand. My guy looks kind of cool though, so I'll roll with it.
I load into a dark cemetery and tentatively move my newly made character around. A big crab-looking monster destroys me before I even know which button is dodge. Great start. Is this what it's going to be like for the next 100 hours? Ah, it looks like you're supposed to die! I'm now being told how to attack and defend myself. Could've done with that 60 seconds ago. I walk round the corner and read a message that another player has left, simply saying "Think carefully, but hole." The messages seem pure chaos, but also pretty funny.
A large ethereal tree looms over the horizon as I emerge from the depths of the tutorial area. Wow, this looks beautiful. It's like something from a fantasy fever dream. I jump forward straight into some fella on a horse called the Tree Sentinel, who proceeds to joust me into another realm. There's a boss straight away?!
I follow some golden light to find a Site of Lost Grace, which acts as a fast-travel checkpoint. A strange lady sits down next to me and calls me 'Maidenless' - bold of her to assume. Oh, she can help me level up with the Runes I've collected so far (by defeating really easy enemies). I'll let her off for her previous comment. What do I level up? What's Vigor? What does Dexterity do? I guess Strength will make me... stronger? I pick one and move on in the direction of the golden light.
I'm trying to take in the scenery and relax in the middle of a lake - but a massive dragon takes me by surprise and decides I'd make a nice afternoon snack. This game has no chill. I know, I'll hop on my magical horse, Torrent, to try and give my dragon friend the old run around.
Mr. Dragon doesn't like me calling him my friend so burns me to a crisp.
Not far from the winged beast, I discover some ruins. A few wolves and rats go down relatively easily and I gingerly tiptoe down some dark steps. Oh a treasure chest, what a nice treat! My surroundings immediately change as I open my reward... where am I? It seems I've been teleported somewhere else on the map with no easy exit. There I was thinking I was about to get my hands on a shiny new sword.
I've decided to follow the main path towards, I assume, the first main boss battle. On the way, an NPC gifts me a jellyfish summon, which is something I thought I'd never write. I have no idea how to use this summon however. In fact, I have no idea how to use the healing spell I started the game with. Maybe I should play around in the menus for a while to figure out all the overwhelming information that Elden Ring has presented me with.
I've made my way up towards a grand castle and rest at a Lost Grace. Melina, the mysterious woman who called me 'Maidenless' earlier takes me to the 'Round Table' - a place of rest for the Tarnished. I'm going to be honest, I've been checking Twitter whenever characters are speaking all kinds of fantasy jargon. I grasp enough to kind of know what's going on and then look through some memes.
Meme time over, I'm exploring the Round Table. There are merchants and characters to speak to, one of which embraces me with an awkwardly long hug - and they say video games are just mindless violence. I shrug my shoulders and jump down into a grand area that looks like a throne room. "Death ahead," reads a message on the floor. More like "Death now" as a knight with a red silhouette one-hits me. Turns out red enemies are other players who invade your world, as if there aren't already enough things that want to kill you.
Margit The Fell Omen, the first main boss in Elden Ring, has beaten me about 12 times in a row now. Even with the help of a wizard called Rogier, I am no match for this mutated monster. I have finally figured out how to use my heal spell though, so I'll take that as a win. I'm level 17, which I reckon is probably way too low for this boss battle. I'll do some more exploring and maybe take on some mini-bosses and come back to Margaret, I mean Margit.
I have no idea where I am but a gigantic bear is chasing me through a forest. There's a fort not far away, maybe I can take refuge there. Limgrave is just the starting area but there are so many parts of it to explore.
I get the better of a knight with a "blood loss" sword, who drops his ability as my reward. Again, I have no idea how to equip or use it. My tactic at the moment is to run around on my horse and swipe my enemies when the moment seems right. It's been working out for me so far, but I'm sure it'll change soon. Elden Ring is unforgiving but when you beat a challenging foe, it really is satisfying.
My adventures have taken me to an underground city. The sky sparkles with thousands of stars, I take a moment to take in the scenery as a message tells me to jump off a cliff. I've wised up to these messages now though. I think. Merely 30 seconds later a blue centaur-looking-thing 360 no-scopes me across the map.
Here's a video on how to get to the hidden underground city:
I venture back into Limgrave with my tail between my legs, on a mission to level up and equip all the abilities I've unlocked so far. I scour every corner of the vast starting area. Finding Golden Runes by gravestones and Smithing Stones in caves. A cheeky chap called Patches tries to knock me out as I innocently open his treasure chest full of belongings. I give him the old left, right, goodnight and go to open the chest again. The sneaky devil has only gone and booby trapped it so I'm teleported back to the 'Murder Bear Forest' (That isn't the actual name). After upgrading my sword, I revisit areas that were previously too hard for me. Our old friend Mr Dragon goes down far too easily this time, and I get the better of a few other mini-bosses. Wow, I'm actually quite powerful for this area now - time to take on Margit again.
I triple check I have all the necessary items and take a few deep breaths before going through the mist. Margit has been twiddling his thumbs for the past few hours and leaps on me like a dog greeting its owner after a day at work. Except with deadly knives and a gargantuan hammer.
I summon a jellyfish and wizard Sir Rogier to distract the Fell Omen as I cast pyro spells and jump attack from behind. Before I realise it's even over, an Achievement pops in the bottom of my screen. I have beaten my first ever Souls boss.
Merely 2 minutes later, I'm curious what Elden Ring has in store for me next, so I creep up to Stormveil Castle. Only for an eagle with swords for feet to completely humble me. I guess I still have a long way to go.
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