Elden Ring is the latest game to come out of FromSoftware, the studio whose games established the Soulslike genre. More than just gritty RPGs, Soulslikes are games that revel in challenging gameplay. For the uninitiated, they’re so difficult as to almost seem impossible. But is that true for the studio’s latest release? Should newbies start cowering in fear?
How Hard is Elden Ring?
Elden Ring is a very challenging game, but it isn’t necessarily difficult. Compared to Bloodborne or Dark Souls, Elden Ring isn’t very hard at all. Quite the contrary; the game’s open-world approach makes it far less demanding than other Soulslike games.
Make no mistake, though: This game isn’t easy. You’ll need to brave harsh environmental conditions, frequent traps, constant ambushes, and more. Enemies, even small ones, become lethal in groups. In many cases, your path will be blocked by monsters ten times your size. And, every now and then, your game will be invaded by either a player or NPC looking to kill you.
Put simply, if you’ve never played a Soulslike before, you will probably find the experience punishing. But with that said, Elden Ring is actually much more beginner-friendly than its ilk.
As for why, that’s simple: It’s an open-world game. If you see a monster you can’t defeat, you can simply summon your horse and gallop away. Alternatively, you can just run right past it. If you need the treasure it’s guarding, you can sneak up and steal it before running away. There’s no shame in acting cowardly; in fact, those kinds of efforts pay long-term dividends.
Death isn’t particularly harsh, either. While you will lose your standard Runes when killed, you’ll keep all your items. Among those items you keep are Golden Runes, which still allow you to purchase gear or level up when needed. The whole system was designed to be much, much more user-friendly than Soulslike fans may expect.
Don’t let the genre’s reputation scare you away. Elden Ring isn’t an especially hard game, not when compared to other Souslikes. Steep challenges lie ahead, but if you keep your wits about you, you shouldn’t find it to be overly difficult.
Already exploring FromSoftware’s latest release? Speed along your discovery with our sprawling guide to all map fragment locations. We’ve also got the inside scoop on those random glowing skulls littering the landscape.
Kevin Tucker is the managing editor of Guide Fall and From Gamers Magazine. When he's not busy exploring or explaining the latest video games, he spends his time riding his motorcycle, reading science fiction, and playing electric bass.