Underneath my yellow skin

More about that Elden Ring

It’s been nearly three months since Elden Ring was released to much fanfare. It’s sold 13.4 million copies since launch. It sold 12 million within the first two weeks. It sits at 90,000-100,000 concurrent players, which is amazing for a single-player game. It’s a bona fide hit and I could not be more thrilled about it.

I’ve been a From fan for nearly a decade. I came to the first Dark Souls late and didn’t grow to appreciate it until the second time I played it. And it wasn’t until I played Dark Souls III that I fell completely in love with the games.

Dark Souls III was my favorite game of all time. I have played it dozens of times, have the plat, and it was the first game I played after I recovered from my medical trauma. I know every nook and cranny of that game and love it with all my heart. I can talk about it endlessly and I could not imagine any game replacing it in my heart.

Then Elden Ring dropped. I had to scramble to prepare for it because the PC specs were beefy. They dropped the PC specs late in the¬† day, which miffed me. It was ten days or so before the game was released, which is not a hell of a lot of time. To make matters worse, the specs jumped up quite substantially from Sekiro to Elden Ring. I had thought I’d be able to play on low with my current laptop, but when I saw the requirements, I knew I had to get a new computer. Remember, it was nearly impossible to get graphic cards at the time for anything less than full-computer price. Since that was the case, I might as well get a whole new compy. My brother helped me set it up and it was ready to go (with the SSD, mega-RAM, 1 terabyte of memory, and two screens).

The PC version of the game was fraught with problems from the very start. Graphic pop-ins, juttering and stuttering, and hard crashes/freezes. I was lucky that I had a bit of stuttering and one hard crash. I don’t notice pop-ins so that didn’t bother me and I’m not into effects in general. To me, it looked crisp and clean and gorgeous. The stuttering was by far the worst, but it didn’t really get into my way. Still, I felt bad for my PC kin who had base rigs because there was no way the game would have run on them.

The game had a terrible PC rating in the first few days because of the problems. I didn’t blame people for being upset because FromSoft has a history of terrible PC ports. In fact, the original Dark Souls could only be played on the PC with the DSfix mod attached to it. My theory is because Japanese devs only care about PlayStation as that’s what most people in Japan prefer to Xbox (well, Nintendo is even higher, but they don’t figure into the equation here) whereas PC is not even a thought in most Japanese devs’ minds. That may be changing now, but the PC is not held in high regard over there. Or at least it wasn’t. I hear it’s on the rise now. At any rate, the PC port often feels like an afterthought.

Geoff Keighley’s Game Fest is coming up soon. The last one is when Elden Ring was officially announced. or rather, the announcement trailer was officially dropped–and a release date. Geoff held it off until the very end and I remember getting more and more morose as the show went on. I was watching Oxbox’s reaction to it and they were joking about it as well. But the jokes took on a tinge of nervousness as the show went on and there was no mention of Elden Ring. It was only when Geoff said ‘one last thing’ that the trailer for Elden Ring started.

Ian speculated that maybe there would be Elden Ring DLC at this GeoffCon (as other Ian from Eurogamer calls it), which would make me lose my mind again. I was looking at a list of caves, catacombs, and dungeons in every area of the game. I thought I had been so thorough and yet, there is at least one cave I missed. This is in the first five or six areas of the game and I’m sure there are more in the latter areas. I zipped through¬†*SPOILERS* the Mountaintop of Giants, Crumbling Farum Azula, and the late-game optional areas as I did not want to beat my head against a wall over and over again.

Funnily, I went back to a dragon in the Altus Plateau that I had skipped before. I obliterated the dragon in one go and without really breaking a sweat. This is a dragon that gave me much trouble before so it showed how much progress I had made. There was a catacomb, though, in the Mountaintop of Giants that I hadn’t done before. It made me so angry because the puzzle aspect of it felt very unfair. It’s one of the catacombs that had a platform in the middle of the room that when raised, blew out gusts in certain directions. The gusts could be flame or frostbite and they killed me in one go. Again, it’s because of my low Vigor. I know this, but it was still frustrating. If you hit the platform, it’d rise up and move the gusts away. Or in the case of the one I found the other day, it shot the gusts in different directions. Which, fine. Whatever. Irritating, but I could deal with that. In this catacomb, however, there were two Erdtree Burial Watchdogs just roaming around like regular enemies. Plus, three Cleanrot Knights that are just annoying as fuck. In addition, after hitting the gusty platform and making your way upwards so you can jump onto the platform, you have to hit it in order to make it go up with you on it. I kept falling off it as I hit it, which you can guess frustrated the fuck out of me. The best way to deal with it was to hit it with a Lightning Spear, then quickly jumping on it as it started moving up. But goddamn it was so annoying to die to this bit a dozen times.

I don’t mind dying when it’s my fault; I loathe it when it’s out of my control. I’m sure there are things I haven’t found in the latter areas because I ran through them. There were just too many enemies clustered in a small area, and I wasn’t having any of that. There comes a point when carefully clearing a room of enemies only to get one-shot by an enemy or rushed by a mob and immediately killed that really deflates me when I’m playing. I like to think I have a fighting chance or what’s the point? That’s perhaps my biggest gripe with the game, when it feels unfair.




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