Malenia, Malekith and me

Finalment! I have beaten the Elden Ring, which took me months too long and many, many tries against Malenia, the Fire Giant and some other boss I can’t remember any more.

It goes without saying that the game is a masterpiece. The attention to detail, the unbelievable scope, the number of bosses, the incredible amount of build options and weapon combos, the multiplayer (both partying up and PVP) and especially the rather interesting purgatorial storyline. It is a really good time to be alive and able to wield a mouse and keyboard or controller, I will say that much. Is it my favorite From Software game? No. I think even after all the fun Elden Ring is, Bloodborne is still my number 1, but I need to go back to it and play again and see if it stands up to ER.. and then finish Sekiro or Armored Core… did I mention it was a good time to be able to play video games? Will I play through ER again? Certainly, with stupid builds that can only make it with tons of help from other people.

One of the issues for me is that the game is… too long. I feel like the battle with Morgott should have been the natural end of the game, and the first DLC should have been up to the Fire Giant, Malekith, Malenia and the Elden Beast. These are generally good bosses, but for the base game? I had my fill of ER when I beat Morgott in May of 2022 for awhile and set it down except multiplayer with a second or third toon to jagg around with. It took me a long time to get back to the game and when I did, I think it wasn’t with the same fervor as the first 2/3rds.

That said, the final battle with Malenia, the probably 100+ tries against her were really epic, attempting different tactical paths, failing, trying new ones, failing, going back and beating up bosses I missed to get certain items, then going back and failing and finally running into the fight with no spells and just the GUTS Sword (and a mimic tear…) and getting a bit lucky with dodging the Waterfowl during her second form and then blammo– the hardest From boss in the can!

Unlike Bethesda games, From doesn’t necessarily care if you miss a bunch of stuff, so they hide their big dungeons quite well in ER, and the first instance of this in Stormveil Castle was pretty eye opening for me– the majority of the castle and dungeon beneath was not only totally optional, but fairly difficult to find to boot. This theme continues throughout the game, which is both good and bad. Good because the sense of exploration and discovery is certainly there all the time, especially after stumbling across the giant hole left by Radahn getting his arse kicked. Bad because– you miss stuff. If I didn’t have Nathan around mid-game for multiplayer, I would have missed tons of dungeons, just walked right past them. Later I was a bit more careful and was looking for particular items for my GUTS sword build. I think a bit more GO THIS WAY for some of the dungeons would have helped so I wasn’t looking online for hints all the time.

Favorite Bosses list:

Radahn – worth buying the game for just this

Redwolf Radagon – yeah, easy fight but really fun boss.

Godrick – just a jerk that needed to be put down for good!

Godskin Duo – Made me think of some other skinny and fat guy…

Malenia – can’t deny it, this was a good fight.

Well that’s it on ER for now. This is a lifestyle game for many people and for good reason, it is absolutely excellent. I can’t wait for the DLC and it’s hard to imagine what they could even do that they haven’t done before.

Elden Ring – a golden shower of FROM hits

I’m 17+ hours in and I’ve seen a few things and suffered some bad beatings, had my first character’s save file corrupted and had to start over from scratch. I’m going to comment on a couple reasons why people may not like this game even though reviewers have given it 10/10 almost across the board. Do you like Dark Souls? This is absolutely a 10/10. Fan of Breath of the Wild or Monster Hunter? This is probably 7/10 for you. Lukewarm or couldn’t get through Dark Souls? This may not be your thing, and that’s OK!

First off, this is fundamentally a FROM game, but open world. It takes a lot of things from previous FROM games, mixes them up, improves them and throws you into this gigantic area to try to deal with all of it at once. There are wandering giants, mud men that rip their chests open and shoot their insides out, gigantic fighting trees, parades of low-lifes, mount and blade style mounted warriors, harpies, sirens, and just so much more. The game feels like a best-hit collection from the previous games, yet due to the new context, without being repetitive or redundant.


Mechanically, the game is closest to Dark Souls compared to Bloodborne or Sekiro. I think there is a ton to learn and the nature of the game forces you to deal with aspects of the mechanics that you may not have bothered with in the previous Souls games, such as the magic system, summons, mass healing, AOE attacks, and so on. At the root of this is the incredibly varied nature of the enemies you will face. The Tank and Spank style that I went with in the original Dark Souls works, but there are mobs and bosses that will really cause problems for this style and will force players to add other aspects (like summons) to their repertoire. I went through the entirety of Bloodborne using the Kirkhammer to smash things with no thought to any other mechanics, but there’s no way I will make it through Elden Ring with such basic tactics that I can see. Add to this that many battles will be fought on horse-back and you have a totally new dimension to the game. And speaking of horse stuff….

The Mount and Blade Parts

Mount and Blade is an awesome series with excellent mass combat mechanics and really groundbreaking horseback combat. Elden Ring borrows from this extensively and creates many of the same type of feels with it’s horse-based combat. I am addicted to running around and challenging other dudes on horses to fight. The best part is dragging your weapon along the ground and just mowing through dismounted enemies. This is very similar to the feeling of smashing into a formation of foot soldiers in Mount and Blade and hacking them down with a giant sword or scythe. If you dig Mount and Blade, you will feel instantly comfortable with the horse-based combat of Elden Ring.


There are a lot of classes in the game and they all give you a basis for a playstyle that you may or may not follow through the game. It’s fundamentally if you want to go Strength, Dexterity or some sort of magic. Class doesn’t matter that much and if you are stressed about it, just take the wretch and let what you find in the game define what you become– it almost always works out that way anyway.

That said, I really like the prisoner for the silly helmet and the Samurai who starts with a longbow and katana (this would be a dexterity build). I started with the bandit for a dex/arcane build, but my second character was, of course, a wretch. While lots of builds are effective, not all of them are easy and you could be setting yourself up for HARD MODE if you go down the magic path (at least at first) without ever playing the game. Basically there are a lot of foundations to choose from, but they don’t matter all that much and even out as you gain even 10-15 levels.

a wretch, doing what wretches do which is being naked and afraid.


Weapons will feel very familiar to Souls players, in fact, many are nearly the same but with one critical exception: weapons have special abilities called Ashes of War that allow one of the heavy attack buttons to invoke a special move– some of which are pretty mundane (like Determination that gives you extra damage) and others that are spectacular like Glintsword Arch which turns your weapon into a massive one for a single strike, or super useful such as a special dodge. What’s more, you can change these special powers out, which also can change your ability affinities with each weapon (for example, some Ashes will change a STR affinity from D to B, etc.). These use you characters spell points (FP) to use, so most of them you can’t use all day. Great addition to the game so far that you may miss early in your play.


I have never run a balls out magic user, just added a bit of Faith to my STR builds to heal on the fly. I’ve seen some magic during multiplayer and it is NUTS in this game. This is an area of Elden Ring I can’t wait to explore more, as soon as I get more confidence that I can survive!

a couple of Wretch and Turtle Friend

In addition to the normal spell builds available (pyro, sorcery, faith), all players can use SUMMONS. These are NPC’s that join you in a fight /period of time and range from sorcerers to wolves, undead and many other things I haven’t seen before. This helps a ton with bosses and you can tell that they made bosses more difficult assuming that all players would use summons.


I ran all of Dark Souls 1 and 2 without using multiplayer the first time, and boy I missed out. Multiplayer is one of the best parts of the game despite the fact that it is obtuse to try to get going at first, and currently prone to drops on the PC fairly frequently.

The beauty of multiplayer is the fact that it can ease up the difficulty vs mobs and bosses and allow non-standard and sub-optimal builds as well as allowing more experienced players to carry newer folks through some of the really rough spots so they can progress.

Invasions are a bit odd in Elden Ring– you can only invade players that are already using summons of other players, so you are walking into a 1v 2 situation at least every time as an invader. If your goal is to hunt and kill people, that’s great, but if you want to duel, this is very different from Bloodborne /Dark Souls.

There are invasion arena areas where you can get duels in designated areas, but it’s definitely not the same as the old games– seems like it’s a bit friendlier for new players who don’t have to worry about getting invaded while alone.


Elden Ring is awesome and absolutely deserves the hype it got before release and is getting post release, confusing (by design) and very difficult to try to solo. I have a long, long way to go in the game and will probably do a real review in about a year– likely when Elden Ring wins GOTY for 2022.