Games Inbox: Is Elden Ring too easy?

The Thursday Inbox makes a list of the best video game horses, as one reader worries the Sony formula is starting to get tired.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

Don’t ask for help
It’s been great to see how successful Elden Ring has been in terms of sales and all sorts of people loving it. I haven’t really seen anyone criticise it so far, just a few people saying it’s not for them – which is totally understandable.

There were quite a few people claiming it was going to be too hard before it was released and demanding an easy mode, etc. but they seem to have been quietened down by how big of a hit the game has been. That and the fact that it really isn’t that hard.

People have said it a hundred times already but level up and use cooperators and the game virtually plays itself. Seriously, get three good players on your side (which is easy now the game’s been out a while) and you can literally sit back and watch while they pummel a boss for you, while all four of you barely break a sweat. If that’s not an easy mode I don’t know what is.

It’s tempting to call in help but I would really encourage people not to use it, as beating the bosses on your own is the ultimate reward in Elden Ring. If not, I honestly think the game’s too easy.

Free day
Happy Mario Day Everyone! As March 10 is MAR10 Day! On another note, there are a few free things to get at the moment, there is a free playable demo of the new Kirby game on the Switch eShop and also a new
longer playable demo of Metroid Dread.

Aperture Desk Job is free on Steam, it lasts about 30 minutes, and also from 4pm on Thursday on Epic Games Store you can get Cities: Skylines, that one has been given away free by Epic before as I already have it in my library, but people who missed it before can get it today.
Andrew J.
Currently playing: It Takes Two (Xbox One X), Borderlands 2 co-op (Xbox One X), and Mafia 3 DLC (Xbox One X)

How low can you go?
RE: your review of Babylon’s Fall, that is the lowest score I think I have seen you give in a few years. Made me wonder what is the lowest scoring game you have reviewed recently, and also, woof, how do you produce a game that bad?

On a completely different tract, but do you think Final Fantasy 13 will ever be released on PlayStation 4? I have high hopes with Project Spartacus and would love to play it again having not finished it on PlayStation 3 (ideally like to see a remaster given what a great job they did with Final Fantasy 12) when I was younger.
Michael, Crawley

GC: The last time we gave out a 1/10 was indie Smash Bros. wannabe Bounty Battle in 2020. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Final Fantasy 13 again, it turned up on Game Pass recently so Square Enix clearly hasn’t forgotten it.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The water’s lovely
I just wanted to write in to join the Elden Ring love fest. I haven’t played a Soulsborne game since Dark Souls 3 launched and I worried beforehand that I’d lost the patience. The first couple of hours with Elden Ring were slow going but happily the rhythm of the games kicked in again and I’m now thoroughly enjoying my journey through the game.

I read your piece about a fast completion of Elden Ring and, while I think it’s great that everyone can enjoy the game in the their own way, it doesn’t mean anything to my enjoyment of the game. I fully expect to spend several hundred hours playing and I get most pleasure from collecting everything, armour sets, talismans, spells, etc. I am not a very good gamer so I am happy to level grind if necessary and to use summons whenever possible.

The detail in the world, the complexity From have crafted, leaves me staggered at times. The landscapes can be beautiful or threatening according to the changing light and weather. It is for me the most impressive game world ever created in such detail. I enjoyed Zelda: Breath Of The Wild very much and it had a softer more welcoming quality in general but Elden Ring is a work of art.

The only quality I would say is needed to get on in the game is patience. If you have another game to play next week it may not be a good choice unless you possess mad twitch skills. Give it time though, check wikis if you are stuck, don’t keep banging your head against the same axe, step away, level up, summon assistance, and gradually, step by step you will improve and progress.

Never again
Has anyone else had problems with Gran Turismo 7 being stuck on the world map on PlayStation 5? I can only view and buy the used cars but nothing else works.

Almost a week in and still can’t play the game other than five music races.

I’ve tried messaging PlayStation on Twitter but no response yet, also seen a few other people on Twitter highlighted the same issue.

After Cyberpunk 2077 and now this I’m never buying a game on day of release again, absolute shambles.

Horse platformer
Well, Elden Ring most certainly hasn’t tarnished FromSoftware /Hidetaki Miyazaki’s reputation. 36 hours in now and I think the spectral steed may have overtaken Agro (Shadow Of The Colossus), Diamond Horse (Metal Gear Solid 5), Epona (Ocarina Of Time/Twilight Princess), and the horses in Breath Of The Wild as my favorite horse in gaming.

As well as the briskest sense of speed and feeling very fluid and responsive to ride, it’s the fun and effective jumping that give Elden Ring’s equestrian mechanics the edge for me. Double jumping to negotiate some tricky terrain and evade attacks works a treat.

Whereas the on-foot platforming can occasionally be slightly inelegant the horse platforming is graceful and reliable in my opinion. I particularly like the rush of being launched up high via those magical updrafts.

Love the mount’s endearing, distinctive look too, and how upon invoking its assistance it materialises right below you so you’re instantaneously in riding position. Really cool aesthetic and animation that. Here’s to many more hours gallivanting with my trusty steed, aka my mane man, aka my ride or die!
Galvanized Gamer

Early access
I’m currently playing through Zelda: Breath Of The Wild for the first time and I’ve just completed the desert Divine Beast, having taken a while for the terminal puzzle to click.

It got me thinking: when GC review a game – particularly a massive release like Breath Of The Wild where there’s an expectation to have the review ready as soon as possible – is there added pressure on your playthrough if you get stuck on something for a while? I’m assuming this must have happened at points during playthroughs of FromSoft games.

GC: It’s certainly a consideration but with any game like that we usually get it several weeks before release. The only recent exception has been Elden Ring, which was only one week – but we were sent a fairly comprehensive strategy guide for the first half of the game.

Back to formula
A lot of gamers are laying into Horizon Forbidden West, but the irony for me is that was the tipping point for me to purchase a PlayStation 5 (from some scalper on eBay, of course). A bit about my thoughts on the console first. I got the less bulky model but still despise the design. Ugly, huge, and that cheap plastic centre piece looks ripe for scratches from just regular dusting. It is without a doubt the worst looking console I’ve ever owned. I do love the controller (mostly) though the short battery life is a drawback. The interface looks nice with no jarring changes from PlayStation 4. At least the console is seen but not heard.

So onto Horizon. Initial impressions were good. The graphics looked incredible until I switched to my preferred 60fps, which is a significant downgrade. I was shocked at the difference between the two modes and ended up sticking with the quality mode at 30fps because a lot of the appeal is how the game looks. I could convince myself the gameplay didn’t require faster frames, but what I couldn’t was the beautiful game world was interesting to explore. The story wasn’t grabbing me either, along with the gameplay which is overly familiar. I will stop my critique there because I don’t just feel Horizon is at fault…

I stepped away from Horizon to play Uncharted 4 (after paying a tenner). I could never finish The Last Of Us Part 2 because the story was so infuriating, but I gave that a go again also. I couldn’t bring myself to re-download Days Gone, but the penny had already dropped. It wasn’t necessarily the fault of Horizon, it was the Sony formula I was tiring of. Style over substance.

Therefore, I noted all the praise for Elden Ring and bought it for Xbox Series X. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing in the game and I’ve been killed a lot. I’ve explored, taken on enemies I shouldn’t and ran away a lot. I’m playing a game that’s my own story adventure and it’s refreshing. So I can now see why the comparisons are being made. Simply put, one is trying to be a cinematic experience, the other a video game in its purest form.

The games industry goes through cycles of what is popular or not, inspiring many clones. Sony has been cloning their own work for years now and I’m pretty sure they’re aware of it. The acquisition of Bungie being a good indicator they want to freshen up their portfolio. I don’t think the Sony formula is going away, but when the story isn’t captivating and its lead rather dour, it can expose its flaws.

I will finish on this: the beginning of Elden Ring, the story is told via static images and a voiceover. Proper cheap looking compared to the high production cinematics of Horizon, you’d think it was a different generation. Bizarrely I found myself much more invested into Elden Ring’s story almost immediately. The bottom line, games need to be games foremost, anything else is a bonus.

Inbox also-rans
Will you be reviewing Shadow Warrior 3?

GC: Probably not, no.

RE: Elden Ring inventory. Seems like a lot of people don’t know that you can click L3 on any item to sort by new, your new item will be at the bottom. I’m not sure why it isn’t included in the help text.

This week’s Hot Topic
The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Scooter, who asks what is your favourite video game universe?

Many video game franchises have been going for decades now and have crafted their own unique worlds and backstories but which do you most enjoy coming back to? It doesn’t have to be a game with any sequels, but which fictional world, or worlds, do you have the most fun in?

How much does the backstory and lore matter to you and what else would you like to see done in the same universe, in terms of new games and spin-offs?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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