The story in Elden Ring is awful and ruins the game – Reader’s Feature

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree – what’s going on? (Bandai Namco)

A reader is frustrated by FromSoftware’s approach to storytelling and explains why he’s not playing new release Shadow Of The Erdtree.

Shadow Of The Erdtree is out this week and I’m really not sure I’m going to get it. It’s had amazing reviews and I definitely enjoyed parts of Elden Ring, but I also found other parts extremely irritating, namely the storytelling. I have no idea what was going on in the game and speaking to others it’s clear I’m not the only one. It’s so bad it’s put me off playing any of From’s other games and the DLC.

For those that don’t know, there is very little in the way of cut scenes or plot in Elden Ring. There’s an intro, that’s basically a fantasy world word salad, and some dialogue with characters but none of it is given any context and you’re left to work out what’s going on by reading item descriptions, of all things.

These still don’t make it clear though and after reading about how involved the fan community is I started reading wikis and watching YouTube videos. As interesting as it all was there’s still no real consensus as to what’s going on, with everything described as ‘possibly meaning this’ or ‘maybe meaning that.’

The thing that gets me is that it’s not even really clear what the Elden Ring is. Not only that but it’s not even presented as a secret or some amazing reveal, it’s just this ambiguous magic object that can do… things.

Why you want to be the Elden Lord is never explained, who you are is never explained, it’s not even made clear what a tarnished is. I find this frustrating but what’s worse is that it’s all information the character you’re playing as would know. It isn’t a mystery to them, only to you the player. Other things in the game are a mystery, sure, but not the basics of what’s going on and what your mission is.

Things get even worse if you’re trying to do some of the side quests, where you might as well make up your own story for all the difference it’ll make. Again, I read the supposed explanations and I’m both none the wiser and I have no idea how they make some of their deductions.

It doesn’t affect the gameplay, sure, and I’m not someone that demands complex stories in all my games. If it’s a straight action game, I don’t want to be stopping all the time for 10 minute long cut scenes. But that’s not what Elden Ring is like. There is some really complex lore there, but the game won’t explain any of it and it’s all so mixed up I’m not convinced it makes sense even to the developers.

I did beat Elden Ring but, just as I imagined, the ending explained nothing and whatever pride I felt at defeating the final boss was quickly diminished by not knowing what the heck I had just done and why.

From what I can see the DLC is about a character that is barely in the first game and is maybe a prequel? And it seems like it’s going to retcon things by adding in even more characters? I’m not really sure and to be honest I’m not sure I really care.

I don’t want to spend another 60 hours beating a game only to understand less about what’s going on than I started. No one wants to be spoon-fed information like a dummy but take it too far in the other direction and, in my opinion, it just all becomes meaningless nonsense.

By reader Gadfly

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree – even the story is difficult (Bandai Namco)

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