Elden Ring Impression: I’m the Bored Centaur Who Likes to Explore

I remember one of my favorite pastimes is exploring the Dark Souls universe and I am surprised by this blog; I discontinued my adventure for Dark Souls prepare to die edition. Should I resume my half-finished journey? That was many years ago when I started dabbing my feet into blogging. Met a few gaming bloggers for sure, but most of them have abandoned their blogs and/or have moved on with their lives. I don’t blame them. All things have an expiration date. Even I deleted my old blog when I lost the motivation and the inspiration to write. My naïve self didn’t realize that by nature, gamers are overall just competitive folks, or perhaps as my friend said, people are just more honest and open to how they really feel online, which most of the time really has nothing to do with anyone but the individual. I wish I understood this sooner. My blogging journey would have been more of a pleasant experience. Writing about my gaming adventures was one of my favorite things about blogging but it’s also the least popular among readers. Somewhere along the way, someone is going to get offended and that is something I cannot control.

So here I am now continuing my adventures. If anyone enjoys this sort of content, welcome. Happy you are joining me. I decided to play Elden Ring. By now, most” hardcore souls/borne fans” have probably already completed the game. Once upon a time, I was a Fromsoftware enthusiast too. I once resonate with the game developer as being a tiny entity that rose from the ground and came on top. It makes a great tale. In fact, it’s a classic tale that works pretty well in video games even in books and it speaks a lot to those who enjoy those types of games. It does give you a sense of tremendous amount of achievement when you defeat all odds. For someone like myself who often got overshadowed by my peers for having neonate features that made me look a lot younger than my actual age, it felt really good to say I beat Dark Souls and got the platinum trophy, although it was my patience more than skills that got me through.

Fromsoftware brands itself for making difficult games and what you buy is what you get. You buy games to get slapped in the face repetitively. Now that doesn’t sound fun. But for some people, they like a good slap in the face, a challenge that reminds them they are not dead. Not just yet. It feels good to feel pain and overcome hardship. Well, that’s just my opinion, but is it?

Quote from an Interview done by The New Yorker

I bet Rooney, the suicidal girl from the survival horror game Nightcry would do well with Fromsoftware games. Only when our lives are threatened, that’s when we fight for it with all our might! Yes, go ahead and laugh at people like me. I suppose me and Rooney are the same. I don’t think I ever said I was sane. I mean “It’s okay to be undead just have a level head,” I quote the Blacksmith from Dark Souls II. Not everyone is fit for this type of game. Not everyone is born with perseverance. So, no hard feelings. Just move on and stop being a hater.

Drawing of Rooney from NightCry
Rooney from Nightcry picture source
So, what there's not to love about Elden Ring? It's a massive fantasy open-world game that got me just aimlessly exploring.  In fact, I don't know if I am going to the right place. That is a bit of a problem in my book. I'm not a fan of open-world games.  There's no sequence to anything. I just roam the landscape and pick up plants for crafting.  Certain areas made me feel as if I am in heaven. Some pretty sights to see over the cliff by the sea.
Looking over the sea in Elden Ring
I feel as if I am already on top of the world even though I haven’t beat the game yet!
Standing by the bald evil in Elden Ring
Standing next to the bald eagle. At least I got more than one companion. Did I ever mention I love trees?

So far, I defeated a few optional bosses found in the caves; one field boss named Tibia Mariner which wasn’t all that difficult and Margit, the Fell Omen. All the other boss fights are too difficult for my under-level character at the moment. I really don’t want to have to summon other players to help defeat a boss. It can be quite fun if you are into multiplayer games, but not for those who play for the atmosphere. Luckily, you can always summon NPC if it’s available.

I wonder why this game is not called Dark Souls 4? It kind feels like a souls game. Just look at the picture below. I suppose this one feels like you are playing inside a fantasy instead of a fairy-tale book.

Views from the Cave in SIOFRA RIVER
View from the cave in SIOFRA RIVER. I wish I could live there. I am already somewhat of a cave woman anyway.

It’s so magical and I love that! I could just escape to its world and never come back to reality. As I mentioned before in my blog, I love books and games. Plus, the monster designs are actually pretty impressive and fun to battle with.

hawk-like animal in Elden Ring attacking player fiercely
The monsters in Elden Ring feel very real at the same time fantasy-like. If you look closely, it’s clutching two blades with its feet.

It’s like going to a zoo–except that I get to be more interactive and engaging with the environment. How awesome is that? And yet, I still don’t know if I will ever complete the game. All it is, it’s just a polished souls’ game, which is a great thing. However, this game requires massive time investment if you want to enjoy it to its max. And I wonder is that why I had the game sitting on the shelf for almost a year now? I’m not ready to invest my time in it. In the back of my mind, I feel that my time should be used for something else more worthwhile. But at the same time…it’s a great game to pass time.

Avatar sitting in Elden Ring at Castleward Tunnel

The game has a lot to offer, especially if you love to explore; you’re a lover of fantasy; and you love lore. There really is much to love.

To be continued…

NieR Replicant ver_1_22474487139 (2021): My Impression

I am going to do something a bit more casual here. I am going to write an impression instead of a review because I am not here to sell you anything but give you my impression of the game as a fellow gamer who is just trying to help some gamers out there whether you should play this game or not. so I’m too lazy to articulate my thoughts, especially after playing a heavy-loaded game like this. I have already put over 60 hours of gameplay into this game. Not going to 100 % it. I did it with Nier Gestalt years ago, but would at least try to 100 % the side quests. Currently, while writing this post, I’m at 83%. Weapon completion is also important as well. This is a story-driven game. You would appreciate the story more by completing these tasks.

NieR Replicant ver_1_22474487139 released 2021 of April, is not a remake or a remaster of Nier Gestalt (2010). It’s more closely related to Japan’s version Nier Replicant which players play as the brother instead of the father. Some additional content has been added to this upgraded version to flesh out the story. So if you have played Nier Gestalt and wonder whether you should purchase it, you should but not at full price. You are not missing much. It’s just less convoluted than the one released in 2010. Perhaps, this is what some players need, a straightforward story?

The upgraded version gameplay feels a lot smoother and fluid like you would play in Nier Automata (2017). The gameplay is very simple: hack and slash with plenty of weapons and magic to choose from, although let me warn you that gameplay was never the game’s biggest strength. I stick to one weapon and two magic: Dark Lance and Dark Hand the entire time. As for difficulty settings, there is Normal Mode which is really Easy Mode, and Hard Mode. I can only imagine what Easy Mode is like. You’d go through the game without a sweat. Well, I can see it being an option if you are into speed runs. Some of the trophies required players to beat a boss within a certain amount of time. And if you are just interested in experiencing the story, then there is no reason to play on Normal or Hard Mode.

Without spoiling the story for those who have not experienced this masterpiece (yes it was a masterpiece in my eyes when I first played it). It’s about a brother who is trying to find a cure to the disease called Black Scrawl which has been inflicted on his sister. There are some heavy topics such as body dysmorphia, homosexuality, and borderline incest introduced in this game. Yes, it’s not your typical hero and heroine you see every day. They are humans, but are they?

As I mentioned earlier, the side quests add to the story so don’t skip them. They are fun and addictive with a twisted sense of humor. The greatest attribute of this game is the soundtrack, however, the music arrangement is not as on point as in Nier Gestalt, which did affect my experience. I didn’t like how it sounds unnaturally flawless. So, I didn’t enjoy the game to its max. It feels kind of soulless. Well, it’s not soul’s game if that’s what you are expecting. If I were to compare this game with Nier Gestalt, I would still pick Nier Gestalt over Nier Replicant, playing as a father seems more logical. I don’t know though, I never had brothers who go to an extreme to protect me so it didn’t make any sense to play as an overly protective brother.

Although I can say, I know what it is like to be the protective big sister. I guess there is some similarity in that sense, or it’s just the fact, I’m as crazy as the protagonist. I just like killing stuff. Clearly, though, the game was not intended for the female demographic but why is it so popular among female players? That’s something to think about.

So what’s so great about this game? Well, it’s the story. The soundtrack, but more importantly how it was executed. The game allows players to see from different angles and it starts to question your morality. Who are the real humans? Even if you think you are right, does that justify killing?

I think you get my point. The game will make you think about your actions. Are you really righteous?