At Elden Ring, the fight feels real

In the last two years, the pandemic has brought us many works of art that have tried to definitively shape the struggle of humanity. There was that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio that turned pink as he screamed with all his mouth for people to watch the comet rushing toward Earth. It was so in the nose that it provoked little thought: Yes, we are divided, probably doomed. What’s up?

No medium has come close to encapsulating our situation as well as video games. At first, when many of us were locked up and cooking mediocre fermented dough, we played Animal Crossing, which involves finding comfort in simple tasks like fishing and gardening while stranded on an island. This year, we’re playing Elden Ring, a ruthlessly difficult game that only gets harder the more you play it. This sums up what it has been like to live in a pandemic.

Elden Ring has a story that has something to do with a ring, but more important is its design: it’s an open world game, meaning you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Players will ride a horse through a poison swamp, sprint over molten lava, and cross a sunken bridge surrounded by tornadoes, fighting or dodging enemies along the way.

No matter what you choose to do, you’ll probably die trying again and again, sometimes for hours. This is because the slightest mistake of pressing a button will cause you to fall to your death or open you up to attack. Even the most experienced players will die dozens of times in a dungeon before reaching the head, the main villain at the end of a game level.

None of this makes Elden Ring sound like a pleasure to the crowd, but the video game, a collaboration between creative director Hidetaka Miyazaki and Game of Thrones author George RR Martin, is on track to -sold in best-selling of the year, with 12 million copies sold in a month after its release in February.

At some point in the game, you face a dragon. You have a choice to fight or run away. At first, you will probably retreat, and finally, after gaining enough strength and the right weapon or magic spell, you will return to kill the fire spy and enjoy your victory. Moments later, however, you will be ambushed and killed by something nasty, like a hawk grabbing razor blades from its claws.

It’s hard to imagine Elden Ring triumphing in any other era. During the third year of the pandemic, as vaccination rates have risen and hospitalizations have dropped in some areas, offices, schools and restaurants have reopened. For many Americans, the dragon has been killed. However, in other parts of the world, a new variant of coronavirus is driving another wave, and in New York, cases are beginning to rise again.

As some of us lower our guard to look like normal life, we are getting ready for this stupid bird around the corner that could still kill us. Our lesson in the pandemic, expect disappointment and more struggle, has trained us well for Elden Ring.

Where DiCaprio’s film, “Don’t Look Up,” was polarizing because it chose a side that criticized anyone in denial of the apocalypse, Elden Ring’s adventure choice format is more inclusive. for a population that may not seem like it. agree on anything. In Elden Ring, there is no right or wrong.

To defeat a boss, you can carefully study his moves and plan an attack, or you can “cheese” with a cheap trick that requires no skill and guarantees victory. Either way, a win is a win. Such a flexible game can resonate with players around the world and bring them together at a time when people are choosing their own truth about masks, traits, and information that they read online in general.

Most players suffer only through Elden Ring, but there are such difficult parts, such as an ultradura head fight, that people will need the help of others online. To accommodate this, the game erects small statues in difficult areas that act as convening places to carry a cooperator. Once the mission is over, the good Samaritan disappears.

Fighting has always been a central theme in Mr. Miyazaki, who rose to fame with the modest success of the Dark Souls trilogy, the predecessors of Elden Ring, but so is the need for people to turn to each other.

Mr. Miyazaki, who did not respond to requests for comment, said in interviews that he was inspired by a personal experience many years ago as he climbed a snow-covered hill. A car in front of him ran aground, he and another behind him, but then another car in the back overtook and started pushing the third car. A similar assist finally got everyone across the hill.

“We go into other people’s lives for a minute and we disappear and we still have an impact,” said Keza MacDonald, video game editor for The Guardian and author of “You Died,” a book about Mr. Dian’s games. Miyazaki. “He is not really a player against the game. It’s the whole community of players in front of the game. “

When I finished Elden Ring, with the help of friends and strangers online for about five weeks, I didn’t leave the game feeling more anxious or pessimistic. I ended up making plans with friends I hadn’t seen in two years.

Many of us have endured the pandemic just because the restrictions and health risks make it difficult to travel and gather inside. It has been an impossible situation to navigate, and the struggle continues, but we are together in this long term. Why not turn to each other?

New Technology Era

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