FromSoftware games are notoriously difficult and opaque, with players essentially left to fend for themselves, navigating deeply hostile worlds with the help of the online community.
Hidetaka Miyazaki, creator of Dark Souls and Elden Ring, even apologized for how his games frustrate players, but has shown no interest in ever implementing an easy mode – so players simply made their own.
While there are multiple mods made for the new open-world game, Elden Ring, several of the most popular mods reduce the game’s difficulty, lessen the penalty of death, and, amusingly, remove the title screens so that players can access the game a few seconds faster.
The relentless difficulty of Souls and Ring is very much integral to the appeal of FromSoftware games, but some players simply want to experience the game without spending countless hours trying, failing, and failing again.
While the endless failure contributes to the unique, menacing atmosphere of these games, sometimes it can feel like a genuine slog; these games certainly don’t underestimate their fans, but they also don’t have much respect for their time. Not everyone has the luxury of multiple spare hours to hone their swordsman skills.
That being said, Elden Ring is likely FromSoftware’s most accessible game yet. Compared to the fiendish Souls games, Elden Ring feels a walk through the park, even if said park is being torn apart at the molecular level, overrun with eldritch abominations.
Thanks to the game’s trusty steed, Torrent, players can easily escape annoying enemies and intimidating bosses; the rest of the map lies waiting to be explored (although, the likelihood of wandering into even greater danger is considerable).
Players can also summon AI helpers called Spirit Ashes to aid them in battles, with no penalty, and take advantage of the game’s powerful spells to blast through stubborn adversaries. Fans have already shown how the game can be “cheated” by utilizing tactics that the developers never intended. But is it cheating to download an “easy mode” mod?
The fandom has always been aggressively split on the idea of watering down difficulty, but the cool thing about both Dark Souls and Elden Ring is that players can approach these games pretty much any way they choose, and are constantly encouraged to strategize, experiment, and collaborate with other players.
The sole purpose of any game, after all, is to have fun; for some players, that means staying up until 2am to defeat a behemothic boss.
For others, they simply want to slash their way to victory, without throwing their controller against the wall.