Elden Ring: Unpacking the "Git Gud" vs Easy Mode Debate

WG writes: "I truly believe that Elden Ring isn’t as hard as people say it is. Games like that are tough – make no mistake – but they aren’t without a ton of assists. The assists just aren’t structured and presented in a traditional way people expect. Elden Ring, even more so."

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IanTH459d ago (Edited 459d ago )

The last line in this is 100% where I'm at: This game needs a demo! I miss demos...

I own a bunch of the Souls games, mostly through bundles, but Bloodborne & Demon's Souls 2020 by direct purchase. I liked that more than any of the other Dark Souls games. I just didn't get DS2020.

There's a lot about this game, though, that is intriguing to me. The open world having a true sense of discovery, for one. I've watched some streams, and at least there appear to be some concessions for this being an open world (some low level enemies appear to fall to spamming attacks, for instance).

So I am interested, but I'm not a huge fan of plopping down $60 on something that might be just like the rest of the Souls games. How punishing dying is in this compared to the rest. How confusing the traversal is, or if literally everything is obfuscated with unclear or obtuse ways to improve characters (stats/gear) without a wiki. Amount of time & effort lost each death, if there's entire sections you have to waste time replaying to try a boss again in hopes of learning something before being pasted into the walls...the 1st boss in this game appears to have a spawn right nearby, so that's encouraging.

I just miss demos lol.

Vits458d ago

To be fair. This is the kind of game where a demo would either hurt it or be unless.
The map is huge and packed full of secrets, so a demo wouldn't really be able to show what is great in this game in comparison to others "Souls" titles.

IanTH458d ago (Edited 458d ago )

I honestly feel like the only way a demo could "hurt it" would be if it hurt sales because people opted to not buy it. But at this point, most people are buying it based on their love of other From/soulslikes titles anyway. The number of preorder sales alone show this (Steam has nearly 100k *reviews* for this game already). Can't imagine too many of those people would have waited for a demo to drop, and then opted NOT to buy it.

The demo, in this case, would potentially help fence-sitters like myself. I'm not going to buy it full price without trying it, I might if I got to try it though. Best case, I buy it on a deep sale (or used) down the line. Worst case, I never buy it. If they are confident in their product, they should release a demo. Slap a 1 or 2 hour time limit on it and you can get a sense of the game's scope, mechanics, and should be enough to get a little taste of the "special sauce"/secrets you mention.

Vits458d ago (Edited 458d ago )


I don't think you understand. A two or even three-hour limit wouldn't give you anything to test from this game. The scale and the amount of content would simply not be able to be presented in a short span of time like that. Especially for fence-sitters that have no idea what they are even trying to do.

Just to put in perspective people are taking dozens of hours just to beat the first dungeon. And that is where the game point you to going and you can literally get there in an hour or so. That means that those that tried the demo would most likely follow the directions, get stomped like they have never been before and give up on the game without actually seeing what it has to offer. Therefore hurting not only the game sales but the general perception of it as well.

I'm all for demos. But this is a really a title where I can't see a demo working to anyone's benefit.

IanTH458d ago (Edited 458d ago )

It feels a bit weird to say that you could play a game for 2-3 hours and still not be sure if you like it or not. I mean, if I'm not liking a game after that long the odds are I'm not going to keep going. I suppose I might not be able to understand the full scope of how great it could be with a shorter demo, but it would allow me to get a feel for it. For how obfuscated things are (I hated how I had to look basically everything up in a Wiki for Demon's Souls 2020). How I feel the open world adds to the formula. If I could see myself sticking with it.

Perhaps it is different for you, and you're more willing to put up with not enjoying something for longer in hopes it gets better. Though I can't imagine a lot would be different for people demoing or buying the game, assuming they get stomped like they never have before for 2-3 hours as you suggest they might. I think, at best, a purchase might *force* them to try to get their monies worth from a game they are so far hating, but otherwise I imagine, paid or demo, they'd either like the challenge or tap out.

Both our perspectives are certainly valid, but in my mind I still can't see a demo hurting it. It still stands that with no demo, the best case for them (from someone like me) is that I'll buy it later on deep sale. Worst case, I don't buy it or I buy a cheap used copy to try it out. Current odds are I won't buy it, so a demo does nothing but help their odds for those like me, at least. Perhaps I'm niche in the fence-sitters club, but I would suspect more are like me than not.

My 2 cents, anyway.

Vits458d ago


You are already a niche case. Because you apparently already played a Souls title, but have not got Elden Ring yet. So yeah, for the few folks out there that could be in that situation I could see a demo be of help. But given how successful this game is. I really doubt that your kind of situation is true for a big number of players, honestly, I'm pretty confident in assuming that you guys are a niche inside a niche.

So for the majority of fence-sitters, It would hurt the portrayal of the game, which itself could hurt the sales. Just imagine a bunch of new players complaining over the internet after being stomped to hell in the demo. And honestly? They wouldn't be completely wrong. Because this game has the same DNA as a Souls title, but instead of letting you get you to know stuff step by step. It throws you into a giant open world with a HUGE golden arrow saying where you should go.

And given the time limit, chances are that those players would do just that. And then get stomped because they would quite literally go for the first mandatory boss. Way below level and way unprepared. They would get stomped, would complain and no one would win from that. Hence and repeat for the hour or so they would have left. For the other group that saw the giant golden arrow and went the other way. Things wouldn't fare much better either. Because the time limit wouldn't allow them to gear up or learn the mechanics to not get stomped.

Also, every game does have a "demo" in the sense that Steam allows you to refund it no question asked for the first two hours. I believe that doesn't hold for consoles, but it's a option for those in your niche.

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Teflon02459d ago

Here's my thing. The game does NOTHING to help new players, you have to unlock and figure things out yourself because even descriptions suck in the game and are pretty vague unless you're well versed in these games. The game isn't near impossibly hard. I can start a new game and run through all the first area bosses right away without much issue now. Once I learned them. But that's not the issue. It's the fact nothing is explained. They drop you in the world and say learn by dying. Is that an issue? Not if you have an option to opt out of those things. Is the difficulty an issue? No. But there's no reason there isn't a demo for people who are more casual, who doesn't want this experience.

I just don't get this weird idea the community has where when it's another game, example Returnal, people cry that it's too much but then others like this, it's okay. Just because it's from software and it's how they make their games. If this is going to be okay, it needs to be accepted from any developer choosing to make a challenging game that sends you in blind. I'm enjoying the game but there's a million things that I don't understand even with descriptions lol. Also one thing I'm not okay with is the hit box inconsistency. Being hit by hits that don't touch you is one thing, but when one time you can do a near dodge and you replicate the exact scenario and get farther than the first time and get hit. Somethings wrong, and it's not just me. I've seen it happen to alot of different people

Binarycode458d ago

Spot on.

Really Enjoying the exploration and Combat. Don't know where I'm going most of the time, just going where I can and trying to see what's new all while i'm dying. I know obviously your learning as you go. But I do think Some of it needs to be clearer.

Heck I would still love a game like this, but easier to manage items and etc.

It's kinda like GT7. You know you can custom that Car up, but Some ppl just don't want to. They just want to drive and it's already setup. I love cars but I don't need to know everything about them.

I'm enjoying Elden ring regardless, but there should be a way to turn off chromatic aberration though, hurts my eyes.

Crows90458d ago

So youre making the assumption that casuals dont want this expeirence youre talking about?
Returnal explains much more than your average souls game... I can vouch for the difficulty with returnal because I know someone who is normally pretty good at these games who just couldnt get past the frist biome.

I got past on my first try and beat the game on my 3rd attempt. That being said I do have experience prior to returnal with bullet hell games.

If the dodging thing is in fact as you say then thats a technical issue. But based on past souls games its never happened to me where a dodge that should have worked, doesnt. Usually its that extra second delay that casues me to get hit...or a rolled towards the wrong angle.

philm87458d ago

@Teflon02 The thing is, me and probably most Fromsoftware fans have enjoyed the journey immensely from being completely clueless to becoming accustomed to the complexities of the game, yet still finding new things to discover. This also makes the games replayable, as you start on NG+ with a different outlook on the game.

isarai459d ago

I don't really get that there has to be a debate, if the dev doesn't want there to be an easy mode, they should be able to do so, and if they do, i respect the decision. Sometimes difficulty is what makes the game though. Many "hard" games wouldn't be nearly as good if they were easy, and sometimes difficulty is used to change the way and pace you play the game.

mkis007458d ago

Its not about not making it hard. Its about adding a mode that makes it more accessible. Eevn if that means not awarding trophies.

Crows90458d ago

How would they makes souls games easier? Basically you want the devs to create a mode that allows players to not engage with its systems.

When a game asks you to learn its systems in order to progress and you say no its too hard...then just go somewhere else.

Making a game dependant on its difficulty easy would also make it boring. Imagine going into every combat encounter knowing you cant die...then you just steam roll the game and then what? The game isnt focused on storytelling or anything else. Its all about the challenge it brings you and how you improve your character to face those challenges and succeed. YOu remove that from any game a fraction of what the game had to offer. Imagine doom 2016 but the demons have no chance to kill you.

Everyone knows it gets boring to play a game with cheats...when yhere is a mode that grants you those cheats then that gets boring too. Even easy needs to have a challenge for those at a lower level.

mkis007458d ago

I disagree about the storytelling. I would play just for that and the lore building. I don't see why an "easy mode" would interfere with normal difficulty? How is dialing it all back with a simple slider selection going to do anything to how the game was designed. The problem is this type of games limits its audience only for purity's sake, purity is a lowsy excuse to make something difficult.

The only part about these games that annoys me is that I can't repeat just the part I failed on, I have to repeat everything else up to that point which artificially inflates the play time completely unnecessarily. it's the unnecessary repetition that keeps these games from being accessible. Keep the difficulty.

Horizon Forbidden West has the exact difficulty sliders I am talking about. You can make it Very difficult if the gameplay is your thing, or you can put it on story mode and absorb the world. Who suffers exactly?

Daeloki458d ago

The thing is, there are people who would be into the game for the lore and just the general experience, but they don't have a ton of time to put into gaming (work, kids, studies etc.). Obviously it's the devs choice, but I genuinely can't see how having an easy mode would hurt them. The whole "git gud" mentality from fans just sounds like gatekeeping to me. Having an easier mode doesn't need to make the game easy either (God of War on normal had plenty of challenging moments). It just those who don't have tons of hours to sink into "learn by dying".

Bladesfist458d ago

I beat God of War on Bring me god of war difficulty and it sucked a lot of enjoyment from the game, it wasn't built around being that hard and scaled down. The only thing you learnt by dying in that difficulty was that encounters with lots of enemies need to be cheesed as everything has way more health than what they would have in a souls game.

With souls game difficulty it's not that everything has a ton of health, it's that you have to learn the attack patterns of things. Would an easy mode just simplify the attack patterns of bosses? That's probably a lot of work.

Crows90458d ago


Thats because god of war hard difficulty didnt make it more challenging just more unfair.


What is this general experience? I have never heard of anyone who plays games not have time for the games they like because it takes to long. At this point if youre still not able to roll and learn patterns then go back and play demons souls. Start from the beginning. We learn patterns in all games whether theyre rpgs or platformers.

Taero458d ago


Is it a lot of work? In the grand scheme of designing, building, testing, shipping the game? Having a moveset for easy and a regular moveset (or perhaps easy has moves 1-3 and regular has moves 1-7 etc.). Seems like an easy thing to me. The only thing you're changing for the user is the number and patterns of moves to memorize. You could even add a sparkle of some kind on attack, similar to how some games have unblockable attacks highlighted red, or on arrows when they're readying to fire; you could highlight when moves were occurring.

There are many things you can do to lower 'difficulty' without taking away from the core experience. Heck even just saying "If you die and drop your currency it will still be there to pick up" if you drop multiple currencies then the highest will remain (to stop 'banking' currency on deaths). Would help brunt the sting of stymied progress especially if you're new and die over and over.

To just say "No, one difficulty, git gud" is reductive. It's Froms prerogative to design how they will in the end but for a large swathe of the gaming population the game just isn't going to be fun or accessible, if that's profitable then sure in the end all games don't have to appeal to all people or even be playable by them, but the question is if the changes would hurt the experience for the profitable demographic, if it doesn't then who is hurt?

Vanfernal459d ago (Edited 459d ago )

This game is a Souls game in everything but name. After a decade of Souls games you should know what you're getting yourself into. If you feel these games are "too hard" just play something else at this point. These games are clearly not for you and it's okay. Not all games are for everybody.

Teflon02458d ago

But here's the problem. Other games do the same thing and get critiqued for doing the exact same thing. It's one thing if it was accepted throughout the industry. But it's only accepted with these games. Which is why it's even a convo. Either people especially reviewers need to stop bsing games for difficulty or throwing you in blind or "souls" games should stop getting special treatment for being a souls game. There should be no single exception to the rule because we know that's how they make these games. If a niche JRPG dev always makes their games a certain way you'll critique the same issues everytime. Should be the same here

458d ago
Daeloki458d ago

That's literally just gatekeeping though, no matter how you phrase it. To this day I have not heard a single convincing argument for not adding an easier mode to make it more accessible.

Bladesfist458d ago

Well without the git gud community I would have believed the game was hard because enemies hit too hard or I don't have enough health but because of them I knew the issue is all in the timing, once you learn a bosses pattern you and beat it you get such a sense of accomplishment but I fear that if there was an easy mode I would have missed out on that because I would have got frustrated at the start and swapped to it.

Vanfernal458d ago

These games literally have the enemies spawn in the same place, with distinct attack patterns. You take the time and learn the layout and how to approach the enemies then you get better through repetition. For bosses you can summon help if they're too hard. If you put in the work these games are beatable. Some people just want don't want to put in the effort and just ask for the bar to get lowered for them.

Elda458d ago

I've said it from day one the game is basically another Souls game just that it's open-world,you have a horse & a different name for the game. Same style of gameplay,mechanics,graphics & game engine.

brewin458d ago (Edited 458d ago )

My whole issue with the "Soulsborne" style of games has never been the difficulty, it's the fake difficulty that comes from shoddy/cheap mechanics/gameplay. A perfect example is Nioh. It's tough as nails, but it's super fun to play and you actually feel like you want to try and "git gud."

But most of the Soulsborne games I've played, I just can't dig the clunkiness of the controls. I much prefer more action style controls versus the slow, clunky, methodical style from some of those games. Ninja Garden too, that was hard as hell but it was so fun to play that you felt super badass when you got good pulling off those insane combos and when you died it was your fault. In stuff like Demons and Dark Souls, it just feels too slow and clunky to be fun.

JEECE458d ago

This. I've heard that Bloodbourne and Sekiro kind of fix this issue a bit, but Demon's Souls on PS3 was so clunky.

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