How Noob-Friendly is ELDEN RING?
"How Noob-Friendly Is It?" is an article series I began in hopes to tell people how accessible a title is, either for newcomers to the franchise or newcomers to the genre. Do the game's tutorials explain to you how to tackle the game properly?
With 44 hours to complete the main story according to HowLongToBeat and 98 hours for "Completionist", it's undeniable that ELDEN RING is a gargantuan game. Not only does the game feel massive, but it was also developed by the notorious FromSoftware, a company known for its onerous gameplay. So much so, that throughout my numerous articles I've learned countless synonyms for "challenging" to describe the game.
What mechanics does it have?
Aside from the punishing gameplay, ELDEN RING's character creator already contains countless things sure to confuse players, including numerous classes, each with vaguely-named attributes, and afterwards an unexplained Keepsake tab.
Outside of its character creation being more confusing than fax machines for the current generation, ELDEN RING later puts the player into a short hands-on tutorial and sets them free into the open-world map of the Lands Between, where a boss — named the Tree Sentinel — roams on the horizon.
Is it noob-friendly?
Not much at all.
Beginning with the arduous character customisation menu, ELDEN RING provides the player with little information regarding what the stats imply, which class to select, and gives a very vague description for each of the Keepsakes — so much so, I felt obliged to write an article explaining them. Although this might have been fine in a normal game where the player is introduced to these systems later on, with a title as challenging as ELDEN RING, it feels like a cheap attempt at making the game that much harder. These systems are also not explained throughout the game, and in order to understand what each of the attributes does and how they work, players will have to use their own knowledge and do tests to understand them. Selecting the wrong class and keepsake are not as detrimental as it might seem, but not knowing how to build early can lead to a forced restart, as the respec system isn't available until a bit later into the game, gated behind a formidable boss.
The exploration of the open world is delightful; however, the game leaves the exploration far too open with the lack of quests, meaning that players will have to explore all of the Lands Between before they can progress their main story. The only "quest marker" players get is a guiding grace from some Sites of Grace leading them to the next main boss, which they'll often be under levelled for without any indication that this is the case.
That all said however, ELDEN RING's difficulty is not the most challenging title in the FromSoftware lineup and is the most accessible of the bunch. Although some systems are not mentioned (like how to do the second stance in special attacks), all of the things incorporated into it derive from other titles. In spite of the game not being very noob-friendly for its newcomers, I still thoroughly recommend checking it out, as it was not only reviewed highly but following numerous guides and listening to tips & tricks should ease your journey a lot. I don't recommend playing ELDEN RING completely blind and trying to discover the world on your own if this is your first FromSoftware title.