Soulsborne fans initially thought that director Hidetaka Miyazaki would water down the game difficulty in Elden Ring to appeal to a broader audience due to its open-world nature, but the game’s release has since proven all the doubters wrong. So much so, in fact, that many people are still complaining the Lands Between are too brutal and punishing to be enjoyable.
If you haven’t had the chance to dive into the mythical fantasy world yourself and experience firsthand what many folks have been grinding through, then the fact that almost half the players haven’t been able to defeat Elden Ring‘s first major boss should speak volumes about the kind of difficulty this game boasts. The complaints have been so numerous and far-reaching that even Miyazaki himself had to address them in a recent interview.
The acclaimed game designer explained that a large part of the soulslike identity is its difficulty, so there can be no avail when it comes to that particular aspect. Explanations like that rarely stop the modding community on PC, though, which is why they’ve come up with an “Easy Mode” for Elden Ring which essentially turns the Lands Between into a Ubisoft game, where you’ll hardly die.
But if that sort of thing enrages you as a Souls veteran, then you can go in the opposite direction by turning the game into a literal hell and making it over thrice as hard with the “Prepare to Die (Hard Mode)” mod. By installing this file, enemy stats like damage and resistance become on par with their NG+ counterparts through your first run, and a more advanced AI allows them to see or hear you from farther away.
Frankly, both of these mods take away from the experience that FromSoftware intended in the first place. One is too grueling for any sane individual to bear, and the other takes away all of the challenge from a game that’s defined by its challenging nature.
Where do you think you’d stand in this spectrum? To die or not to die; that is the question.