The long-awaited difficulty spike has arrived in my Elden Ring playthrough. Challenging the Fire Giant, a fight I had not been looking forward to, I was as surprised as anyone that I defeated him not only in my first attempt but also with relative ease. Helpfully I had watched a YouTube video hours prior to first entering his arena, reminding me to only use Torrent to quickly cover distance to get to his feet before rolling and hacking away. The tip worked wonders for me.

This burst of confidence, however, was to prove to be my downfall.

Setting the Erdtree ablaze and transported to Crumbling Farum Azula, a location I never dreamed I would reach myself, things began to take a turn for the worst. This area is hard. Even in my over-levelled state, around level 206, I found myself becoming overwhelmed by the Misbegotten enemies occupying the fractured halls. I wasn’t too troubled by the infamous Godskin Duo, but the infuriating Crucible Knight afterwards was an absolute pest. To my satisfaction I managed to defeat him by running straight passed and ascending to the balcony overlooking his placement. I then spent 20 minutes throwing knives, darts and pots at him until he died. Absolutely worth it.

I was batted around by enemies and dragons for a while as I went treasure hunting, eventually finding myself pitted against the Draconic Tree Sentinel guarding the final boss of the area’s room. That room, I must confess, is where my story ends.

Maliketh, the Black Blade, seemingly uninterested in how many levels I had under my belt, carved my Tarnished to pieces close to a dozen times. My second attempt was the best with me managing to get his health bar below 10% but it was not meant to be. I tried experimenting with different approaches, swapping out my Mimic Tear for a max level Black Knife Tiche. While Tiche performed better against Maliketh than the Mimic did, it was never quite enough to fell this legendary opponent.

It was during my most recent attempt that God of War Ragnarök dropped through my door, and I haven’t wanted to go back to face the Black Blade again since. Not that it really matters for Elden Ring, as it has comfortably secured itself a lofty position on my favourite games of 2022 ranking list, releasing next week, though I would have liked to at least take a crack at the Elden Beast. I’m sure I will circle back to this in January, but for now thank you for reading what could be my final Elden Ring update.

Does Elden Ring feature in your top five favourite games of 2022? Which boss was your favourite if it does? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be back very soon with some non-Elden Ring based content for a change, so I will catch you then.

Written and edited by Alexx.