Hello everyone. It is I, Javier, who has taken a big old break from writing. If you’re interested, I got married, got a new job, got my wife pregnant and then spent the vast majority of my year so far on just one game… Elden Ring. Having finished it, sat back for two weeks and then merrily jumped into other games (such as the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game and Returnal), it feels like the joy of gaming has returned.

Elden Ring will probably end up in my top five games of the year – if not at the top – but the challenge really did push me… Which I suppose is the point. I completed the whole game without summoning other players in, as though I had something to prove to myself. Because of this, and perhaps because I’m not as good as other Souls players (Luke), it took me ninety hours to complete, which really is a lot of time on one game for me nowadays. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it at any point: the game is an absolute masterpiece and I am so glad that I got into Souls just in time to have played everything before Elden Ring’s release and be ‘ready’ for it. I never once felt bored. However, when I got to the last few bosses, I started to feel that it had outstayed its welcome, especially as the last two bosses and Malenia took me a good ten hours extra, and on certain weeks ten hours can be more than a week’s worth of gaming. 

By that point in the game, I had to finish it and just push through, and of course I had that unbelievable sense of joy and achievement when I did it. I screamed for joy and punched the air but since I put the game down, I haven’t really thought about it. I’ve just enjoyed playing something else, and although Returnal is a very tough game it has a different sense of enjoyment for me. Although I don’t feel like there is a tonne out to play, I’ve enjoyed going to other, much simpler titles and completely switching my brain off. It is an odd balance where I feel like I need a challenge but Soul’s lofty heights feel like too much at the moment. 

Perhaps if I’d completed the game more quickly, for example if I’d had it a few years ago when I simply gamed more, then it would have undoubtedly been a purely amazing experience. But for whatever reason it took me four months. Maybe I made myself feel like it was the only thing I could play so would only play it when I was in the mood for it, which meant less gaming time, as the PS5 was an evil object for a short while. Anyways needless to say I’m having a big break from Souls and playing slightly less challenging games… Until I get the itch again, anyway.

Edited by Catherine.