I am not good at difficult games. I don’t enjoy being challenged and I certainly don’t appreciate getting close to the end of a gruelling fight, only to be instantly killed by an attack I couldn’t see coming or be prepared for and have to start the entire ordeal again. The sugar on top of this video game hate cake is when I also have to commute back to the enemy to re-attempt the fight, but more on that later..

I sunk over 40 hours into Elden Ring around release, loving every single one of them, even if on reflection I didn’t get a great deal done. In fact, during my most recent play session where I hit the 40 hour milestone, I had just reached Altus Plateau. I spent a huge amount of time with the game grinding as I’m typically a JRPG player so this is second nature to me. It’s also because I found the satisfaction of killing any enemy who had previously bullied me too great to ignore. The risk and reward element of potentially losing all my runes if I died carrying them, or before I could recover them, also gave me just the right amount of adrenaline to keep traversing the Lands Between, shunning all other games in my life at the time.

The hit of serotonin and victory cry laced with voice cracks when I finally defeated Margit on the steps of the gorgeous and fantastic Stormveil Castle is right up there with defeating Sigrun the Valkyrie Queen in 2018’s God of War. Despite throwing myself time after time at what seemed for a while to be an insurmountable foe, I finally defeated him, with absolutely no help whatsoever from Margit’s Shackle so that can get in the bin.

Another occasion which did a lot to boost my fractured ego was when I defeated Godrick on my first ever try, as well as the Red Wolf of Radagon on my second. Over-levelling may be more to thank for these victories than my actual skill with the game, but I don’t care. Upon beating each of them I felt like I was strong enough to put a tornado in a headlock.

Reading this far considering the title likely has you wondering which boss fight proved to be the stone wall which brought my progress to a screeching halt. Well, I am ashamed to say that the boss who broke the spell Elden Ring held over me is one who I am constantly assured is among the ‘easiest’ in the game: Rennala. Oh my, how I hate her..

Her first phase is now a boring irritant I must slog through to get to the main event with her, but what really grinds me down is the gauntlet I must run to get back to her each time. If there was a Site of Grace outside, or even near, her fog wall then I do not doubt I’d have crushed her by now, and instead I’d be writing this article lamenting a later game boss challenge. What hurts most is that despite the hours of grinding I’ve put into upgrading my health, she often kills me in one hit thanks to the lengthy and unskippable animation for Rock Sling.

I am primarily a magic user in Elden Ring, which is how I have made it this far, but her near constant summoning and flitting around the battlefield makes charging in with my limited melee ability extremely arduous, and trying to time blasts of Rock Sling still feels like the best way forward, despite the overwhelming evidence I’ve already presented as to why that simply isn’t the case.

My inability to crush the smug witch is coming to an end soon however, as I have just begun a week of annual leave from my day job and a bunch of my plans for it have already fallen through. Despite being the architect of my own destruction for most of them, I choose to believe Rennala somehow has gained control of my life outside of Elden Ring and has begun taunting me in reality as well. This will not stand and so, even though I now have the ability to skip Raya Lucaria entirely thanks to the Grand Lift of Dectus, I will soon be reinstalling Elden Ring so that I might finally defeat her and bring the Academy to heel.

I will post an update on how the effort goes in the next week or so, but in the meantime, thank you for reading. Which bosses gave you the toughest time in Elden Ring, or did you breeze through the game with no difficulty whatsoever (you absolute stud)? Speak to you again soon, fellow foul Tarnished!

Written and edited by Alexx