Elden Ring’s Scariest Early-Game Obstacle Is A Simple Bridge

The rickety wooden bridge in many games is just a way to cross the gap to the next goal. But in souls games, FromSoftware often uses these atmospheric embellishments for more insidious purposes. That’s why when Ancient Ring presented me with such an obstacle a few short moments later in my new adventure; I couldn’t help but hesitate.
Ancient Ring started with my character waking up in a building known as the Chapel of Anticipation. Leaving the said chapel, I found myself crossing a jagged ledge of rock, which I believe is somewhere above the game map. I say “assume” because the landscape is so covered with a thick layer of fog that it is difficult to make out what lies below. Wherever I was, it was very high, so high that one miss would mean almost immediate, screaming death as I fell out of sight.
After a short jog, I came to the bridge, a pathetic little structure of old, creaky wood, swaying gently in as strong a wind as one would expect at such a height. Ropes connected it to stakes driven deep into the stone, but something about the construction was suspicious. Even dangerous. But since the area around the Chapel of Anticipation was mostly peaceful, I was forced to ask myself: was the bridge really emitting bad vibes, or was I just anticipating one of FromSoftware’s diabolical tricks?
Bye souls games are loved for their tough but rewarding combat, that doesn’t mean they don’t also contain some real crappy kits only meant to kill unsuspecting players. The earliest of these moments that I can recall is the crumbling parapet in Royal Field: Ancient City, which knocks you back far enough to destroy you if your health is below max, but it’s a trick that FromSoftware almost uses souls- how it extinguishes.
The most famous of these traps is probably the soaring dragon in the original. Dark souls, which briefly lands on the castle wall and can impale you with its massive claws if you rush forward. This is one of the first times the game teaches you that recklessness can be deadly. What immediately came to mind when I first saw ancient Ring the bridge, however, is a similar overpass in Dark Souls 2. If you spend too much time on this bridge, the dragon destroys the path and throws you to the ground.
My mind raced with possibilities. I knew from previous reviews that dragons exist in the ancient world ring, but will FromSoftware actually do something so brutal just minutes after it gives you control over your character? Something that would generate overly long tweets about the difficulty of the game? Something that can (sip) lead to discourse? I looked over the edge of the cliff. I scanned the horizon for any sign that some sort of flying monster was preparing to rip my head off.
Finally, I took the first few hesitant steps on the planks suspended over the vast void below me. Nothing. A few more steps. Nothing yet. Approaching the middle of the bridge, I rushed to the other side. I arrived safely, although a little embarrassed by my hesitation. However, as a longtime fan of FromSoftware’s work, this learned thrill is part of the fun. It’s like a conversation between a player and a developer, steeped in decades of history and experience. “If I just learn about FromSoftware trends,” I tell myself, “next time they won’t understand me.”
And then I realized: FromSoftware already got me. No, the dragon didn’t kill me, and the bridge didn’t collapse, but the fact that I’m made to feel so fearful and sweaty, something as simple as crossing a bridge, means Ancient Ring Russian developers have already won. My years of play royal field, shadow tower, Demon Souls, Dark souls, Bloodyas well, as Sekiro turned me into a Pavlovian dog drooling at the thought of dying in a horrible trap, and what’s worse, I can’t help but love FromSoftware even more for it. These fools.

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