FromSoftware's latest action RPG, Elden Ring, has been a huge commercial success on console and PC, but around half of its players haven't progressed past the first major boss, potentially showing that many newcomers were blindsided by the developer's penchant for high difficulty.
According to Elden Ring's achievements list on Steam Community, around 63% (at the time of writing) of players have beaten Margit the Fell Omen, a sort of gatekeeper boss that tests if you're ready for the difficulty increases to come. Quite similar to Bloodborne's Father Gascoigne or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's Genichiro Ashina.
However, it's the game's first major boss, the demigod Godrick the Grafted, where many Elden Ring players are running up against a wall. According to Steam, just under half of the playerbase have actually defeated this roadblock of a boss fight. It's a similar story on PS5 and PS4, too, where around 54% of players have currently defeated Godrick.
These achievements stats are particularly notable, as Elden Ring has not just been a critical darling, it's also a huge commercial success. In the UK, Elden Ring had the best launch week for a non-Call of Duty or FIFA title since Red Dead Redemption 2 (thanks, Eurogamer).
Analysis: why are Elden Ring players struggling?
Elden Ring's first-week success could be a strong indication that it'll become FromSoftware's best-selling title to date, meaning there's bound to be a ton of newcomers experiencing the developer's particular brand of crushingly high difficulty for the first time.
It could be that many players are buying the game on a whim, looking for their next big fantasy RPG fix after, say, Skyrim, and while waiting for the hotly-anticipated Dragon Age 4. In this case, then, it's entirely possible that Elden Ring's high difficulty, matched with no immediately obvious options to lower it (outside of co-operative player summons) has some players bouncing off before they can really invest themselves in The Lands Between.
Yet while Elden Ring is undoubtedly a difficult game, we also have to mention its PC port, which as of now, falls short in terms of both performance and settings. According to PC players, Elden Ring's mouse and keyboard support isn't fantastic, there's no support for ultrawide monitors and jarring stuttering persists throughout the game, making for a gameplay experience that's anything but smooth. FromSoftware has begun to release patches to address these bugs.
The consoles versions (particularly the PS4 Pro version, oddly), while also not perfect in the performance department, still run a lot smoother than their PC counterpart. That higher percentage of players who have defeated Godrick, then, could be the difference in performance between console and PC.
Smoother performance overall means that Elden Ring on console controls more tightly as a result, and there's less risk of controller input delay or frame stuttering that could turn a perfectly good boss run into a living nightmare. Here's hoping Elden Ring's PC issues are addressed soon, giving more players an opportunity to experience the game as it was intended.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.