There are monsters in Ring of Elden that are just weird or just scary, and then there are the real nightmares. With these horrors, the designers of FromSoftware had to go back to their previous work and say: no, we can do worse.
After many hours of play, it’s the enemies of Elden Ring that make our skin crawl, and we’re more likely to run away the second we spot one than stick around to fight. We regret ever having seen them.
BIG HAND SPIDER THINGS
Find in: Caria Manor, peaks of the giants
Nat Clayton, Feature Film Producer: I don’t consider myself an arachnophobe. When a spider finds its way into our tub, I’m usually happy to help it out. But the quivering beasts of Elden Ring aren’t spiders, they’re much worse.
You see, the scariest critters in Elden Ring are actually severed, quivering hands. Hands that grab, hands that tickle, scratch inside you with their fidgety fingers. Small hands that cluster in dark places, massive hands that hide on walls and burrow underground, with only dirty blue fingernails to suggest their presence. They don’t even have the shape of normal hands either, but rather a fusion of two or three, too many digits on ambidextrous hands.
That they move as if controlled by big invisible arms is quite frightening, lifted into the air by some malevolent force. But on a more primitive level, From Software has finally crafted an enemy that plays on the primal fear of being hit.
Find in: Liurnia of the Lakes, Land of Subterranean Siding
Wes Fenlon, Editor: I had armed myself for the crabs. Dark Souls 3 had crabs known to be aggressive, and they returned to Elden Ring, a giant pincer ever ready to deliver a crushing blow. But they are basically toy poodles next to lobsters, which are larger and so much scarier. I don’t like their spindly legs. I don’t like their 17 foot antennas. I don’t like that I hit one in Liurnia, thinking it would have the same carapacial tenacity as a crab, and it turned around and erased me from this plane of existence and several more at once. I don’t like that they can jump. I don’t like that they can spit a jet of water at me with the force of Hercules throwing a spear. I don’t like that their little beady eyes could somehow spot me crouching in the dark amid the rubble of a sewer.
What have I done to deserve these hellish creatures? I would accept it as some kind of cosmic retribution after years of eating their kind, but the fact is I don’t even like seashells. I’ll gladly fight the giants, gargoyles, and immortal warriors of Elden Ring, but please let the lobsters leave me alone.
This big ball
Find in: Roll in various locations, including Night’s Sacred Ground.
Fraser Brown, online editor: There are so many weird and gnarly creatures in Elden Ring. Multi-limbed monstrosities, giant-headed hellhounds, devilish Burger King cosplayers, critters with bloodcurdling war cries that make even the bravest Ternis pee – the choice is yours. So, naturally, the damnedest enemy is that slick ball that pops up and then rolls over you. Coarse!
He’s a sneaky bastard, despite his size. There are several traps that dump magic balls your way, usually on stairs or a slope, which sucks, so when I first clocked that evil orb, that’s what I thought I was looking at. Then he turned and chased after me, zigzagging and zagging to match my random retreat. Trap balls seem to have some guiding ability and can move around, but that was a whole other level of agility. On another occasion, I wandered into an empty room, and just as I was reading the message on the floor warning me of my impending doom, I turned to see my old enemy sneaking up behind me, so big as he took up most of the space. Hall. I didn’t make it out alive.
What is it even? A big sensitive ball with a thirst for carnage? A simple weapon, under the control of an invisible assailant? And why can I kill it with swords when masonry and rocks normally laugh at my helpless attempts to destroy them?
And look, I think we can all agree, people should chase bullets, not the other way around. Elden Ring plays with the laws of nature, and I will not accept it.
Find in: Caelid, Mount Gelmir, Farum Azula
Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: No.
I disagree with the inclusion of Godskin enemies in Elden Ring. They would have been better off as cut content than some dataminers could have found years from now. I don’t appreciate having to see them in the game. Slender guys covered in skin that apparently doesn’t belong to them. The skin looks like those texture files you see in games that have flattened faces, ears, and skin, except intentionally rendered. They stretch, flap and slide all over the place and I don’t like any of that.
You can also get the skin as armor. You can wear the skin of a guy you killed who was wearing the skin of another guy. It’s despicable, and if you wear it, you should be arrested.
literally my dog
Find in: Limgrave Fields and Forts
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: Killing wolves in every RPG is already my least favorite thing. I always have to kill them to collect five wolf pelts to make a cape or whatever and when I hit them with a sword that’s twice their size they make the same sound my dog makes when his ball rolls under a sofa – a moan communicating the worst experiences of their respective lives. Elden Ring has wolves I must kill. There are also zombie-like dogs that I have to kill. I would forgive both.
But there are also real giant dogs with beards and collars that I have to kill. I have a giant dog with a beard and a collar! I avoid fighting them at all costs.