Elden Ring not having a pause button is not a question of gitting gud

A reader accepts almost all the difficulties of playing Elden Ring but insists that not letting you pause the game is a step too far.

‘Lol, noob.’
‘Git gud scrub.’

If you’ve had the delight of seeing comments similar to this, then you may be aware of Elden Ring, developer FromSoftware’s most recent game that released towards the end of February to rave reviews.

I’m relatively new to their games, but all too familiar with their concept of difficulty, coupled with satisfaction when a particular boss is eventually defeated. Despite a host of different titles, this has been the FromSoftware staple that has garnered them a huge number of fans over the years. This is pretty much their ‘thing’.

For myself, I got carried along with the hype prior to release, and decided the beautiful open world, visual design of the characters, etc. were enough for me to take the plunge.

Here’s the thing though. I’m a wee bit older now. I have a job, kids, a dog that occasionally needs walked… basically, I have commitments. What I don’t have a lot of is time.

Time to devote to besting one particular foe or another who I chase down, only to watch as my health points drain to nothing from one hefty whack of a sword the size of an average five-door saloon, sending me back to a small glow-y fire point, sans any accumulated runes.

Again.

Now, I absolutely, whole heartedly, 100% do not want to suggest a beloved game mechanic from a developer should be replaced with some watered down ‘one size fits all’ that allows for the abilities of most gamers.

However, I have yet to see a valid reason as to why there can’t be a secondary option that caters for people who cannot devote their gaming hours to repetition until eventual success. I’m talking about an option where enemy hits take off slightly less HP, or parry windows are slightly more forgiving… you all know the general gist.

‘But, they’ve never had that option! You need to just get better!’, has been the general response, when I’ve seen the topic on other message groups.

When I mentioned the game was lacking a pause button (a pause button! It’s hardly akin to using a cheat code!) I was told by one chap that not having a pause button was a ‘feature’ of the game.

Let’s be clear here. A skill tree is a feature. Optional dialogue is a feature.

Not including something, is not a feature.

The level of defence I have witnessed from some FromSoftware ‘fans’ (to something that exists in 95% of the games today and would be entirely optional from the start), has been bewildering to be honest. One guy told me that if it was an option, it would ruin his own enjoyment of the game. Baffling.

Don’t like it? Cool. Literally nobody would be asking you to select it. It would not remotely take away from your own personal achievements. And maybe, if it was there, more people might get to try these games that you hold in such a high regard. Or (and this is the elephant in the room) are they regarded so highly, simply because you enjoy the bragging rights of having suffered through to completion?

Still, the devs have spoken about the topic and it seems for now anyway, it is not something they have plans to introduce.

Fair enough. I’m making progress as it is, slowly but surely.

I do wonder though, if FromSoftware introduced a ‘harder’ difficulty… would that be OK?

[Although it’s probably a glitch, and may be patched out in the future, at the moment there is a way to pause the game if you know the trick, as explained here. There are also unofficial mods on the PC to add the option – GC]

By reader Diarmuid

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