Elden Ring Would Be Better If Kicking Wasn’t Locked Behind Weapon Arts

I love kicking. I loved booting partygoers off cliffs in Deathloop and I loved knocking hollows into the abyss in Dark Souls. You could lure the catacomb skeletons to Framp’s little cubbyhole and boot them down to meet the Dreadfather. Kicking is a gaming staple. One of Garry’s Mod's most popular add-ons was the Spartan Kick from 300, letting you shoot Barney right up to the Citadel to rustle Dr Breen’s little white jimmies. But Elden Ring locks kicking behind weapon arts! I just want to shove my boot up Margit’s backside, From.

Elden Ring is Dark Souls 4, but it’s also Dark Souls II 2. So when I dove in, my muscle memory took the wheel. That’s how I got my first death. Right outside Stormveil Castle, there’s a little camp of crusty knights guarding some decrepit ruins and treasure, a few of whom are holding shields. Here’s where that pesky muscle memory got me killed. I tried to kick ‘em because, in older Dark Souls games, that’s how you broke a shield guard. Here, I just sort of moved forward and swung into an immovable wall. Ow. But I thought I cocked it up so I kept trying. Ow. I died.

Later, I find out that you can kick, but only if you use a specific weapon. That’s absurd! Imagine jumping being tied to daggers or dashing being limited to curved swords. It’s as much a part of the Dark Souls feel as those things, but it’s arbitrarily locked off. Elden Ring’s combat is better in nearly every conceivable way, too, even adding horseback fighting into the mix, so it feels weird to step back in this one way.

I was a skeptic. I thought Souls-like on a horse would be clunky and counterintuitive, but I love rushing down hordes of enemies and slicing my greatsword through their chests. I’d love to kick ‘em, too – imagine a horse kick! That bastard horse boss in Dark Souls 2 got to kick me, so it’s only fair.

You can only unlock normal kicking as a transposable weapon art, putting it onto a weapon of your own choosing, but then you lose the cool spin-to-win moves and parrying. I’m being forced to pick between a cinematic twirly whirl or a kick, and it’s upsetting to admit that I’m struggling.

You meet an NPC in Dark Souls called Lautrec. He’s a golden-armoured twat who kills the Fire Keeper, plunging Firelink Shrine into darkness. He’s a cocky little something-something, but knowing this, you can kill him pretty easy before he gets the chance. No, not through a sword fight or anything even remotely resembling honour, but by kicking him off a cliff. He doesn’t aggro.

He’s fine being kicked. That’s whatever – another day in Lordran. So you can boot him right off Firelink, reload your game, and his stuff is sitting there, ready to be nicked. Sorry Lautrec. But now if I meet anyone even slightly dodgy, I can’t kick ‘em! God knows I wanted to kick that ‘edge, lord’ at the Roundtable Hold. Sure, there ain’t a cliff, but I’d have felt good doing it.

Maybe I’ll bite the bullet and get myself a shortsword or maybe I’ll just accept that my days of kicking NPCs and shielded enemies are over, but there’s something so goofy about it that I love. And yes, I do wish I could do a cheeky backward horse kick to knock those poor torch-bearing hollows into the cobblestone. But I can’t. From, I love you, and I love Elden Ring, but lemme boot some bitches.

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