The less I try to ‘git gud’ at Elden Ring, the more I like it

I tread cautiously into a deep subterranean cavern, the path ahead of me lit only by the impossible canopy of stars hanging above my head. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in this place – I didn’t even know the Siofra River existed until a few moments ago. I can’t easily escape to more familiar territory, and everything here wants to kill me and does it very well. So far, so Elden Ring, right?

To the right. But. The difference here is me: I don’t hope to find sweet loot on a withered corpse that hangs on the edge of a crumbling monument dedicated to forgotten gods, nor do I make an effort to “complete “another area as I chart a destructive course through The Lands Between. I am here because my curiosity, guided only by a map deliberately more evocative than instructive, led me here. I don’t know what I’ll find here or what I’ll do when I find it, and it makes every shady nook an uncharted corner of my own adventure even if it’s a dead end.