When one shares a hobby with their friends, it’s inevitable that you’ll want to make recommendations now and again. Be it movies, books, anime or any number of other media, we have this impulse to share things we like with people we think will appreciate it. Of course, not all recommendations pan out well. Sometimes that movie or show you like just won’t hit with your friend. Worse yet, they might even hate it. This can be bad with relatively inexpensive things like a movie or a book, but what about when it’s something expensive like a game? Now you’ve got a pickle on your hands: how to salvage this recommendation that went so very wrong? Is it even possible I wonder?
This idea has been bouncing around in my mind of late because this is exactly what happened when I recommended Elden Ring to a few of my friends. I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit since I got it, which came as quite a surprise since I wasn’t a Dark Souls fan before. I thought that since I wound up having this reaction, some of my friends would too. Well, I was both right and wrong on that. One wound up getting way into it like I have; one is slowly working their way in, and one got stuck so bad that they want to quit only a few hours in. As the one who encouraged the purchase, well I’m feeling a bit responsible.
As anyone who’s played a Souls game or even just watched them on YouTube before knows, Soulsborne games are not easy. You have to be cautious and treat every enemy with care in order to succeed, and often that isn’t even enough. Patience and persistence are what win the day in this series, and I’ve been finding that Elden Ring is no exception in this regard. The difference is that Elden Ring allows players to tackle things whenever they want. Is a boss too hard? Then go somewhere else until you’re strong enough to defeat it.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way when I first started, and I think it was only because I had co-op buddies to play with that I got over the early game hump. What do you do though if someone is having a bad time in the game, and you can’t offer your services as a summon because they’re on a different platform? My solution was to point them towards the Elden Ring discord, but I suppose that doesn’t make a good case, does it? If the game is too hard to be played solo, then that’s a problem, right?
With Elden Ring, I feel the answer shouldn’t be “git gud,” but rather “find help.” Find items, explore, level up, level up a spirit helper, do something! If finding buddies outside the game is what it takes, then that’s what it takes. That said though, I think experiences like this just illustrate that we need to be careful when it comes to recommendations. It’s important to consider what kind of gamer a person is before making a recommendation.
If they tend to shy away from platformers, then they’re probably not going to like Mario. If they dislike trying to beat difficult bosses, then chances are that they won’t like Elden Ring. I didn’t take that into account and thus one of my buddies is now out $60 on a game they’re decidedly not having a good time in. Ah well, hopefully they’ll be able to enjoy it someday, but for now I guess it’ll just have to serve as a learning experience for everyone involved.
Have you had any game recommendations go wrong? How’d it happen and how did it turn out?
image from the Elden Ring website