Technically I beat Margit the Fell Omen, one of the hardest Elden Ring bosses, on my sixth attempt. I say "technically" because I beat Margit the same way I've been getting through most of Elden Ring: with a lot of help.
Though the discourse surrounding Elden Ring and its difficulty can be spicier than the poison swamps Hidetaka Miyazaki loves so much, I am unabashedly leaning on other people to get through this game. Whether that's summoning other players whenever I can or turning to friends and family for advice, I'm not playing Elden Ring alone. And while some veterans might argue I'm robbing myself of a traditional Souls experience, Miyazaki himself told PlayStation Blog (opens in new tab) that FromSoftware made it easier to enjoy multiplayer in the hopes that "players embrace that idea of receiving help from others." I'm not just embracing that idea, I'm holding onto it with a vice-like grip.
Felling the Fell Omen
I've never properly played a Souls game before, so a lot of its features aren't obvious to me from the outset. For instance, there's no way for a newcomer to know what the summoning spot just outside Margit the Fell omen's boss gate is for – hell, I thought it was just an omen, warning me of my impending doom. After all, the totems look a lot like the Jesus on the cross statues that decorated the Catholic household that I grew up in, so I just assumed it's a bit of world-building.
Thankfully, my partner (a Soulslike vet) has been backseat-driving my Elden Ring playthroughs. I was seconds away from crossing the gate when he snatched the controller out of my hand, crafted a few Furlcalling Finger Remedies, and told me exactly what to do. After consuming one of the Remedies, a litany of gold summoning signs appear at my feet, spread out across the curved hallway leading to Margit like a beautiful yellow brick road. Standing over each summoning sign revealed potential supporters, like a samurai with a bow on his back named Alucard and a pink-haired knight called '90s Dad Vibes'. I summon those two first, unaware that window shopping is a good idea, and head through the mist to face Margit. The samurai immediately jumps off the edge of the map, and the punk princess in chainmail can't make up for my inferior skills. We fall to the Fell, but I'm emboldened by the idea that I don't have to face the boss alone, like a schoolkid bringing her two friends to flank her when confronting a bully.
A few more attempts end in failure, and when the Elden Ring servers start to get a bit wonky, making summoning nearly impossible, I consider giving up. I then realize that one summoning sign remains constant – an NPC by the name of Rogier. I call him to arms, and just as I'm ready to step through the veil, another summoning sign appears. Clad only in a bra and panties and rocking a Brooklyn-esque shag, 'Marika' answers my call. And boy, am I glad she did.
As soon as we cross the veil, Marika hits Margit with what I later learn is the Comet Azure spell – a blindingly bright blue vortex emanates from her staff and absolutely decimates Margit, knocking out two-thirds of his health. With Margit knocked down several pegs, I'm confident enough to run in and smack him a few times with my special slash, and he's dead faster than I can call him maidenless.
Summons on summons
Margit's defeat solidifies my Elden Ring philosophy: get by with a lot of help from friends (and randoms). Wherever I can activate a summoning pool, I do so, but Elden Ring's multiplayer systems are so unreliable I can't use them as much as I'd like. Summoning signs won't appear even after 15 minutes, or attempts to summon are met with a barrage of "unable to summon cooperator" messages. Though there's often an NPC outside of boss gates that you can bring into the fight, they aren't strong enough to carry me all the way through. I rage quit outside of Godric's boss gate after nearly an hour of failed summoning and one successful summon where I immediately roll off a cliff.
After polling some friends, I'm told to spend more time exploring the Lands Between instead of trying to summon my way through the campaign bosses. My partner points out areas on the map that he's visited that shouldn't overwhelm me, and I spend the day dropping into catacombs and getting more comfortable with parrying. "That was clean," he tells me after I take out a crystalline woman wielding a ringblade entirely on my own, "So, Godric?" I've clearly passed some type of Soulslike test, so I fast travel back to just outside Godric's gate.
I head into my second attempt at Godric far more confident in my own abilities, but still planning to rely on summons to make this boss a bit easier. The Elden Ring servers are working quite well this time and I immediately call in a player known only as 'Frog'. They're wearing only the severed head of an Albinauric and dingy underwear, and are wielding a small dagger – the mark of a sweaty Elden Ring player, if Marika is any indication. Sure enough, Frog is incredibly OP, and dashes in to swipe Godric with the dagger, poisoning him to the point where he's down to nearly a third of his health. Sadly, Frog is then immediately smacked into another realm, and my shock at the entire ordeal means I don't react quickly enough to Godric's dragon arm and get burnt to a crisp.
"You need to keep the heat off Frog," my partner explains. "Go in and swipe at Godric enough so he won't flatten the people you've summoned." I eat another Furlcalling Finger Remedy and summon the first two people who show up. We bow and emote at each other, as is customary, before crossing into the mist.
Like a pack of dogs we take turns dashing in and nipping at Godric's ankles, pulling back just in time to avoid a massive swipe from the boss. For three solid minutes we dance around Godric in an unspoken yet perfectly in-sync performance until the bastard is dead at our feet. My two collaborators sit down immediately after he falls, waiting to be summoned back to their world. I bow, shout thank yous that fall on deaf ears, and use a little Prattling Pate item to tell them they are "wonderful." As they fade away, blinking out of existence, I feel the prickle of tears in the corner of my eye. Finally, I can play a Souls game, and I don't need to do it alone.
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