FromSoftware’s Elden Ring is a perfect candidate for this article, and while we’ll likely tackle the Dark Souls games as well down the line, let’s first look at just how much more of a slog the achievements could have been here.
The Elden Ring achievements, despite the game having a reputation for being extremely difficult, could have been a lot worse. Unlike most of the Souls games, you don’t even need to tackle New Game+ as you can save-scum your way to all three endings in one playthrough and there isn’t anything on the list (aside from arguably a few missables) that would require more than one run. With that in mind, let’s fire up the Nonsense Achievement Generator and see just how rough Elden Ring could have been if the team had taken the achievements way too far.
BS GS is an original editorial series from TA where we ruminate on how rough things might have been if developers had taken their achievement lists to the next level. We’ll try to focus on specific details and possibilities rather than simple grinds — one billion kills, play every day for a year, etc. — to keep things interesting, where possible using other instances of ridiculous achievements as a precedent for what we dream up.
Elden Ring — Defeat every boss in the game with a different weapon
There are more than 170 boss fights in Elden Ring, and while an achievement for simply finding and beating every last one would in itself be pretty gross, I thought we could take things to the next level here. Once you get a good build down, it’s not too hard to go on a stomping spree, especially if you return to early dungeons where the bosses tend to be scaled assuming you would reach them at a lower level and end up going down in a couple of hits. So what if the game introduced an arbitrary restriction where the final blow to every boss in the game had to come from a different source of damage?
The first issue here is leaving the comfort zone of a weapon type which clicks with you, as there are nowhere near enough weapons of any one archetype to fulfil this ridiculous condition. It would mean making use of most weapon types in the game, and to make that worse, you’d likely have to use a lot of them with few upgrades unless you farmed like crazy — enhancement materials aren’t exactly easy to come by and while you can buy them once you find the relevant merchants and bell bearings, you’d have to weigh up grinding out Runes to improve gear versus using weaker versions of weapons. And that would only become more of a concern with gear that you didn’t really know how to use well… I’d wager most people who have beaten the game didn’t chalk up a single dagger boss kill (aside from maybe a few people using that crazy Bleed one in the right build), and stuff like whips and fists feel pretty slept on as well. Let’s not forget that weapons come with stat requirements as well, so you’d need to kinda ruin your build by grinding out pretty much every stat just to use some of the equipment available.
But wait, it still gets worse. What about summons? For argument’s sake, let’s say that a final blow from a Spirit Ashes AI summon counts as a unique weapon for the purpose of this stupid achievement, but that would still mean that you’d have to mix up your summons and again only be able to upgrade them so much due to limited resources, or just risk it and hope you get the killing blow yourself with a unique weapon rather than having the summon claim two kills and ruin your run. Player character summons, though? Good luck spending hours summoning other players only to have to dismiss them if they’re using a weapon you’ve already used to thrash a boss just in case they score the kill. How about spells? Even if we say that a unique spell counts as a different source of damage, you would still need the stats to use them, and have to find them in the first place, so it wouldn’t make things that much more manageable. All this ties in to another problem, and that’s tracking. Without any in-game way of seeing which bosses were killed with which weapons, you’d be forced to create a spreadsheet documenting which boss went down to which weapon in order to avoid doubling up, and you could even run into situations where you come across a boss without an unused weapon in your possession and need to nope out and find something else to use.
There’s also the fact that just finding every boss in the game is a mission in and of itself. Some are locked behind questlines, others behind typically abstract conditions for a FromSoftware game, and even the world ones would require thorough exploration to not only clear out every last dungeon in Elden Ring’s gigantic world but with different gear. And sure, this could be cheesed, to a degree, by dealing the majority of boss damage with your favourite loadout, then switching to something else to land the last hit. The problem there is that you’re either having to invest in yet another stat to increase your equip load, or risk menuing in the middle of a boss battle to swap your gear out, and there are plenty of bosses that will absolutely not let you get away with that. This is an already horrible basic achievement — beating every single boss — taken to the next level… imagine killing an endgame boss with a weapon you’ve already used and having to put in dozens more hours just to get back to them in NG+ or a fresh file to run it back. Nope.
Beat Malenia at level 1
Malenia is famously one of Elden Ring’s hardest bosses, and while this could easily have been an achievement for beating the game at L1 to become a Onebro, I thought I’d mix it up to instead involve an optional boss that unlevelled players probably wouldn’t even consider taking on, because they don’t need to. This would be an absolute war of attrition, since your damage output without investment in any stats is going to suck, and you would only need to be clipped by even one of her attacks to give her a ton of health back thanks to her totally fair lifesteal mechanic, if it didn’t kill outright. You would need to spend ages chipping her health down and avoiding countless of instances of the Waterfowl Dance anime combo nonsense, with one mistake likely being all it would take to cost you the attempt. Add in the fact that you would actually have to reach Malenia in the first place, which involves getting most of the way through the game without levelling up, and this would be an absolute nightmare, on so many levels.
Complete the game without summoning Torrent or using fast travel
Let’s chuck in one that is simply disrespectful of players’ time, because those are always ‘fun.’ We can allow story-related teleports because otherwise this is literally impossible, but restricting all other uses of fast travel and the mount would be horrendous. Unless I’m mistaken, I believe there are some optional dungeons that cannot be exited without fast-travelling back to the entrance, which would lead to being able to soft-lock your run without god-tier game knowledge. Oh, and you would just have to walk everywhere, and a bunch of optional areas would end up being off-limits. Worse, some fights are designed to be done on horseback, so you’re making things much harder by not using your mount. I actually have a friend who beat Skyrim without ever using fast travel and I have no idea how he had the patience to do it, but this would probably be even worse.
Collect every weapon
The Souls games often require you to forge all boss soul weapons, and here, even that would lead to multiple playthroughs in order to transform the boss Remembrances into each of their unique weapon options. It would also involve engaging with more or less every vendor and dungeon in the game, getting incredibly lucky with rare item drops from enemies, and keeping a personal checklist of what you’re missing in order to know what you need to do next. Elden Ring does include an achievement for getting all ‘legendary’ armaments, but most of those aren’t actually too bad and only one or two are missable. Getting everything is some next level stuff, and in a world this big, a random dagger in a random chest in a random spot in the open world could be all it takes for you to miss out on this, so you’d need to be on top of your collection at all times to even stand a chance at unlocking this.
And that’ll do it! Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s BS GS shenanigans and if you have any ideas for other good targets for future articles, go ahead and drop them in the comments and we’ll look into them. Any BS achievements of your own that would make Elden Ring an even tougher completion? Let’s hear them!