Elden Ring is the biggest liar in gaming

Eldon Ring On the surface it looks like your average RPG. It has all the usual components; a fantastical wizarding world, political intrigue, incredibly large weapons, and the promise of fighting the gods at the end. As it turns out, you’re not only fighting one god before the points roll – it’s the least cheating in the game.

Elden Ring ending and full game spoilers below.

Elden Ring is built on deception. It lies to you. Not just one time, but the entire game, making you unwittingly the champion of a cycle of abuse and oppression. It starts from scratch. The scene opens with a grim picture: we’re told that the Eternal Queen Marika is missing, possibly as a result of some unknown third party sabotaging the Elden Ring and throwing the world into civil war. This is the clue to bring the defiled home and restore order.

You only realize later on how problematic this setup is, and how deliberately misleading it is. For now, though, you’re thrown into a sinister church and inevitably die — an inauspicious start to your grand journey.

This is where FromSoft uses its characteristic hands-off storytelling to great effect. Once you get out of the ground, you are faced with a wide world and don’t know where to go. A tutorial project tells you to follow grace, and given that grace is what keeps you alive, it must be the right path.

Grace Ruins Brings Life…but what else?

Where grace leads you is as important as where it does not lead you. Elden Ring pushes you towards Stormveil Castle and Godrick, while Caelid’s Sites of Grace almost drags you towards Redmane Castle and Radahn. If it wasn’t for Lanny’s interference, the Golden Order would be glad you killed them, even Renara. Marika warns her children that they will only be fit for sacrifice if they live up to her expectations, and finger-reader Enya later tells you that the wish of the Great Will is for you to destroy useless demigods.

Grace half-heartedly leads you around the top of the Giant’s Mountain, offering no guidance on finding Malenia or Miqueira (Malika’s favorite child and the least threat to the Golden Order). Meanwhile, the Misty Forest lacks grace of any kind – a glaring omission when you consider evidence of the brutality of the Great Will underground – and Liurnia takes you around other problematic locations such as Gideon The location and connected areas of the massacre and the truth behind the smash.

Favorite child face.

In theory, this grace comes from Marika. If you’re resting at the Pilgrimage Church on the Weeping Peninsula, Melina will appear and call Marika over. The Everqueen promises those who will be defiled that she will restore her grace after her death, allowing them to return to the middle ground to wage war for the Elden Ring and gain strength from death.

However, this is not true. Perhaps Marika is exaggerating, full of arrogance and intent to subvert the golden order she has surpassed. Or maybe it’s an aspect of Ladagon – a faithful servant of the Order – speaking through her. Either way, you’ll learn later that after Marika’s imprisonment, the Greater Will extended grace to the defiled, so one of them would restore the Elden Ring and become the new ruler of the realm.

After carrying out the wishes of the Great Will and killing at least two demigods, the Five Fingers finally revealed the truth: Marika shattered the Ring of Eldon and was imprisoned for the crime. Even that’s not the whole story, though, as fingers conveniently glide around some key facts. Melina tells you at Little Erdtree Church that Marika announced her intention to “explore the depths of the Golden Order” and stop clinging to blind faith, which may be the beginning of her growing disillusionment with her divine Overseer when.

Melina said what Marika said in the past.

Regardless, Enia’s revelation goes against everything the game has told you so far…but it’s also when fingers conveniently reveal that you’re the one they’ve chosen. Just as the Great Will seduced the tainted with promises of glory and opportunities at the Elden Ring, now they seduce you with greater lies, promising a new era.

This is a lie. The normal ending and its variants are both fake and not even close to the new order. Ranni is the only being in The Lands Between who can overthrow the Order at this point, even though Melina believes she, and then you, can. Melina envisions a world free from Erdtree’s rule, and seems to believe that burning Erdtree would be enough to break the hold of the Golden Order, perhaps freeing Marika and allowing her rebellion against the Greater Will to continue.

The question, though, is Marika, or what else is left of her. At the end of your journey, Marika actually exists as a vessel for the Elden Ring, her body is lifeless, the Radagon is wiped out, and the remains of her body succumb to the Ring’s burden forever. Repairing any ending to the ring involves replacing Marika’s shattered head over her scarred body. This is intentional. The order you help maintain is as empty as Marika’s empty body – as irretrievably broken.

Would you reject a child so…holy?

This is a world where parents refuse their so-called cursed children to be born different, as Marika and Godfrey did to Mogot and Mogg. Friends would break their bonds of friendship if one of them dared to hold an idea that contradicted orthodoxy, and scholars like Brother Colin were afraid to seek out knowledge for fear that it might upend tradition.

Age of Fracture lives up to its name and is perhaps the only whole truth in the entire game. This is a broken age of ancient lords and lifeless puppets; one that supports the stifling rule of a great will, and the other is now forever powerless to challenge it.