Coming off my Halo: Infinite review (where I applied a serious eco-critical lens1 to a big game because I thought it would be funny), I’ve now done the same for Elden Ring, which has proven more difficult to talk about cohesively. Its merits go a lot further in regards to complex symbolism and literary ambition (even in world construction and micro-biomes), but it fails to enliven its ecology in similar ways that most videogames fall prey to.
So what is it saying about the natural world? Can its failures be pinned on the RPG genre? Are there any dense forests that take more than a minute to walk through? Let’s find out together.