If you've played any of FromSoftware's games, then you know what the (raw) deal is here - you're going to die over...and over...and over again. Elden Ring is no different in that regard - basic enemies can wipe you out in just a few hits, there are traps & sneaky enemy placements seemingly placed around every corner, and you'll need to take things slow if you have any hopes of surviving every battle encounter you find yourself in. Combing through vast locales such as the Limgrave, Stormwell Castle, and Caelid definitely produced moments of wonder. But my hopes of making any sort of meaningful progress were quickly dashed away as my lowly samurai got destroyed more often than not.
The combat mechanics at the heart of Elden Ring retain everything that the Demon's/Dark Souls series rests its hat on. Careful offensive/defensive maneuvers and memorizations of enemy attack patterns are essential here - mindlessly hacking and slashing won't get you very far. Even though I abided by the game's demanding ruleset when it comes to combat, I just couldn't hold my own against much of anything as my time within it wore on. I am proud to say that I brought down one of the game's main bosses (Margit, the Fell Omen) during my umpteenth try. The fact that you can call upon the aid of AI-controlled characters during certain boss battles is perfect for noobs like me. But at the end of the day, you still have to do most of the work if you want to emerge from those epic clashes alive.
After I finally defeated Margit, my Elden Ring experience began to feel like nothing but pure torture. I tried my hardest to navigate Stormveil Castle but was continually massacred by towering knights, agile eagles equipped with metal talons, and disfigured dogs that bit through my shield as if it were nothing but a chew toy. Then I fast traveled to another location to make some headway in another part of the map called Caelid. And as I made my way through there, I encountered a rampaging dragon that burned me to a crisp in seconds. When I finally managed to navigate past it, I was met with a poisonous river ruled by unmanageable foes. Choosing to go in the opposite direction of that river allowed me to venture through a fallen kingdom filled with brutal spirits that could wipe me out in one or two hits via their sweeping sword attacks and magical bullets that regularly killed me when I least expected them to. To say that I was at the end of my rope at this point is an understatement.