The End of My Affair with Elden Ring, Monster Hunter, and Health Bars

Think of From Software and your mind immediately drifts to a skeleton rolling forward, right? Or an electrified goat that rolls. Or a bald man kicking you in a hole. And, of course, Tricky Boss fights the West Country’s warped dragons and Fell Omens.

since i’ve been playing monster hunter riseIn what seems to be a succession of ever-increasing boss fights with massively large lizards, I’ve begun to compare these melee elden ringBattle of the Boss. And I think most of their differences come down to the simple health bar, or lack thereof.

Walk through the fog door in the Elden Ring – or any Souls game – and you’ll meet a terrifying thing And its equally awesome health bar. You’ll clip the boss with your halberd and watch it closely to see if the health bar reacts to your liking. Either you’ll notice that a good big chunk has evaporated, at which point you’ll be charged with new energy, or you’ll barely notice a dent in it, at which point you’ll probably open your arms and accept the warm embrace of death. will do. ,

Of course, the health bar isn’t a feature exclusive to the Elden Ring – I get that. But I’ve become more aware of it ever since I’ve bounced between Monster Hunter Rises and The Lands Between. In the thick of the fight, I’m not only ducking and weaving between a few toes, I’m also gathering information from a horizontal bar of red. At the most basic level, it tells me how much pain I’m going through with each setback, but it also has a timer that doesn’t tick until I act on it; A reminder that if I want to be a winner, I have to punch the hourglass and move that sand.

The larger lizards in Monster Hunter Rise don’t have the health bars. You break their scales and some damage numbers pop up. First, it’s a weird esoteric process, where you’re tied up with 7’s and 31’s and 14’s and no means of gathering their meaning, other than sometimes being orange if you tickle a weak spot. Does not happen. But then you learn to follow your intuition and figure out how to make those big orange numbers appear, which is the first step from amateur trapper to Gone Freaks. And as you learn to follow your gut, you learn that the monster’s behavior equates to that red health bar and rejects it outright.

At first, the monsters in Monster Hunter are like athletes who are taught not to give anything emotionally, as if it’s nothing. Pop those numbers up, though, and they’ll start to tire and stagger and even run away from the scene entirely! Elden Ring’s bosses do nothing, only get stronger if you stomp them hard enough.


A hunter and his NPC partner Arlo fight the mighty Sergios in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
Literal scraps of monster litter the landscape after you’ve got a fair amount of melee.

I think both the games approach the challenge differently. The boss of the Elden Ring wants you to feel like you’re up against insurmountable odds and uses its health bars as a tool to apply pressure and encourage bravery. All the time you can see the finish line hanging under your nose and the key is to – literally – hit the baddie and don’t get hit by the baddie. Meanwhile, Monster Hunter fights are messy psychological scraps that can last up to an hour, where the challenge is more in unpicking an animal’s behavior and knowing that it’s as vulnerable as I am: the person taking them as an honor. Cursing on the head with ‘ the great hammer.

The owner of the Elden Ring is the deity and ruler. Spectacled creature and dog statues orbiting an all-mighty tree. As soon as that health bar pops up, it’s a sign that you have to prove that you can survive with a creature that demands excellence. Kill them, and you’re destroying an irreplaceable creature. Compare this to Monster Hunter, where monsters – no matter how dangerous or large – are resources. You build up a routine to cut them more efficiently, even by wearing your own skin to optimize the process. They are frightening and powerful, but they are not out of reach.

While I adore Elden Ring and Souls and appreciate the ecstasy of whistling down nightmare boss For the first time ever, I’m starting to learn about Monster Hunter’s distinctive shortcoming. Yes, they’re two different games with fights that serve a different purpose, but without health bars you really get used to the beast you’re making it out with. Sure, the Elden Ring beats Monster Hunter in terms of the sheer size and scale and importance of its creatures, feeding into the imagination of besting the likes of a monstrous, deformed earwig, but I’d argue that their Health bars keep you at arm’s length, reducing each interaction with these supreme beings to a one-sided affair.


Elden Ring players dressed in Prophet's robes kneel to apply an ashes as Imps run towards them.

Other than a transition into an angry state or a piece of dialogue, Elden Ring – and a lot of other games’ bosses apart from it – rarely show any signs of weakness. Maybe you’re pissing each other off, but they’re low on health other than the health bar, you wouldn’t know it. They are devoid of emotion, swinging at you like you haven’t been in this fight for twenty minutes.

Turn to Monster Hunter, however, and you really do feel like you’re in a scrap that embraces the situation. Remove the health bar and it’s as if the large lizards have been emotionally and physically unlocked, displaying their strengths and weaknesses through behavioral changes, standing for long periods of time and going down the meter. By pointing.

Listen, I’m not saying I want all health bars to disappear. I love the excitement of emptying the bar to zero. I think the reason Monster Hunter disapproves of such a video game staple adds more than subtracts, making the fight a real showcase of the character on both sides, not just one.

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