Elden Ring's been out for a fair bit now, which means untold thousands of Tarnished souls have been busy traipsing across the lands between, getting murdered by Margit, riding Torrent off a cliff, being whisked half a world away without consent and writing "dog" next to a tortoise.
But beneath all these deaths and mishaps and miscommunicated canines, who are these unfortunate Tarnished—and more importantly, what fashion trends are they bringing to the frankly squalid wardrobes of The Lands Between? Near enough the entire PC Gamer team has ventured into Elden Ring, and here are the regal, rotten and ridiculous characters we've thrown against the game's killing fields.
Mary of Psamathe
Nat Clayton—Features Producer: Look, I'm nothing if not predictable. On firing up Elden Ring I immediately set to work creating a grim fantasy facsimile of Apex Legends' Horizon (opens in new tab), and in doing so ended up also creating a distressingly uncanny recreation of myself.
But it took a minute to really find a look, something that I attribute to the glacial pace with which Elden Ring doles out new gear. For a while I was rocking some basic scale armour from a merchant, in what can only be described as a kind of barnacle-encrusted Boromir look. But having now killed more than one god, Mary is starting to develop a more bespoke fit.
For a long time she sported a look centred on a red shawl nabbed from the guards at Stormveil, perfect for those cold nights in The Lands Between. Boots and gloves are picked to suggest a glinting past, now buried in rags and furs, with a gold shield (never used) to match. I've kept the fuzzy headband from the Warrior's starting set because it fits surprisingly well, the blue quietly matching the trim at the bottom of the tunic.
It's a light, athletic take on knightly armour, perfect for a twinblade-wielding traveller. But in recent days I've settled on more armoured looks, finally returning to a variation on scaled armour with a new set nicked from a hapless knight. My endgame in all souls games is to find the most knackered armour with the most sweeping cloaks, and I reckon I might've found it here—though after 40+ hours, the Warrior's headband is now a defining part of Mary's look. Perhaps a shame considering how much time I put into tweaking her face, but at this point I feel naked without.
There's still a long road ahead of our time-lost space mom, however, and we'll see how she looks when she finally takes on the mantle of Elden Lord.
Zentarim (of nowhere in particular, but he definitely spent time in a bin)
Fraser Brown—Online Editor: I'm still yet to settle on a look for my sad Tarnished lad. Underneath the armour he's scrawny and dirty and his eye socket is almost certainly infected from the dirty rag he uses to cover it up. Maybe I'll stick with it, or maybe I'll use a magic mirror to change it, but what's really important is what he drapes over his miserable frame.
For most of my time in the Lands Between, I've had him decked out in Kaiden armour, with the exception of his helmet, which is from the Prisoner set he started with, and one of my favourite bits of gear in the game. It looks like something you'd put up your bottom, and that makes me giggle. Sorcery is his thing, but he's a battlemage, so he often ends up duking it out in melee scraps, hence the need for better physical protection than what the light, magic gear offers.
After 50 hours of wearing the same thing, however, I decided it was time to change his wardrobe. I should add that I have a few nifty sets that I'm not showing off because they might be considered spoilers, and also because I don't wear them much because they just don't match the aesthetic I have in mind for ol' Zentarim. The dirty chainmail that gives its wearer a mighty paunch, on the other hand, is much closer. That's how we should measure success in Elden Ring. He started out powerless and skinny, and now he's a big, burly bloke with a devastating arsenal of spells. But! Importantly, he still looks very sad.
Big Aunt Cathy
Wes Fenlon—Senior Editor: When I create a Souls character these days I do so with a single-minded purpose: being an irresistible summon. I want to be the one somebody chooses from a pile of forgettable fantasy names, hopefully because they laughed at the absurdity of my creation. In Elden Ring I'm journeying across The Lands Between as Big Aunt Cathy, a dex/faith Confessor I've styled after the meanest Catholic school nun I could conjure in the character creator. Don't ask her about the eye.
It's hard to tell from this close up, but Big Aunt Cathy is indeed large, pushing the size limits of the Elden Ring character creator. Eventually I'll find the right outfit for her—still practical and stern, but a little nicer than this chained tabard. But style isn't really a priority for Big Aunt Cathy, as you can see from her haircut. As long as she gets to dole out punishment, she's… well, "happy" would imply Cathy has the ability to smile, so we'll go with "fulfilled."
Morgan Park—Staff Writer: This is Left beef, named after the greatest pizza (opens in new tab) of all time. He's a samurai who has inexplicably woken up in a world where pretty much everyone else looks like they came from Europe. That's OK with LB, but it does make him feel like a fish out of water at times. He has considered swapping his clan armor for knight garb he pulled off a dead guy, but it's too heavy and "looks like crap," according to him.
As you can tell from my starting armor, I haven't been adventurous with LB's wardrobe. I'm 16 hours in and still using the stuff I started with. It's not because I don't care, but because I care too much. I really like my samurai armor and can't stand to break up the set for meager stat boosts. When I see friends parading around with helmets that don't match their chestplate or ugly pants that make them faster, I recoil.
I didn't start the game as a samurai just to strap on a knight helmet a few hours later. Also, I really like the dual katana setup I'm running and I'd just feel too weird to swing them wearing anything else. While everyone else is playing Dark Souls 4, Left beef and I are enjoying Sekiro 2.
Tyler Colp—Associate Editor: Okay, this isn’t Ornifex from Dark Souls 2, nor was I trying to make her look like Ornifex from Dark Souls 2. I just liked the name. She’s not a lanky crow lady, she’s a witch with magic spells torn from the stars. She also has a big hat, because sorcerers in Souls games have all had a big hat at one point in their lives.
I’ve finished Elden Ring, so these robes and boots aren’t actually what I wore for the last 15 hours, but they’re a close approximation of what my character is about. She throws little meteors at people and dies a lot to a single jab from enemies. I don’t usually play magic users in Souls games but I decided to finally give it a shot. My character is weak to anything that hits harder than a rat, but damn, does she look good in robes she stole from the academy (please don’t tell them).
Lauren Morton—Associate Editor: When I get into an RPG character creator, my mind just roulettes to characters from other games I like. I knew I was going to play a Warrior in Elden Ring, so behold, Fenris of Dragon Age 2 fame—recognizable by his hair and my best attempt at giving him his lyrium tattoos. I'm that Souls player that wears whatever my biggest, weirdest piece of loot is at any given time, so here he is in this massive horn headband I'm currently enjoying. Although it's making me feel I should have done a The Iron Bull character instead.
Robin Valentine—Print Editor: Egith has already seen some serious shit in his time in the Lands Between, and frankly he has no desire to see any more, so he’s keeping his Prophet blindfold on thanks very much. As a secondary benefit it covers up the enormous scar and harrowing eye bags I cursed him with in character creation.
This is actually my second Tarnished, after a fruitful but ultimately unsatisfying run as a sorcerer, so I’ve not found too much cool gear for him yet. But I’m pretty fond of the rugged, be-furred armour of the Kaiden mercenaries, hard-won in mounted combat. And I’m pleased to have already found a greatsword with the same animations—and stopping power—as the claymore that stayed by my side for almost the whole of the first Dark Souls.
Rich Stanton—News editor: I like to play the Souls games more-or-less naked, and the same goes for my character. The 'light load' increases the effectiveness of dodge-rolling, my little goblin sickle does wild bleed damage, the buckler's for max parry action, and the horns just make me laugh and feel like the boy from Ico. Should've called her Yorda really.