I pitied Shadow of the Erdtree's future 'Let Me Solo Her' champion, but seeing how the Elden Ring community's handled business, I'm not so worried anymore

Elden Ring character Let Me Solo her stands in Malenia's boss room after climactic battle.
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Just a heads up before we get into this—spoilers ahead for the last boss of Shadow of the Erdtree. You've been warned, weary Tarnished.

Let's talk about Promised Consort Radahn, shall we? If you've been playing FromSoftware games since the OG days of Dark Souls 1 and Demon Souls, you'll have noticed a steady power creep happening. There was a time where bosses like Artorias of the Abyss were feared, where Ornstein and Smough's wombo combos would send even the most hardened gamer into a cold sweat.

Nowadays, looking at their slow swings, telegraphed leaps, and one-to-two hit combos, I can't help but wonder how I was ever so innocent. If you're fresh off the back of Shadow of the Erdtree, I invite you to go ahead and watch some footage of them or, better yet, re-download Dark Souls and take it for a spin. With wearier eyes, these chumps look like they're swinging through treacle.

Granted, with this new increase in difficulty comes an increase in build variety. The skill floor for engaging in a FromSoftware game has kept pace with the ways in which said game can be torn apart with mechanical wizardry. Back in my day we didn't have spirit ashes, and if we were stuck on a boss? That was it. There was no more game to play until we got good.

Still, the fact remains: FromSoftware bosses hit harder, swing faster, and drag their combos on for longer than they ever have. Their attacks are fiercer, trickier to read, and sometimes—in the case of Malenia's infamous Waterfowl dance—require a hyper-specific set of inputs to even start dodging.

Erdtree's final boss, Promised Consort Radahn, feels like the end of a long and winding road of design decisions. He is, in a lot of ways, an example of everything "wrong" with FromSoftware's new boss template. At a baseline, his combos will drag on for hours—but he's manageable. Then phase two kicks in like a sledgehammer to the head.

Every sequence of attacks is punctuated by a light show, every swing has its own area-of-effect blast accompaniment, and every other attack is a waterfowl dance: Dodgeable only in theory, but requiring hours of trial-and-error to discover the magic input sequence that gets you past him unscathed.

Compared to Malenia, a boss so infamous that her parting death dialogue (yours, not hers) is seared into most Elden Ring players' brains, Radahn is still a step above.

I finally put him to rights, though—and as I set down my controller, my thumbs sore from hours of movements that just don't take place in the natural world—I had the thought. "Gee, the 'Let Me Solo Her' champion of Radahn 2.0 has their work cut out for them, no matter who takes on the mantle." I've even been planning to write about it. I'm glad I held off, because I have never been proven more wrong.

"There's always a bigger fish" needs an update. Turns out that there is not only a bigger fish, but that said fish will make you look like a clown in one of your favourite videogames. Here's a summary of Radahn kills that're squatting rent-free in my brain, lately:

And you might think—Harvey, those are very specific builds. Parrying aside, surely you're just describing cheese, here? And to that I'd say, someone beat him using a saxophone. The indomitable human spirit is both real and specifically designed to heap shame upon my gamer skills. My noble house may never recover.

I have larger concerns surrounding what FromSoftware's next step will mean for the layman player—as a developer, it really doesn't have a lot of room left to explore. Modern Miayazaki's torture facilitators already cause problem for certain builds with their vicious attacks, making many incantations complete trash by sheer virtue of long cast times.

But that's a separate issue. As the ingenious and dedicated souls community has so thoroughly proven to me, when it comes to filling the shoes of FromSoftware folk lore, I'm now convinced that the next "Let Me Solo Her" will be just fine.


Erdtree map fragments: Uncover the Land of Shadow
Scadutree fragments: How to level up in Erdtree
Erdtree bosses: A full hit list for the DLC
Leda quest: Track the Erdtree main quest
Sir Ansbach quest: Help the former servant of Mohg
Hornsent quest: Complete the quest for vengeance

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.