If you're starting a fresh run in Elden Ring before the expansion, I can't recommend the Seamless Co-op mod highly enough

Seamless Co-op Mod
(Image credit: FromSoftware, LukeYui)

Let me pitch you on a Don Draper-style rebrand for Elden Ring. I'm calling this new version of the game, which is nothing like the challenging experience you may have had inching your way through the Lands Between the first time around, Elden Ring For Bullies.

Behind this pitch is the Seamless Co-op mod. It's a beautiful thing: in the hands of two experienced Souls players, this mod transforms Elden Ring's world full of deadly enemies into a playground of hapless Muppet babies ready to be pushed off their slides and tipped headfirst into their sandboxes. "Now Don," you might say. "That's just cruel! What kind of twisted jerk would want to be such a bully?"

I do. I am.

And I'm not alone. I know my audience: Those of us who cursed our way through the poison swamp of Dark Souls' Blighttown, who tore our hair out when Sekiro's Guardian Ape stood back up after we cut off its head, who fought Elden Ring's Malenia 20 times over until we finally managed to dodge the entirety of her damn Waterfowl Dance without being sliced to bloody ribbons. There's nothing we crave more than sliding the icy knife of vengeance into a FromSoftware game's ribs while whispering "remember me?" 

That's been my glorious experience replaying Elden Ring with the Seamless Co-op mod in recent weeks, accomplishing in maybe 12 hours what took me dozens the first time around. The mod removes all of the frustrating limitations of standard co-op in Elden Ring. Instead of giving up Torrent each time I wanted to hop into a session with a friend to take on a random overworld Mad Pumpkinhead or Night's Cavalry, my co-op partner and I were free to cruise all around the map. We took a quick sojourn over to Caelid on horseback to nab me the Meteor Staff before bouncing over to a cave to stock up on smithing stones to juice up my companion's flail. Instead of putting up with Elden Ring's awkward desummon-resummon process every time we wanted to cross a threshold into a catacomb or legacy dungeon, we just… walked through the door. We voted on fast travel locations from the map screen and zipped to whatever site of grace was convenient for our next mission targeting a particular Erdtree Avatar or hunting for a spell to grow my glintstone repertoire.

Survive the Lands Between with these Elden Ring guides

Elden Ring storyteller

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Elden Ring guide: Conquer the Lands Between
Elden Ring bosses: How to beat them
Elden Ring map fragmentsReveal the world
Elden Ring weapons: Arm yourself
Elden Ring armor: The best sets
Elden Ring Smithing Stone: Upgrade your gear
Elden Ring Ashes of War: Where to find them
Elden Ring classes: Which to choose

Some jankiness aside—an invisible Torrent here, a weird bug preventing one of us from doing any crafting there, the occasional dragon mysteriously dying without us ever touching it—this mod offers the exact FromSoftware experience I've always wanted. "Seamless" really is the perfect word for it. It's incredibly liberating to play a Souls game without having to go through the process of re-summoning each other in a new area after every boss fight, or repeating every area twice over to earn the progress for the both of us. Seamless Co-op makes Elden Ring feel like a true cooperative game through and through, rather than a cooperative experience cobbled together around FromSoftware's trademark odd online systems.

I'm very glad to have the option to play the game this way, though I don't necessarily think Seamless Co-op is the way anyone should experience Elden Ring the first time around. It is a bit buggy, and not the best way to experience even the small bits of story in the game. But the issues are minor and never amounted to more than speed bumps in my experience, as I wrote about in our Elden Ring co-op guide.

The other reason to save Seamless Co-op for a second playthrough is that there's real charm and flavor to be found in the way FromSoftware has always structured its multiplayer. Summoning random players can lead to some memorable and hilarious moments, whether they enter your game looking like a complete badass and then immediately eat shit, or effortlessly lead you through a level that's been kicking your ass. Being invaded, as maddening as it can be, is also core to the Souls experience. Nothing gets my adrenaline pumping like sitting on a huge stockpile of souls (runes, whatever) and seeing that red specter running towards me.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

You lose out on those experiences with the Seamless Co-op mod. But what you gain is being able to sit in Discord with a friend and play Elden Ring for hours with practically no interruptions, and for a second playthrough I can't imagine a better way to experience it. I loved Elden Ring, but also found it so huge that a replay felt daunting; I really didn't want to redo so much of the game, or make my way across such a spread out world trying to remember what I should do and what I should skip. Playing in co-op greatly simplified that decision-making process, because my friend and I each remembered certain things about the world the other didn't.

And the limited amount of time we had to play together gave us focus: we were out to see how far we could get as quickly as we could do it, rather than puttering around redoing everything. 

We chatted about our builds, working out a complementary setup. He'd go strength with heavy attacks ideal for staggering enemies; I'd go magic, pelting them with damage without getting too close. We'd ignore most of the NPCs except the ones that helped us access helpful equipment. And our ability to deal two types of damage at once, plus our combined experience with the game, meant we could cleave through Elden Ring at a breakneck pace, beating most bosses in just a few tries. While I hurl spells as a pure glass cannon, my pal rolls around jump attacking with dual flails, staggering even the toughest bosses in a couple mega smacks. Together we bodied Margit and Godrick, embarrassed Rennala right out of Raya Lucaria, and made the legendary Radahn look like a big chump on a tiny horse.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The caveat: If you're starting up a second (or third…) tour through Elden Ring is that you need a co-op partner who's just as Souls-pilled as you are. The real joy of this run for me has been how efficiently we've been able to tear through the game, and I can't take too much of the credit for that myself. What I'm saying, really, is that you need a Jeremy: that's my co-op pal who has beaten Elden Ring a handful of times and most of the other Souls games dozens more. Everyone should have a Jeremy; if you love FromSoftware games and don't have a friend who makes your enthusiasm for them look downright casual, I recommend finding one. Your Jeremy may not have beaten Sekiro while sharing half the controller with his wife, but I realize that's setting the bar pretty high.

Even if your staunchest Souls ally isn't superhuman, I can't recommend Seamless Co-op highly enough as a way to get back into Elden Ring after a two year absence. While the mod likely won't work with Shadow of the Erdtree right at launch, its developer does plan to release an update to support the expansion. That should give you time to struggle through Shadow of the Erdtree once, sans-mod, before diving back in for the fast, furious, paint-the-town-red co-op run. There's no need for fear in the Seamless Lands Between. Embrace your transformation from bullied to bully, because being the baddies just feels so damn good.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).