Elden Ring doesn’t make players wait too long before it dishes out a couple of essential tools: the spectral steed Torrent, and the ability to summon other spectral allies in combat. It’s very satisfying to ring a bell and see a pack of ghostly wolves appear to rip my enemies apart. But there’s one big, goofy summon I much prefer, even if I’m not actually sure if it’s more efficient. That’s the jellyfish, because he is my friend.
As soon as I made it past the Gatefront Ruins and ran past the slopes up to a castle, dodging a giant the entire way, I met a young lady named Roderika in a castle. She was very sad because all of her men, who had come to the Lands Between to fight for her, had been delimbed and subsumed into a big chrysalis. She was trying to work up the nerve for the same fate. Hey, lady, I didn’t come here to hear your life story! But I hung out and chatted with her for a bit, and she eventually gave me my jellyfish summon, whom I informally named Bubbles. Bubbles and I have been inseparable ever since.
A moon witch was kind enough to give me a Summoning Bell, which I can use to call any Spirit Ash, like the wolves — who are fine — or my boy Bubbles. I pull out my bell, give it the ol’ tinkle-tinkle, and Bubbles rocks up to the party. While the wolves are constantly leaping, gnashing, and circling their prey, the jellyfish is much more polite. He benignly floats along, and sometimes my enemies don’t even seem to notice he’s there even after our blades clash.
But then my jellyfish friend bloops out a spray of red ink. It hardly does damage; it seems more like an annoyance than anything. But that’s why I love it. It doesn’t look threatening — but then it makes all the difference. After being slain a dozen times by a particularly annoying goon with a spear and shield in the ruins, I brought my jellyfish friend along. This time, as spear guy charged at me and I deflected his attack, I had a moment of respite as Bubbles blasted him in the back with the good juice.
Every time Bubbles attacks a guy, it doesn’t look particularly painful. Instead, enemies just seem a bit flustered. They stagger forward, shake it off, and try to re-collect themselves. Other times, they seem to decide they’ve had enough, and actively run over to beat Bubbles’ giant amorphous ass. This opens them up nicely for a counterattack.
Have I made much progress in the game? No. Do I feel myself improving, growing increasingly accustomed to the thrill of triumph as I perfect my reflexes? Also no. It’s just me and Bubbles out here, baby, and we’re gonna go beat the Tree Sentinel up.