An Elden Ring player is convinced that enemies in the game are able to read inputs after a Runebear performed its notorious lunge moments before even being hit for the first time. Input reading in Elden Ring has been a multifaceted conversation since launch, with various perspectives existing in spite of attempts to reach a conclusion.
Elden Ring Runebears are a notorious enemy for their intimidating speed, dubious hit-boxes, and one particular attack which some players believe requires telepathy to reliably dodge. Outside of Flying Dragon Agheel, Runebears are likely to be the largest enemy players will come across during their opening hours of the game, and anyone who was transported to Mistwood by Patches’ chest knows exactly how intimidating they can be. For anyone wishing to test out the behaviors of this particular Runebear, teleport to the Gate Town Bridge Site of Grace and travel south, which is where the not-so-cuddly bear will be, guarding a Sliver of Meat from the skeleton underneath it.
In a video uploaded to Reddit by u/dynamicflashy, the player character is seen crouched, sneaking towards a stationary Runebear. This Tarnished is prepared, having already applied Order’s Blade to their Guardian’s Swordspear, and approaches the unsuspecting furry behemoth with a shield in hand. Once near enough, the player performs the Impaling Thrust skill, infused into the halberd, expecting to inflict a significant hit before the Runebear is able to react.
However, as the animation for the Ash of War begins, the Runebear repositions itself, instantaneously entering the animation for an infamous lunge attack. Although the player makes contact, the Runebear’s poise is far too great for it do anything but bounce off, and the poor Tarnished is flung backwards off their feet as the offended beast rams itself into them. The caption for the video is “Elden Ring doesn’t have input reading,” which is placed in quotes to emphasize the sarcasm.
The most meaningful discoveries regarding input reading are summarized in a YouTube by Zullie the Witch, a Dark Souls hacker who popularizes revelations about FromSoftware titles that are hidden within the programming and design. Essentially, as they explain, input reading does not exist in Elden Ring, but the system that replaces it can often be indistinguishable to the player. Specific animations will come with a unique flag, which indicates to the NPC that it should perform a specific response. An example of this is, when using ranged projectiles against a boss, it will leap to the side in an attempt to evade. Some believe this to heighten the negative feeling of artificial difficulty, while others argue that it teaches the player to only act at truly safe moments. Either way, with what has been a FromSoftware staple to punish particular actions for years, just like in Sekiro whenever the player attempts to use their Healing Gourd against Genichiro, gamers can expect this trend to continue.
Elden Ring is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.