The encounter against the Fire Giant could have been interesting, if it didn’t also mark the moment that Elden Ring starts to skew the balance of every enemy out of proportion with the rest of the game. With the giant arena that allows the boss to be challenged while riding on the spirit steed Torrent, it’s unfortunate that the fight doesn’t hold up to being the high point that players might expect on arrival.
Most of the issue with the Fire Giant come down to the massive health bar of the enemy, along with the insane damage that the boss can inflict with even a single attack. These problems become the start of a trend for the final stretch of Elden Ring where bosses and regular enemies can one-shot any build that didn’t specifically focus Vigor through to the second soft cap.
The Fire Giant’s Moveset is a High Bar for FromSoftware
Getting any giant boss to work in the Soulslike formula FromSoftware has built can be a tricky combination of finding the right arena to house the encounter and giving the camera enough space to see oncoming attacks. While Elden Ring stumbles on pulling the camera back often enough, the arena is perfectly fit for the Fire Giant, giving the boss ample space to move around and a moveset that makes positioning critical. It’s a boss that can easily overwhelm a player, but the space opens up the opportunity to retreat or charge as needed in the moment.
In fact, there are few times that the player isn’t adequately warned about an oncoming attack from the Fire Giant, even when most of the enemy’s body is offscreen. Between audio ques and long windups that keep a consistent pace from one attempt to another, the boss maintains plenty of unfair advantages, but never outright cheats to get the win. This means that Elden Ring’s Fire Giant might crush players into dust with little effort, but the strategy for victory is something that anyone who has already made the trip all the way to Mountaintops of the Giants should be capable of.
The Fire Giant’s Health Pool and Damage Outmatch the Fair Combat
Where the Fire Giant falls shortest is unfortunately not in the mechanical design of his combat, but in the raw numbers of his stats. As mentioned before, the Fire Giant is incredibly strong, with the ability to instantly kill any character with lower than roughly 40 Vigor, although 60 is the minimum to safely tank more than one hit. To put that in perspective, the highest starting Vigor in Elden Ring is 15 with the Vagabond. This means that surviving a single hit from the Fire Giant requires players to spend at least 25 levels on health alone.
On top of being able to wipe the majority of players who don’t dump into Vigor early, the Fire Giant also has a massive health bar to match his incredible strength. In total, the Fire Giant has a whopping 43,263 hit points on a standard playthrough, nearly 8,000 more than Elden Ring’s final bosses Radagon and Elden Beast combined. While this obviously doesn’t become part of the trend moving forward, it does highlight the fight as being excessively long and can leave the player with a poor impression of the final stretch of the game.
What does become the trend after the Fire Giant is the way that bosses and even regular enemies will be able to one-shot the player if their Vigor is 40 or below. The stat requirements to survive the later areas of the game turn what could have been an interesting final dungeon in Crumbling Farum Azula a slog with some miserable encounters sprinkled around. It’s especially unfortunate that the mechanics of the Fire Giant and every other boss in Elden Ring’s final boss gauntlet are incredible, but held back by something as simple as numbers that are too high in the background coding.