So I got to play Elden Ring for a few hours, and it’s superb. It’s beautiful and inscrutable, as vicious as it is inviting, and I can’t wait to play more when it lands on February 25. Between times, though, there’s something far more important that needs addressing – a mysterious and powerful boon without equal. It lurks in the heights of Stormveil Castle, a harrowing stronghold brimming with brawny soldiers, giant rats, corpse-stitched horrors, and sword-swinging birds. It marks a reward for enduring everything the fortress throws at you. It’s a very special treasure indeed.
It’s the Mimic Veil.
Imitation is the highest form of splattery
I found this item during my Elden Ring hands-on preview while exploring the higher chambers of Stormveil Castle, a simple chest at the back of a nondescript room with a pretty nondescript soldier nearby. I cut down the goon with a blast of arcane energy and cracked open the chest, not expecting to find anything special inside. Boy, was I wrong.
The Mimic Veil is a simple inventory item that can be triggered at any time for a very minor mana cost. Its effect is simple: it turns you into a random innocuous object. Shrubs, statues, crates, whatever – you become a part of the scenery, capable only of moving at a slow pace, a dark fantasy Solid Snake slouching around in a battered cardboard box. If an enemy spots you, they’ll see you in your new and assumed form, a box of helmets or an inanimate shrine suddenly looking a lot more animated as it slides down the paths of the Lands Between.
Of course, that assumes enemies do spot you. From the moment I found the Mimic Veil, I began to test its limitations, and they are delightfully few. The casting cost is minor, a mere 7 FP, and it has unlimited uses if you can keep finding ways to refuel your mana. You can’t jump, attack, block, cast spells, or use items while disguised, but prompting any of these actions immediately deactivates the Veil, meaning you can instantly leap into combat mode should your foes realise the deception. And, excitingly, most enemies can’t actually tell you are playing Hide and Seek, unless they physically see you moving around while in disguise. Stay frozen in place, and they’ll never realise you’re there.
The mimic gimmick
So here’s how it went for me: I was beetling about the parapets of Stormveil, already beginning to struggle after several near-fatal encounters with guards. Up ahead, I spied a rather austere-looking commander, dutifully patrolling his route. He’d definitely be more than I could handle, but then again, would I have to handle him at all?
I vanished in a puff of cowardice, replaced in a flash by a harmless fern which shuffled surreptitiously out behind him when he wasn’t looking. When the Commander reached the end of his patrol route and pivoted on one heel to look back behind him, I froze. I guess Stormveil’s forces aren’t hired for their thinking power, as he didn’t seem particularly concerned by the sudden appearance of a large plant where a moment ago there had been only flagstones. Ambling back up towards me, I remained still, immobile even as he stepped around me to continue on his path.
When his patrol route took him into a storage room, this time the fern followed close behind. Had anybody been watching, they would’ve seen an illusory shimmer as the leaves faded away, revealing a shadowy figure with an upraised sword – and heard a strangled cry, cut short to a bloody gurgle.
A moment later the fern reemerged, looking oh-so-innocent in the crisp morning sun. Through a window it spotted the silhouette of another guard, and began to move with careful purpose through the dusty halls. The hunt begins again, in what is surely the most FromSoftware take on photosynthesis imaginable.
God, I cannot wait for this game.
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