It took just over a week for someone to run fast on the Elden circuit. But the race for the fastest time was just beginning.
The first ever recorded sprint was clocked in under two and a half hours. After two days, the game was completed in less than an hour. Once it was scored, it was hit. By April, it had been completed in less than ten minutes.
Playing a game like Elden Ring, with its bleak open world, never appealed to me. I am a hard player. Instead of rushing, I like to savor every grim discovery, every terrifying enemy. I set up my rules, finishing each area of the map before moving on; Not to enter the stinging Caelid until every dusty nook and cranny of Raya Lucaria Academy has been explored.
That’s why my first playthrough took over 110 hours.
But the Elden Ring has proven to be an inspiration for gamers throughout the year, with a whole gamut of creative and unique ways to play that go way beyond sprinting.
Take Let Me Solo Her, the community icon who single-handedly defeated the game’s most famous boss – Malenia – on behalf of defeated players a thousand times. When many suffer from the challenges of FromSoftware games, one gamer took our collective frustration on their back. Publisher Bandai Namco even gave them a sword for their service.
Other players moved to the next level. One adventure completed the game using only one hand, beating every boss without leveling up her character. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, I did it again with a dance board. Then I played with both hands and feet at once.
Tarnished’s other beloved Tarnished made music while playing, and released a video of her beating Margit with her ukulele. It may not be melodically interesting, but the synergy of player and instrument is a whole new kind of music.
Rudeism, known for its custom creative controllers, decided to play through the Elden Ring using a modified Fisher Price game controller that made silly sounds that contrasted with the gory action. Another famous gamer, Super Louis 64, not only played the game using a Ring Fit controller to race across The Lands Between, he played the game with a banana. How intimidating.
FromSoftware’s games are notorious for their difficulties – in fact, Elden Ring was rightly criticized for its lack of accessibility options – but the opening of the world opened the game up to many players and inspired many new ways to play.
And what an amazing world. Coming out of the catacombs at the start of the game, you roll down hills before hiding a plethora of demonic, but often strikingly beautiful, bosses for you to defeat. The first area complete, you’re looking at a moonlit midnight blue lake, and the Gothic spiers of the Magic Academy peek out in the distance.
But my real moment of success was when I fell into a well for the first time. This wasn’t just a catacomb. I ventured underground under an iridescent starlit sky and realized the already majestic map contained a whole new layer to explore. I couldn’t wait to see more.
Isn’t all this the joy of an open world game? Elden Ring is a dark fantasy sandbox and there’s room for everyone no matter how you want to play: whether that’s accurately beating every boss, or playing with a banana. FromSoftware Saga gives players the freedom to set their own rules – or break them altogether.
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