It was a little over a week before anyone sped up Elden Ring. But the race for the best time had only just begun.
The first recorded speed run lasted almost two and a half hours. Two days later, the game was completed in less than an hour. No sooner had it been recorded than it was beaten. By April it was ready in less than ten minutes.
Speedrunning in a game like Elden Ring, with its gloriously gloomy open world, never really appealed to me. I’m a hardworking gamer. Instead of rushing, I like to savor every grim discovery, every terrible enemy. I made my own rules and finished each area of the map before moving on. not set foot on the sickeningly sharp Caelid until every dusty nook and cranny of Raya Lucaria Academy had been explored.
That’s why my first playthrough lasted over 110 hours.
But Elden Ring has proven to be an inspiration for gamers all year long, with a whole range of creative and unique ways to play that go beyond speedrunning.
Take Let Me Solo Her, a community icon who single-handedly defeated the game’s most notorious boss – Malenia – a thousand times. While so many struggle with the challenge of FromSoftware’s games, one player took on our collective frustration. Publisher Bandai Namco even gave them a sword for their service.
Other players have taken control to the next level. A streamer completed the game with just one hand, beating every boss without leveling up her character. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she then did it again with a dance pad. And then she played with her hands and feet at the same time.
Another brave Tarnished made music while playing and posted a video of herself defeating Margit with a harp. It may not be interesting melodically, but the synergy of player and instrument is a whole new kind of music.
Known for their creative custom controllers, Rudeism decided to play through Elden Ring with a modified Fisher-Price toy controller that made silly noises that contrasted with the gory action. Another renowned modder, Super Louis 64, not only played the game with a Ring Fit controller to sweat through The Lands Between, but also played the game with a banana. How appealing.
FromSoftware’s games are known for their difficulty – in fact, Elden Ring was rightly criticized for its lack of accessibility options – but opening up the world has opened up the game to many more players and inspired so many new ways to play.
And what a spectacular world it is. The mounds that emerge from a catacomb at the start of the game spread out before you, hiding a variety of fiendish but often strikingly beautiful bosses to defeat. After completing the first area, you’ll look out over a midnight-blue lake bathed in moonlight and the Gothic spiers of the Magic Academy looming enticingly in the distance.
But the real wow moment for me was when I fell down a well for the first time. This wasn’t just another catacomb. Stepping underground under a dazzling sky of stars, I realized that the already imposing map contained a whole new level to explore. I couldn’t wait to see more.
Isn’t that 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 it’s meticulously defeating each boss or playing through with a banana. FromSoftware’s epic gives players the freedom to make their own rules – or break them entirely.
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