By Isaac Williams
FromSoftware's most recent effort, Elden Ring, has proven a success beyond all expectations, however, there are downsides to replaying the game.
FromSoftware's most recent effort, Elden Ring, has proven a success beyond all expectations. Its epic open world, intense difficulty, and slick combat-oriented gameplay won it acclaim from critics and fans alike. Elden Ring has sold in huge numbers, and made a huge impact on gaming as a whole. With adoration for its gameplay, it's likely to join the ranks of other FromSoft games fans still play years after the intial release.
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However, there are downsides to replaying Elden Ring. Although clearly bearing the heritage of its predecessors, the game makes some radically different design decisions than the Dark Soulstrilogy or Bloodborne. In many cases, these choices improve Elden Ring, but they put up some barriers for those wishing to replay it.
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8 It Is Exceptionally Long Unless A Lot Is Skipped
When played normally, without speedrunning glitches or focusing on efficiency, Elden Ring is a long game. Many players have found the developer's initial estimate of a thirty-hour playtime to be woefully inaccurate — still on their first playthrough in the game's hundredth hour. This is largely due to its open world, which is huge and crammed full of content.
This length may put a hurdle in the way of those desiring to replay it. The game requires a large time investment players may wish to spend on other games, or may not be able to justify giving twice. Skipping most of the open world gameplay poses a problem, as shorter games like Dark Soulscan be replayed without missing content in much less time.
7 The Game Already Reuses A Fair Bit Of Content
Elden Ring's open world is large and widely-considered to be a good case of open world design, especially in comparison to its competitors. The game offers plenty to do, but in order to realistically create all that content, developers FromSoftware have recycled parts of the game — most notably the bosses.
When replaying a game, players naturally expect to see content again. However, there is a difference between fighting a boss for the second time on a new playthrough, and fighting it for the seventh or eighth time due to it being incorporated several times in the first playthrough. This could cause some players to become fatigued, and lessen their enjoyment of their second go-around.
6 Certain Challenges Can Be Too Frustrating To Retry
Difficulty has always been a part of the Souls series, and an element warmly welcomed by most players. The games thrive on difficult areas and supremely challenging bosses, testing a player's skills and forcing them to put in every bit of effort to overcome the obstacles in their path. Elden Ring is no different, and is deliberately challenging.
Some of its obstacles, however, have a reputation for being too frustrating. Its boss design has received some complaints, with some thinking older games provided a fairer challenge. Thus, a player may be too annoyed to attempt a notorious boss like Malenia, Blade of Miquella again after their first playthrough, making a replay feel incomplete.
5 There Are Only A Few Different Choices To Make
A common reason many players replay a game is to make different choices when presented with options in its story, discovering how things play out differently the second time. Elden Ring does provide a few choices, but they are far between. Other than their choice of the game's six endings, there are only a handful of sidequests the player can end differently — other than refusing to follow them.
While a player can choose to side with Sellen or Jerren in their conflict, and choose to either protect or betray Millicent, most choices are fixed. Blaidd will always go insane and need to be put down, Nepheli Loux will always become Lord of Limgrave, and Thops will always prove himself to be a magical prodigy and die of exhaustion. Players who like making different choices may be disappointed.
4 Making A New Build Can Be Very Time-Consuming
One of the key reasons to replay FromSoft games is to try out a new "build," using different weapons and stats to get a new gameplay experience. In many games, this is relatively feasible because loot, however hidden, tends to not be too far off the beaten track, and the player can get to many areas reasonably quickly.
Elden Ring's open world and higher amounts of content mean loot tends to be further-flung. Many players use their starting equipment for hours before they find something they want to use. Although a player is more likely to know where to find the loot they want on a second playthrough, it could still take a long time before they acquire it — particularly if it's later in the game, requires killing a boss, or needs high stats to wield — dampening their enthusiasm for the build as a whole.
3 Players Already Know The Game's Plot Twists
FromSoftware games have something of a reputation for their stories being less important than their gameplay. While their plots are given in very vague, interpretable terms, they nonetheless exist, and each game often includes some shocking revelations. Even for players who don't strictly follow the lore, Elden Ring has some bombshells, such as the revelation Queen Marika shattered the Elden Ring.
A player will know the majority of the game's plot twists on a new playthrough. Although they may discover a handful of new ones from choosing a different ending, they've already seen most of the game's reveals. The game is still very enjoyable without the shock of its twists, but may detract from the experience for some players.
2 A Lot Of The Game's Content Isn't Worth It For Most Builds
The builds available to a player in Elden Ring are often quite distinct from one another. Loot good for one build likely isn't good for another, requiring different stats or having different synergies with equipment. As such, only a fraction of the game's rewards are likely to be particularly valuable to any given character.
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On a first playthrough, players are likely to explore most content since they don't know what they'll get, and because they enjoy the thrill of exploration. On a second or third playthrough, players may not find the game's dungeons or areas worth exploring due to the large amounts of loot that do nothing for them.
1 The Game's Mandatory Boss Fights Are Often Incredibly Hard
Due to the openness and flexibility of Elden Ring's story, very few of the game's bosses are mandatory, particularly in the first two acts. Players can skip notorious challenges like Margit the Fell Omen or Godrick the Grafted with impunity. As long as they kill any two of the game's shardbearers, they will be allowed into Leyndell, and from there the rest of the game.
The mandatory boss fights mostly come in the game's home stretch, and they are notorious for being some of the hardest bosses FromSoftware has ever put out. From the grueling Fire Giant, to the despised Godskin Duo, to the challenge of fighting Radagon and then the Elden Beast, the sheer difficulty of the game's final hours may deter players from a replay.