And the end came. After more than 100 hours lost in the Midlands, I finished my game of Elden Ring. A huge world, hundreds of bosses, memorable fights (and others, not so much, that nobody is perfect), very cool NPCs and more than interesting quests were my companions for almost a hundred hours. And do you know what I did as soon as it was over? Then start overSure.
Immediately after seeing the credits (and going to Telegram to tell all my friends “Heeeey, I’m already over it!”), I decided it was time to do a second round. In my first playthrough, as always when I play From stuff, I built my character around melee, so I chose Astrologer for this new journey. I wanted to try to be a magician pure and simple, armed solely and exclusively with the spells he could memorize. And, well, with that in mind, from minute 1 I could see big differences.
As soon as I started, I realized that this game was going to be twice as different. Not only did my way of fighting change due to the use of spells (something that I took advantage of to go for the Agreste Sentinel as soon as I finished the tutorial and avenge my partner Alberto), but also the knowledge of the game itself It has made me enjoy it in different ways.
The most obvious of all is knowing where the important places are, such as the Necrolimbo NPCs or the key bosses to defeat, but it doesn’t end there, far from it. In my first playthrough, it took me a long time to take advantage of crafting, a lot of usable items, and the miracle medic vial, and this time they have been powerful allies in my adventure as a magician
Did you also know that you don’t have to fight godrick to access Liurna? I didn’t in my first game, now I’ve decided to skip a bit of it and continue on my way, just to see what things change. That, and for going back to that boss being absolutely broken and being able to humiliate him a little bit, wow. They are little things that Elden Ring allows you to do to vary your experience. The open world gives a sea of interesting possibilities.
I felt like the king of the world, but then I stumbled upon a lesson in humility
The truth is that I felt like the king of the world. The vast majority of the recesses of the Midlands were no longer dark secrets, but small stops on my way to victory. The game that had given me so many headaches before was nothing more than a playground to try new things, it was unstoppable. Magic is powerful, yes, and depending on the fight it can become something much more lethal than a sword. But not everything could be that easy and, then, I came across a lesson in humility.
Yes, I knew the game, but as a swordsman. While it is true that I had an idea where to find some things that were useful for my magic build, I didn’t pay special attention to things that I wasn’t going to use during my first pass, and that has had consequences that have made me miss my beloved Claymore.
Going to more difficult areas, like Raya Lucaria or Caria’s mansion, I found that I had to adapt my whole style of play. It was no longer worth going at enemies with the sword in front, doing a lot of damage and repeating. I had to think about my resources and keep my distance. I don’t think playing magic is more difficult, I think I’m just not a particularly good wizard, and the adaptation period had easy moments and some quite hard ones.
Of course, one of the things that surprised me the most and that I had not thought about was how much it changed my relationship with cure vials. In my melee game, it was simple: I had X number of potions and if I got hit, I was healed. End, there is no more. But now, being a pure magician, things changed.
Since you’ll know if you’ve used a magical character in this game (or even in Dark Souls 3), it’s up to you to see how many potions of life and how many of magic you will have in your inventory. The more you have of some, the less you have of others. While this was initially something I used to my advantage in a few fights, it soon became just another item to look at (and the list just kept growing). Especially early in my adventure, when I decided to prioritize damage above all else, fights became estimates of how many Cerulean Tears I was going to need, how many spells I could afford to miss, and how many hits I could take before I ran out of resources.
While my game as a warrior was dynamic and fast-paced, being a pure mage asked me to be cold and calculating. It was no longer worth trusting my reflexes to save me, I had to organize my resources well, being aware that my life bar was not as endless as before and being aware that wasting attacks could be the difference between losing and winning regardless of my death. These are tough conditions to accept, but for a second pass, with all the knowledge I brought with me, it seems to me an optimal way to raise the level of demand of Elden Ring a little.
In this lap, I have felt the game more familiar and with more resources to experience
I would not go into assessing whether this experience has been better or worse than my original run, since they have been very, very different. My first time in the Elden Ring felt fresh and huge thanks to the open world and my complete ignorance of it. On the other hand, in my new lap I have felt the most familiar game and with more knowledge to experiment with. Of course, at no time have I felt that this second visit to the inhospitable places that FromSoftware presents has felt boring or repetitive, quite the opposite.
Going through the game a second time is almost like playing Dark Souls 4. Yes, the game’s huge map is still there, but it doesn’t feel so vast anymore. It is like a small procedure between zones that only serves to house the pending stops that I have on my mental list. This may make the experience a little less Elden Ring, but it also gives the title a new appeal. Instead of being lame, he just feels different, cohesive.
I truly believe that with all the content that Elden Ring has and as vast as it can be, a single match not even remotely enough to be able to judge the whole of what FromSoftware has created. Going from exploring to knowing where I should go while having to adapt to a completely different type of combat has given me a very different perspective than when I was on my first adventure in the Midlands.
If you are about to finish your game (or if you already have), I recommend that you think about putting more hours on it to this action RPG. Change your style a bit, try new things and maybe you’ll discover that there’s even more hidden and to be enjoyed in one of the most massive RPGs I’ve seen in years.