If you’re anything like me, you went super hard on Elden Ring when it first came out. I wasn’t even assigned to the game for work, I just clocked in the hours after 5PM like any other Average Joe out there. It was a blast, but on the repeat playthrough, Elden Ring lost its lustre for me. That natural sense of open world exploration obviously wasn’t there the second time around. That sense of adventure and exploring the unknown is a keystone in Elden Ring’s appeal – and if you boot it up right now, you may actually find it has returned.
The reason why is pretty simple: a shocking amount of time has passed since Elden Ring came out. Almost two years, in fact! Googling that just about turned me into dust, but when I managed to scoop my ancient bones back together I realised just how much I had forgotten about Elden Ring. The big stuff is still there, sure. I know how to reach Mohgwyn Palace, how Ranni’s questline plays out, and where the two halves of the Haligtree medalion can be found. But the locations of weapons, what builds are good… all that info has floated out of my brain over time.
I’m not an old dude, either. I’m 25. That’s just the impact having a job has had on my memory. Whereas a younger me could remember the location of every blacksmith ember in Dark Souls, I couldn’t even begin to guess where an Uchikatana or bleed dagger can be found in Elden Ring. I’ve even forgotten how some of the excellent companion quests work, the scrub that I am. Realising this, I jumped back into Elden Ring and rediscovered a taste of that initial envigorating journey. A rose-tinted holiday back through 2022’s Game of the Year.
Would you believe it, a lot of those caves and random landmarks that I would have otherwise avoided in my attempt to slap together a half-decent Dex Faith build are suddenly potential goldmines. The placement of enemies is a murkey memory, the bosses are an occasional surprise. I’ve even had myself a proper facepalm moment, after forgetting that a certain chest on the Tower of Return teleported me across the map. Two years is too short a stint to call this nostalgia. It’s more of an espresso shot of catharsis in digital form.
There are some rules you need to obey if you want to achieve this effect, though. For one, go for a different build than the one you originally played. Your brain is a wonderful thing, and if you re-tread every step you took back at launch it’s possible the pieces will snap into place and you’ll remember everything. Also, stay away from wikis if you can manage it! VG247’s Elden Ring guides are an obvious exception, but at least try to figure stuff out organically before looking stuff up (don’t tell any of our guides writers I’ve written this).
But what if you have perfect memory, you know exactly where the good stuff is and don’t want to pretend all your answers aren’t waiting for you online. Well, that’s where the community comes in. For those with a taste for the random, Elden Ring randomisers have been out for a while now and are quite customisable. Want just weapons and armour mixed around? Sure thing! Want the full random experience with bosses swapped up around the map? You can have that, too.
Regardless of how you go about it, now’s the best time to replay Elden Ring. Not only that, with the DLC surely coming out soon, having a fresh save file right at the end of the game can’t hurt. If you start right now, you can have a fully-geared character all ready to go for a truly new adventure. Whenever it may land.