How the tables have turned! In my last Elden Ring progress article I was five hours in with my new character, a Samurai blood-build, and had hit level 47 thanks to VaatiVidya’s guide. Now I am 22 hours in, and have just hit level 186.. Allow me to explain.
Through an outpouring of kind Golden Rune donations and a couple save-scumming sessions, I managed to jump from level 57 (yes, just 10 levels in 7 hours) to 184 in the space of an hour. This came at a most fortuitous time as even with my early game head start, enemy difficulty was starting to creep up on me with various tough bosses looming in my immediate future. Now that I am officially over-powered to a frankly unnecessary degree, areas of the game feel similar to playing Grand Theft Auto with the cheats on. Piling experience into vigor, strength, endurance and dexterity, with all but the latter hitting level 60, I have become almost unstoppable.
My first target was Margit who I demolished on the first try. As he is by far the toughest enemy in Stormveil Castle I carved a bloody trail all the way through to Godrick who was also felled on my first attempt. To be fair, I beat him on my first try in my last playthrough as well.
With Stormveil satisfyingly put to the sword, I set my sights on the majestic castle across Liurnia of the Lakes, the Academy of Raya Lucaria. Here, the bane of my existence, Rennala, resides. I admit I was genuinely nervous before the fight with her, but am very pleased to report I defeated her on my first try. You must remember that while I am indisputably over-levelled at this stage, that doesn’t mean any of these bosses immediately roll over and die. Except Godrick of course, as rolling is a key part of his battle strategy.
The sweet feeling of victory over her was fleeting, and didn’t feel like a real win as I’d had to use outside help in the form of the donated Runes to defeat her. That said, the amount of challenge she put up reminded me anew of why my last character couldn’t best her and has convinced me not to go back to my other save to try her again. With mixed feelings I decided it was time for a true challenge in Elden Ring, a famous name and a colossal achievement to defeat in combat. I set my sights across the red Caelid Wild wastes to the indomitable Starscourge Radahn.
Yes, I beat him on my first try as well, but Goddamn did he make me work for it. I didn’t expect to emerge victorious so quickly, but the stars aligned (get it?) and after a few controller clenching moments scrambling to empty my flasks, I toppled the destructive Demigod and claimed his Great Rune as my own. I immediately purchased and equipped his armour set, and it is definitely my favourite looking and best I’ve acquired thus far.
With a heightened level of confidence I headed for the capital, Leyndell, thinking I’d make quick work of the Draconic Tree Sentinel who blocked my access to the city. Things didn’t quite go according to plan however, as he pummelled me and my arrogance into the dirt. Not once, not twice, but five times. I never expected the level of challenge I had from him, though I did realise after the fight I’d been forgetting to use any summons so that’s likely why. That aside, he was the toughest bastard I’ve fought during this playthrough.
I’ve purchased every Stonesword Key possible from the locations I’ve reached in the game, so have spent an hour or so clearing out all the smaller dungeons of their enemies and treasure so I have plenty of talismans to give me an additional edge in combat.
That’ll do it for this update. It’s safe to say my reign of blood and terror will continue for a while. At time of writing I have just reached the Volcano Manor atop Mount Gelmir, and am yet to explore any of the underground regions so will likely get to those very soon as well. I am loving Elden Ring, and despite the upcoming God of War: Ragnarök, it may well keep its position as my favourite game of the year. Time will tell on that front! Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with another update on my Samurai Elden Ring playthrough soon!
Written, edited and images sourced by Alexx.