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Elden Ring too big? You only need 30 minutes to beat it

Elden Ring may be a mammoth open-world game, but it doesn’t need to be a massive time investment. As the speedrunning community has shown, FromSoftware’s latest action RPG can be beaten in a matter of minutes rather than hours if you know all the right tips and tricks, with one player even beating the game in only half an hour.

Prolific speedrunner Distortion2 has managed to complete Elden Ring in only 29 minutes in what’s thought to be the first sub-30 minute playthrough of the game. That achievement didn’t come out of the blue. In the days before, Distortion2 shared what looks to be the first sub-50 minute and sub-40 minute playthroughs of the game, before finally hitting the half-hour mark.

At press time, this latest speedrun looks to be the fastest recorded playthrough of Elden Ring shared online. 

As an Any% speedrun, Distortion2 was only aiming to reach Elden Ring’s end credits as fast as possible, so wasn’t concerned with fighting all of the game’s bosses, reaching every area of its map, or collecting a set number of runes.

They were also able to exploit any bugs or glitches, such as deliberately dying to advance their progress in certain areas. If you watch the speedrun below, however, you’ll see that Distortion 2 races through the game by shrewdly navigating its map and bypassing most enemies.

Given the rate at which Distortion2 has beaten their own Elden Ring speedrun records over the past few days, we wouldn’t be surprised if they surpassed this 30-minute playthrough soon. The world’s first 20-minute speedrun may appear on their Twitch channel soon enough.

There are a lot of other impressive Elden Ring speedruns out there, including one player who managed to beat the game in less than three hours without dying. Even if they didn’t reach Distortion 2’s time, their mastery of the game’s combat system was spectacular enough.

Analysis: how did they do it so quickly?

Completing Elden Ring in half an hour is no mean feat. According to game-tracking website HowLongtoBeat, most players complete Elden Ring’s main story in around 45 hours, while many have spent upwards of 75 hours exploring its optional content. Considering you could easily spend 30 minutes just tinkering with the game’s character creation menu, Distortion 2’s speedrun is pretty impressive.

What’s particularly surprising, however, is how soon after the game’s release they’ve been able to plummet through Elden Ring. One speedrunner previously completed Dark Souls 3 in only 32 minutes, but only achieved that record in 2020, four years after the game’s release. It’s not even been four weeks since Elden Ring hit shelves, and already players are reaching sub-30 minute times.

The rate of that speedrunning record is likely down to a couple of factors. For one, Elden Ring has proved staggeringly popular since its release, drawing more players and speedrunners in its opening weeks than any of FromSoftware’s past Souls games managed. But more importantly, its open-world design lends itself to optimization. If you know Elden Ring’s map inside out and have mastered its combat system, you can happily bypass much of the game’s content, fleeing fights and hopping around the world to skip vast portions of the game.

As players sink more time into Elden Ring, we can expect even more speedruns in the coming weeks.

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