From a no-hit run to a fiery hug-only run, Bushy is truly getting the most out of Elden Ring
(Image credit: FromSoftware)
Twitch (opens in new tab) streamer and YouTuber Bushy (opens in new tab) has more clears in Elden Ring than many Tarnished have hours played. By reinventing the game through increasingly ridiculous challenge runs, he reckons he’s rolled credits on FromSoftware’s latest “somewhere around 100” times at this point, and he’s not stopping anytime soon.
You may know Bushy from the hitless run (opens in new tab) he posted shortly after Elden Ring came out. You might think that beating a From Software game without getting hit by a single enemy would be the most impressive thing on his channel, but you’d be exceptionally wrong. Bushy has turned challenge runs into a science. He makes playing Elden Ring wrong look easy, and makes it extremely fun to watch.
Bushy’s most recent challenge runs focused on purposely getting hit by every attack and only using the shoddy equipment obtained through NPC questlines. He’s beaten the game – that is, killed all the main bosses – without spending runes, while suffering from Scarlet Rot constantly, with an equip load of zero, at twice the game speed, with twice the enemies, and with every enemy replaced by Malenia.
No resting, legendary weapons only, fists only, kicks only, flaming hugs only – there are dozens of challenge runs on his YouTube alone, and the themes and rules are off-the-friggin-walls. His most popular video is about one-shotting every boss in the game, and it’s a particularly great example of the kind of batshit alchemy that goes on behind the scenes to make these absurd challenges doable.
I reached out to Bushy to talk about why and how he puts himself through these exceedingly restrictive challenges. He explained that most challenge runs only take him 12 to 20 hours, though some, like the reset-heavy hitless run, can take far more. He did actually play Elden Ring normally at first, but after two 80-hour standard playthroughs, he’s done nothing but wild challenges.
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
“I spend a lot of time thinking about them. I look at the wiki to try to come up with restrictions that will make fun runs,” he says. “I do have a master list so that I don’t forget any ideas that I come up with. I don’t usually poll viewers, but sometimes I get a comment that seems like a fun challenge run and will add it to the list of potential runs. I’m having fun doing them for now, challenges just seem like a good way of making games more fun for longer periods of time. I’m currently working on some challenges for God of War Ragnarok, but I don’t think there’s as much challenge run potential there.”
Bushy says his favorite clear is a toss-up between his one-hit run and the hitless run. “The restrictions give so many interesting problem solving opportunities,” he notes. As you’d expect, the hitless run is also among his hardest challenges, but it’s far from the only brutal one.
“Kick only was also very difficult; the max damage on a kick is about 25 so boss attempts took a long time to complete,” Bushy explains. “I believe one attempt for the final boss took around one hour. I’d say I’m more proud of the hitless run though, it was always soul crushing to get hit and have to go all the way back to the beginning to do all the setup again. So I’m glad that I persevered through that.”
(Image credit: FromSoftware)
If you watch enough of Bushy’s videos, you’ll start to see some patterns emerge. Tricks of the trade that he uses to get by despite bonkers limitations. Necessary exploits, time-saving glitches, ingenious strategies, and so on. You can genuinely learn a lot about the game from the way he presents and goes about things. In a strange way, Bushy’s herculean efforts can even be motivating for players who are struggling to play Elden Ring normally. It’s hard to say things are too hard when you’ve just watched someone climb the mountain you’re stuck on with their feet stapled to their ears. While on fire. While cosplaying your mom (opens in new tab).
“The advice I always like to give is ‘if you think you got bullshitted, you probably just made a mistake,'” he says when I ask what he’d tell struggling players. “Obviously this isn’t always the case, but as a rule of thumb I think it’s a good way to approach the game to maximize the chance that you enjoy it, and even though that’s brutal and unforgiving, I also think it’s very empowering. I think that’s why this genre of games is so loved, because even though they’re very difficult, the lesson that they try to teach you is that you can control even the most difficult of things and overcome those challenges.”
I was also curious about Bushy’s favorite and least favorite Elden Ring bosses given how many times he’s fought them. He’s a big fan of Mohg, Maliketh (based), and Radagon. He reckons Renalla is the easiest main boss, and as expected, he hates the Godskin Duo, who are a recurring difficulty wall in his challenges.
“Fights with multiple enemies and the Souls combat system don’t mix together very well, and more importantly don’t scale very well with time and skill,” he says of the infamous duo, echoing the thoughts of many players. “With two enemies in the room their move potential is so much more unpredictable than even the hardest standalone boss. And when it comes to these difficult challenge runs, predictability and control is everything. If we’re excluding gank fights, then Malenia is the hardest boss, but I don’t think that’s going to be much of a surprise.”
Elden Ring is officially the fastest-selling multiplatform Japanese game of all time.
Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he’s been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They’ve yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he’s kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.
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