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Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review

by FromSoftware 0 text

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Brutal DLC that's worth every tear.

Two years after the launch of the revolutionary Elden Ring, FromSoftware returns with "Shadow of the Erdtree," an expansion that ambitiously matches and occasionally surpasses its predecessor. This DLC captures the essence of the original game while adding layers of new content that blend seamlessly with the existing world. Players are introduced to the vast Realm of Shadow, a dense, multi-layered landscape filled with intricate paths, secrets, and some of the most challenging boss battles ever designed by FromSoftware.

As you venture into this new territory, following the trail of the demigod Miquella, you'll encounter a realm that feels both familiar and entirely new. The map's verticality and interconnected pathways ensure that exploration is a constant delight, with hidden areas and formidable foes waiting around every corner. This expansion doesn't just add more of the same; it refines and enhances the experience, making it a must-play for any fan of the original game.

Gameplay 9

Shadow of the Erdtree takes the already stellar gameplay mechanics of Elden Ring and turns the dial up to eleven. Players are required to have defeated Radahn and Mohg to access the new areas, setting a high bar right from the start. Even experienced players with fully upgraded gear will find themselves challenged by the brutal new enemies and bosses. The Realm of Shadow demands careful preparation and strategic thinking, especially as you delve deeper into its many layers.

The expansion introduces over forty new bosses, ten of which are major encounters that reward players with Remembrances. These fights are some of the most memorable and challenging in the entire Soulslike genre, pushing players to their limits. FromSoftware expertly walks the tightrope between fair and unfair difficulty, ensuring that each victory feels earned. The new weapons, spells, and build options offer a plethora of ways to approach combat, allowing for endless experimentation and customization.

Exploration is as rewarding as ever, with the dense and layered map providing countless opportunities for discovery. Hidden ladders, secret paths, and unexpected detours keep the sense of wonder alive, even for those who have spent hundreds of hours in the Lands Between. The new progression items, such as Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes, add depth to character development, allowing players to tailor their strengths to the challenges of the Realm of Shadow.

Graphics 10

The visual design of Shadow of the Erdtree is nothing short of spectacular. FromSoftware has outdone itself, creating environments that are as hauntingly beautiful as they are dangerous. The Realm of Shadow features a variety of biomes, each with its own unique aesthetic and atmosphere. The attention to detail in the landscapes, from the rolling plains dotted with translucent graves to the towering ruins suspended in the sky, is breathtaking.

The new enemy and boss designs are equally impressive, with each encounter feeling distinct and meticulously crafted. Whether you're facing a massive burning wicker man or a battle-scarred dragon, the visual fidelity and artistic creativity on display are remarkable. The use of vertical space adds another layer of complexity to the environment, making exploration both challenging and visually rewarding.

The game's performance remains consistent, even in the most graphically intense moments. Despite the increased density and complexity of the new areas, FromSoftware has managed to maintain a high level of polish, ensuring that players can fully immerse themselves in the stunning world they've created.

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Storyline 9

Shadow of the Erdtree continues the rich, cryptic storytelling that FromSoftware is known for. The main quest follows the demigod Miquella, who has fled to the Realm of Shadow, leaving behind his flesh. As you track his journey through this dark and mysterious land, you'll encounter a host of new NPCs, each with their own questlines and contributions to the overarching narrative.

The story is filled with lore revelations that will delight both casual players and dedicated lore enthusiasts. From the enigmatic followers of Miquella to the new demigod Messmer and his vendetta against Marika, the narrative threads are intricate and compelling. The game's environmental storytelling is as strong as ever, with item descriptions, NPC dialogues, and hidden locations all contributing to the rich tapestry of the world.

While the main plot is relatively straightforward, the depth and complexity come from the details scattered throughout the Realm of Shadow. Players who take the time to explore every nook and cranny will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of the lore and the motivations of the characters involved. The story's conclusion ties up many loose ends from the base game while also leaving some mysteries open to interpretation, maintaining the enigmatic charm that defines the Soulsborne series.

Multiplayer 8

The multiplayer component of Shadow of the Erdtree remains largely consistent with the base game, offering both cooperative and competitive play. The new areas and bosses provide fresh challenges for players to tackle together, and the expanded arsenal of weapons and spells allows for even more diverse builds and strategies.

The introduction of new progression items and build options encourages experimentation, making multiplayer encounters more dynamic and unpredictable. Whether you're summoning allies to help with a tough boss or invading other players' worlds to test your skills, the multiplayer experience is engaging and rewarding.

However, the increased difficulty of the new content can make finding suitable co-op partners challenging, especially for players who are not fully prepared. The tightrope walk between fair and unfair difficulty may also lead to frustration for some, particularly in the later stages of the expansion. Despite these challenges, the multiplayer component remains a strong and integral part of the overall experience, adding another layer of depth and replayability to the game.

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Issues and Community Feedback

Shadow of the Erdtree has been widely praised by the community for its ambitious scope and challenging content. However, some players have voiced concerns about the increased difficulty, particularly regarding certain boss designs that skirt the line between challenging and unfair. While the tightrope walk of difficulty is a hallmark of FromSoftware's design philosophy, it can be a point of contention for some.

Conclusion 9

Shadow of the Erdtree is a fitting expansion to the already monumental Elden Ring, delivering a condensed yet richly detailed experience that captures the essence of the base game while adding new layers of depth and challenge. From the breathtaking visual design to the intricate and rewarding gameplay, this DLC is a must-play for fans of the original game. While it doesn't radically change the formula, it refines and enhances it in ways that make it feel fresh and exciting. For those willing to brave its challenges, Shadow of the Erdtree offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of darkness.

Pros and Cons

  • Dense map
  • Challenging bosses
  • Rich lore
  • Visual design
  • Steep difficulty
  • Occasional frame drops

Player Quotes

"Shadow of the Erdtree is brutal but so rewarding. Every boss fight feels like a real achievement."

"The new areas are stunning. I spent hours just exploring and discovering all the hidden paths."

"The difficulty can be frustrating at times, but the sense of accomplishment when you finally succeed is unmatched."

"FromSoftware has done it again. This DLC is a masterpiece that stands on its own."

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Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.