Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree Expansion Review

Dive into Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree, a dense expansion with challenging bosses and intricate exploration

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree Review – A Sequel in All But Name


Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree is a knotty, dense expansion that brings both some of the best and most frustrating moments of Elden Ring. Though the Land Of Shadow may not be as expansive as the base game’s Lands Between, it is richer and more intricate, offering players a more intense sense of discovery that harkens back to the old Souls games. However, this density also highlights some of the open world format’s weaknesses, leading to a more complex and, at times, overwhelming experience.

Not for the Faint of Heart

Shadow Of The Erdtree isn’t designed for newcomers. To access the DLC, players must have conquered significant portions of the base game, including defeating two formidable bosses: Radahn and Mohg. Once Mohg is down, interacting with a nearby withered arm transports you to the Land Of Shadow, setting the stage for the endgame content. This requirement ensures that only seasoned players with a certain level of proficiency can dive into the new challenges.

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FromSoftware’s decision to make Shadow Of The Erdtree an endgame addition is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it provides a challenging and rewarding experience for veteran players who have honed their skills. On the other hand, it bars entry to less experienced players who might not have the necessary combat skills or game knowledge. This decision underscores the developer’s commitment to maintaining the difficulty and complexity that define their games, ensuring that only those who are truly prepared can explore the Land Of Shadow.

A Dense, Twisting World

The Land Of Shadow, while smaller in scale compared to the Lands Between, is a labyrinthine expanse that burrows into the earth and reaches skyward. This complex structure creates some of Elden Ring’s most memorable moments, with exploration yielding a profound sense of discovery. However, this intricacy also introduces challenges, as the dense, interconnected layout can lead to disorientation and frustration.

The world design in Shadow Of The Erdtree is a masterclass in environmental storytelling. Each area is meticulously crafted to tell its own story, from the eerie remnants of ancient civilizations to the grotesque, corrupted landscapes. The intricate design encourages players to explore every nook and cranny, rewarding them with hidden treasures, lore, and challenging encounters. This sense of discovery is reminiscent of the old Souls games, where exploration was key to uncovering the game’s secrets.

Navigational Challenges

One of the primary challenges in Shadow Of The Erdtree is navigation. Unlike the more straightforward paths and signposted sites of Grace in the base game, the routes in this expansion are less obvious. Players will find themselves frequently lost, with the map’s lack of clear guidance necessitating a high degree of patience and memory recall. The absence of clear paths means that players must rely on their wits and occasionally external help to uncover the expansion’s secrets.

This lack of clear direction can be both a blessing and a curse. For some players, it enhances the sense of adventure and discovery, making every successful navigation feel like a hard-won victory. For others, it can lead to frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed. The complexity of the map requires players to be more observant and strategic in their exploration, often revisiting areas multiple times to uncover all their secrets.

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Combat and Exploration

The DLC’s compact size belies its difficulty. The Land Of Shadow is filled with perilous encounters and dense clusters of enemies. Unlike the base game, where players could easily find their way back to dungeon entrances or navigate large open areas, Shadow Of The Erdtree demands precise exploration and combat skills. The complexity of its dungeons, which often span multiple levels above and below ground, adds to the challenge. This intricate design will be a delight for some but may prove paralyzing for others.

The combat in Shadow Of The Erdtree is as intense and challenging as ever. The expansion introduces new enemy types and remixes familiar foes with new abilities and attack patterns. This keeps players on their toes, requiring them to adapt their strategies and refine their combat skills. The dungeons are particularly noteworthy for their spiral-like design, with multiple levels and interconnected pathways that can easily disorient even seasoned players. This complexity adds a layer of depth to the combat, as players must not only defeat enemies but also navigate the labyrinthine environments.

Boss Fights and Enemies

Shadow Of The Erdtree introduces a host of new enemies and bosses, each more challenging than the last. The DLC is home to some of the toughest adversaries in Elden Ring, with bosses designed to test even the most seasoned players. These encounters are characterized by their complexity and require players to master new strategies and refine their combat skills. The bosses’ intricate attack patterns and devastating moves will push players to their limits.

The variety of enemies in Shadow Of The Erdtree is impressive, with each new foe presenting unique challenges. From the half-naked feral warriors to the curled Hornsent soldiers and bloated trolls, each enemy requires different strategies to defeat. The bosses are particularly brutal, with staggered attack patterns and devastating area-of-effect attacks that test players’ reflexes and timing. Despite their difficulty, these encounters are fair and balanced, rewarding players who take the time to learn and adapt.

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A Sense of Community

Despite its challenges, Shadow Of The Erdtree fosters a sense of community among players. The need to decipher the expansion’s nuances and share discoveries with others creates a shared experience. This communal effort to explore and conquer the Land Of Shadow adds an additional layer of enjoyment and camaraderie.

The complexity of the map and the difficulty of the encounters encourage players to work together, sharing tips and strategies to overcome the expansion’s challenges. This sense of community is a hallmark of FromSoftware games, where players often come together to help each other through difficult sections. Shadow Of The Erdtree continues this tradition, with players collaborating to uncover the expansion’s secrets and share their experiences.

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Visual and Environmental Design

The visual and environmental design of Shadow Of The Erdtree is another highlight. The expansion features a variety of breathtaking and eerie locations, from decaying ancient civilizations to unsettling, grotesque landscapes. The attention to detail and the imaginative world-building are evident in every corner, offering players a visually stunning and immersive experience.

The art direction in Shadow Of The Erdtree is exceptional, with each area crafted to evoke a specific mood and atmosphere. The decaying ruins of ancient civilizations are hauntingly beautiful, while the grotesque landscapes filled with corrupted creatures are genuinely unsettling. This attention to detail enhances the immersion, drawing players deeper into the world and making every discovery feel significant.

Final Thoughts

While Shadow Of The Erdtree offers a wealth of new content and challenges, it is not without its frustrations. The final boss, in particular, may leave some players feeling underwhelmed. Despite the high difficulty, the final encounter lacks the sense of culmination and spectacle found in some of the base game’s key battles. However, the expansion as a whole is a testament to FromSoftware’s ability to create intricate, compelling worlds.

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree is a brilliant expansion that provides a more focused, interconnected experience compared to the sprawling Lands Between. Its density and complexity may frustrate some players, but it offers a rewarding and challenging adventure for those willing to invest the time and effort. For fans of Elden Ring and the Souls series, this expansion is a must-play, bringing new depths and discoveries to an already rich game. As FromSoftware looks to the future, Shadow Of The Erdtree serves as a reminder of the studio’s ability to craft unforgettable, if sometimes daunting, experiences.

The expansion also introduces a new leveling system, allowing players to collect Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes to enhance their stats and summonable companions. This system adds another layer of depth to the gameplay, encouraging players to explore and gather resources to strengthen their characters. The variety of new weapons and equipment also adds to the experience, with unique abilities and designs that cater to different playstyles.

In conclusion, Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree is a dense, challenging, and rewarding expansion that builds on the strengths of the base game while introducing new elements to keep players engaged. Its intricate world design, challenging combat, and sense of discovery make it a worthy addition to the Elden Ring experience. Whether you are a veteran of the series or a newcomer looking for a challenge, Shadow Of The Erdtree offers a rich and immersive adventure that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree – FAQs

1. What is Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree?

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree is an expansion for the base game Elden Ring. It adds new areas, enemies, bosses, and challenges, offering a denser and more intricate experience than the original game.

2. How do I access the Shadow Of The Erdtree expansion?

To access the Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC, you must have completed significant portions of the base game and defeated two major bosses: Radahn and Mohg. Once these requirements are met, you can interact with a withered arm near Mohg’s location to be transported to the Land Of Shadow.

3. Is Shadow Of The Erdtree suitable for new players?

No, the expansion is designed for experienced players who have already progressed through much of the base game. Its high difficulty and the requirement to defeat tough bosses make it challenging for newcomers.

4. How large is the new map in Shadow Of The Erdtree?

While the map in Shadow Of The Erdtree is smaller compared to the Lands Between, it is denser and more intricate, featuring a complex, interconnected design with multiple levels and hidden areas.

5. What are the main features of Shadow Of The Erdtree?

  • New Areas: Dense, interconnected regions with intricate designs.
  • New Enemies: Diverse enemy types with unique abilities.
  • New Bosses: Challenging encounters designed for endgame players.
  • New Weapons and Equipment: Unique items with special abilities.
  • New Leveling System: Collect Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes for stat and companion upgrades.

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6. Are there new types of enemies and bosses in the expansion?

Yes, Shadow Of The Erdtree introduces a variety of new enemies and bosses, each with unique abilities and attack patterns, providing fresh challenges for players.

7. What is the new leveling system in Shadow Of The Erdtree?

The new leveling system involves collecting Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes. These can be redeemed at Sites of Grace to enhance your stats and improve your summonable companions.

8. Is the exploration different in Shadow Of The Erdtree compared to the base game?

Yes, exploration in Shadow Of The Erdtree is more challenging due to its dense, labyrinthine design. Navigating the new areas requires greater patience and memory recall, as routes are less signposted than in the base game.

9. How does the expansion affect combat?

Combat in Shadow Of The Erdtree is intense and demanding. New enemy types and bosses require players to adapt their strategies. The intricate dungeon designs and environmental hazards add to the complexity of combat encounters.

10. Are there new weapons and equipment in Shadow Of The Erdtree?

Yes, the expansion introduces a variety of new weapons and equipment, each with unique abilities and designs to suit different playstyles. Examples include greatswords that coat enemies in dark flames and enormous hammers with powerful attack animations.

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11. How does the story in Shadow Of The Erdtree fit into the overall lore of Elden Ring?

The story in Shadow Of The Erdtree expands on the lore of Elden Ring, adding new layers of narrative and character development. Players can expect to encounter new NPCs, engage in additional quests, and uncover deeper secrets about the world of Elden Ring.

12. What are some of the key challenges players will face in the expansion?

  • Navigational Difficulties: The complex map design can be disorienting.
  • Tough Enemies and Bosses: New, highly challenging encounters.
  • Resource Management: Collecting and using Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes strategically.
  • Environmental Hazards: Navigating hazardous areas with limited guidance.

13. How long is the Shadow Of The Erdtree expansion?

The length of the expansion varies depending on playstyle and exploration. For most players, it offers several hours of new content, with additional time required for fully exploring all areas and completing all quests.

14. What are some tips for success in Shadow Of The Erdtree?

  • Be Prepared: Ensure your character is well-leveled and equipped before entering the DLC.
  • Explore Thoroughly: Take your time to explore and uncover hidden areas.
  • Adapt Strategies: Be ready to adapt your combat strategies for new enemies and bosses.
  • Use Resources Wisely: Collect and use Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes strategically to enhance your abilities.

15. When is Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree released?

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree is available on multiple platforms, including Xbox Series X|S, Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The exact release date should be checked on the official Elden Ring website or store page for up-to-date information.

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16. Is there a community aspect to the expansion?

Yes, Shadow Of The Erdtree fosters a sense of community as players come together to share tips, strategies, and discoveries. The expansion’s complexity encourages collaboration and discussion among players.

17. Can I play Shadow Of The Erdtree in multiplayer mode?

Yes, similar to the base game, Shadow Of The Erdtree supports multiplayer features, allowing players to team up for co-op play or engage in PvP battles within the new areas.

18. How does the expansion compare to previous Souls-like DLCs?

Shadow Of The Erdtree offers a more intricate and dense experience compared to previous Souls-like DLCs, with a greater emphasis on exploration, complex level design, and challenging combat encounters. It builds on the strengths of Elden Ring while introducing new elements that enhance the overall experience.

19. Will there be future expansions for Elden Ring?

While FromSoftware has not officially announced any future expansions beyond Shadow Of The Erdtree, the success and popularity of Elden Ring may lead to additional content in the future. Keep an eye on official announcements for any updates.

20. How can I get help if I’m stuck in the expansion?

If you’re stuck in Shadow Of The Erdtree, consider seeking help from the Elden Ring community. Online forums, guides, and walkthroughs can provide valuable tips and strategies for overcoming difficult areas and bosses. Additionally, you can summon other players for co-op assistance in challenging encounters.

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