Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC Review

Elden Ring was my Game of the Year for 2022 when it came out in February of that year. FromSoftware designed a beautiful video game with colossal bosses, enchanting weapon selections and a riveting storyline. I can only describe its new DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, as simply just more Elden Ring. Everything that made the base game a masterpiece has been heavily expanded upon, and it’s not surprising that some would call it “Elden Ring 2”.

By the grace of all that is golden…

 

Take the Hand of Miquella

The Tarnished is taken into the Realm of Shadow by touching the cocoon after defeating Mohg, Lord of Blood and Starscourge Radahn, two of Elden Ring‘s most difficult bosses. Walking into the overworld with the Shadowtree on the horizon is one of the most breathtaking entrances to a DLC in recent years. Players will notice several different enemy varieties in this brand-new land, including shadow men, fire golems and stone birds. Shadow of the Erdtree is very much post-game content, so players will naturally need to be at a high level for the sake of not getting destroyed by simple enemy mobs. FromSoftware is renowned for cranking up the difficulty in their DLCs, and their latest project is no exception. Traversal on Torrent has also been changed slightly, allowing players to reach extreme verticality with Sealed Spiritsprings, altered Spiritsprings that must be unlocked by breaking a magical barrier.

So cute, I want to cut them down from the root…

 

Black-Belt Tarnished

Of course, a brand-new world means brand-new weapons, and Shadow of the Erdtree brings a plethora of exciting armaments to try out. Players can get their hands on light greatswords, backhand blades and martial arts weapons designed to give us the power of a Tarnished version of Bruce Lee. Specifically, one brand-new set of weapons found early on are the Beast Claws, allowing players to turn into feral animals that slice away at every threat, causing massive amounts of bleed damage. There are several new weapon arts too, and the Beast Claws enrage the player into an onslaught of quick swipes that do massive stun damage, perfect when trying to create some breathing room. Alas, plenty of the weapon arts seem to offer little more than causing a spectacle as most leave players wide open to attacks and are not nearly fast enough for the new bosses that are running on the fifth gear. Players must find windows of attack, if any, reserve weapon arts for smaller enemy mobs or activate spirit ashes to draw aggro on bosses that would punish you for even attempting such a daring feat.

There’s always a bigger dragon…

 

‘Cue Epic Boss Music’

Fortunately, Miyazaki didn’t hold off on doing what he does best: creating absurdly cinematic boss battles that fans of FromSoftware are more than eager to dive into. Without delving too far into spoiler territory, the early parts of the DLC offer plenty of challenges when it comes to these colossal foes. The Divine Beast Dancing Lion is three-quarters too shallow from being the next Avatar, attacking the player with several elemental attacks like wind, ice and lightning. Unlike the other grotesque abominations lurking through the Realm of Shadow, the Dancing Lion has something hidden up its sleeve, or rather under its skin as the lion consists of two regular people controlling a costume. Hats off to the designers as animating two people controlling one boss in tandem and then creating its fluid but fast movements must have been a difficult task to accomplish. Most bosses within the DLC are absolute spectacles and feature heart-pounding soundtracks that could make Hans Zimmer sound like Mozart but hit harder than a dud missile from a tank if you aren’t at least Level 125+.

New dungeons are always welcome.

 

Gotta Find ‘Em All

The Realm of Shadow is certainly not for the faint of heart, so FromSoftware decided to change the way that players level up within the DLC. Scattered throughout the game, Scadutree fragments are used as a way of strengthening the player’s character. These can be awarded through killing certain enemies and discovered through exploration, the former counting towards mini-bosses and rarer enemies. Players should aim to collect as many as they can to ensure their journey isn’t cut short through one-shot kills and unfair fights. Also found within the world are revered spirit ashes, the game’s upgrade system for spirit ashes and the spectral steed, ensuring increased damage negation and damage output, making boss fights an inch more bearable. Alas, players can level up as usual, but exploring the overworld to find fragments helps to enhance the abilities of the Tarnished within the Realm of Shadow.

Can something be beautifully creepy?

 

Final Thoughts

Shadow of the Erdtree proves that FromSoftware has mastered its own unique formula, crafting a satisfying end to Elden Ring with plenty of exciting encounters in-between. The Realm of Shadow is gigantic and adds several more hours to an already 60+ hour adventure. Miyazaki has also apparently stated that he still has yet to create his ideal RPG, so I’m excited to see how he can revolutionise his own genre in the near future.

Developer: FromSoftware

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, Windows PC

Release Date: 21st June 2024

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