Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC Review

Elden Ring DLC Review: Shadow of the Erdtree

Two years ago, I gave Elden Ring a 10 not only for being an incredible game but also for setting a new standard for open-world games. The game’s emphasis on exploration, rewarding curiosity, and offering diverse build options with different weapons and spells is truly exemplary. Now, FromSoftware is pushing the boundaries once again with their latest DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree.

This expansion may not introduce many radical changes compared to the base game, but it manages to encapsulate the magic of the original Elden Ring experience in a more concentrated form. Shadow of the Erdtree is filled with new content, secrets, challenging boss battles, and a variety of build options.

The Challenge of Shadow of the Erdtree

Entering the Realm of Shadow with a level 150 character armed to the teeth, I quickly realized that this new arena is unrelentingly brutal. While the main requirement to access the DLC is to defeat Radahn and Mohg, players are strongly advised to over-prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. FromSoftware pushes the boundaries of fair gameplay with intense boss designs that deliver some of the most thrilling and satisfying battles in the Soulslike genre.

The realm of Erdtree is not only home to quality boss fights but also an impressive quantity of them. With more than 40 bosses, including 10 major showdowns that reward players with Remembrances upon victory, the DLC offers a significant amount of challenging content.

Exploration and Discovery

Despite its seemingly small map size, The Realm of Shadow is densely packed with layers of exploration. Paths lead upwards to skyborne ruins, delve deep underground, and twist in unexpected directions. The area is designed to offer a sense of discovery without leaving players feeling lost or directionless.

The Storyline and NPCs

Shadow of the Erdtree introduces a new storyline that follows the footsteps of the demigod Miquella into the Realm of Shadow. Players will encounter seven followers of Miquella, each with their own questline that ties into the main narrative. These quests provide a deeper understanding of the lore and offer rewarding revelations towards the conclusion of the story.

Final Thoughts on Shadow of the Erdtree

Completing the DLC took me roughly 25 hours, but I can easily see myself sinking another 15-20 hours into exploring optional bosses, uncharted areas, and experimenting with different builds. Shadow of the Erdtree condenses the full Elden Ring experience into a more compact adventure tailored for end-game characters.

New Weapons and Builds

The DLC introduces eight new weapon types, each offering a unique playstyle. While the new weapons are fun to experiment with, they may not match the strength of gear carried over from the base game. Additionally, a variety of new spells, Ashes of War, summons, and talismans cater to different playstyles, providing ample opportunities for players to diversify their builds.

The Freedom of Exploration

The Realm of Shadow follows a similar structure to The Lands Between, offering players the freedom to explore different regions at their own pace. This open-world design allows players to tackle challenges in any order they choose, providing a liberating sense of freedom within a more contained scale.

Should players rush towards the Shadow Keep, they will encounter endgame content with a separate power-scaling system. Collecting Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ash blessings allows for progression and a sense of growth within the DLC’s challenging landscape.