Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?
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Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

After the release of the Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, news appeared that it became the best add-on in history according to the Metacritic rating, receiving an average score of 95 points and leaving behind Blood and Wine for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. We went to the Land of Shadows to check whether the new content pack really deserves such a high rating – we share our impressions in the review.

  • Developer: FromSoftware
  • Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 , Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
  • Release date: June 21, 2024

FromSoftware wouldn’t be themselves if they didn’t give players a difficult hurdle to overcome before even exploring the DLC content. To get to a new area, you need to perform several non-obvious actions, including killing bosses in various locations. Moreover, one of them is plot-based, and the second is optional, and you still need to get to it.

In addition, the developers note that the territory of Shadow of the Erdtree is not a place for the faint of heart, so you should first level up to level 120 – 150 or more in order to be able to resist enemies. You will be convinced of this when you encounter the first large enemy with a fiery “bowl” instead of the upper half of his body, who is not even a boss, nevertheless spams AoE attacks and can easily trample the protagonist.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?
Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

What can we say about those very bosses who here become evil in the flesh. The authors imply that in the two years since the release of Elden Ring , you have climbed the original game, defeated everyone who can be defeated, and are hungry for new challenges. Therefore, any boss will humiliate you, forcing you to learn how to play again. Long series of attacks, powerful area attacks, one-shots – all this is commonplace for enemies in the expansion, and you will have to get used to it, although the grief of even seasoned hardcore fans can be understood and sympathized with.

Of course, there is a way out. Firstly, the game has new resources that can be used at “bonfires” to give the character buffs to damage and summoned spirits. They provide a serious increase in performance, which motivates the player to explore the world and search for them.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?
Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

Secondly, no one is yet stopping you from summoning helpers in battle. The add-on added about two dozen companions who can provide all possible assistance during a battle with a particularly nasty boss. Players can also master new weapons and armor – both those that drop from enemies and those that lie in chests hidden in dungeons and turrets. And not only weapons – there are a lot of new amulets, spells, components for potions and other items. You can even learn hand-to-hand combat and imagine yourself a master of kung fu , knocking the spirit out of monsters .

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However, most of the useful loot is hidden behind vast spaces that need to be explored on foot or on horseback . The original Elden Ring suffered from gigantomania, Shadow of the Erdtree twists it to the maximum, so get ready to gallop for a long time to the castle visible on the horizon , while absolutely nothing happens around you – except perhaps some lost skeleton will come across, for which you are even too lazy to get off the right one mount. You have to constantly check the map to see if there is anything interesting nearby or if you are just rushing to nowhere.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?
Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

Fortunately, when it comes to fortresses and dungeons, the situation changes dramatically: here you will find multi-level, vertical locations full of enemies, traps and chests. Having looked into an inconspicuous dungeon, you can meet an optional boss, and having reached the village – spend a good hour trying to get across the abyss, behind which you can see a tower that was clearly not placed there for no reason.

In terms of art, Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree still puts most modern RPGs to shame, so the number of beautiful screenshots taken during the game is off the charts. At the same time, the frame rate tends to zero: FromSoftware never got rid of annoying freezes and fps drops in random places, so you can be defeated by an enemy not only because of its incredible power, but also because the game lags at the wrong time. At least this is how you can justify your own crookedness.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?
Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

However, you don’t just need to enjoy the beauties of the add-on – you need to get to the end of the story, which this time is tied to the search for Mikella, Malenia’s brother. This time, the scriptwriters gave players more of a plot: you can meet NPCs at the “bonfires” and chat with them, and the gameplay is periodically interrupted by beautiful cutscenes.

At the same time, navigating the world is still bad: even though the main quest of the add-on is linear, it’s easy to get lost in large-scale locations, especially when exploring large fortresses. The situation is no better with additional tasks, the conditions for activation and completion of which are so opaque that even with guides at hand it is not always possible to complete them. And the rewards for exploration are not always satisfying: there are often cases when, at the end of a long dungeon, some little useful item is discovered that will only take up space in the inventory.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?
Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Best DLC Ever?

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, for all its splendor, has a number of problems that stretch back to the original game. The open world is half empty, the bosses are unreasonably difficult, and you have to guess about plot twists and turns, building a picture of what is happening in your head from obscure phrases and descriptions of objects.

Nevertheless, the add-on is capable of giving bright emotions. Not always positive, but bright, causing a feeling of deep satisfaction after defeating another boss or passing a huge multi-level castle, from the top of which an incredible view opens up. In the end, new content for the best game of 2022 simply cannot be ignored if you consider yourself a fan of soulslikes.

 
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