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Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Review

A little over two years after FromSoftware and Bandai Namco’s Elden Ring first launched, the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC arrives. Is it worth dusting off your “git gud” card, or should you stick to something easier?

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Review


Shadow of the Erdtree takes place in the Land of Shadow, a world trapped in an eternal war that will never happen. When you arrive, you first notice hundreds of ghost gravestones, the resting place of those taken during the battle with Messmer’s Flame.

This DLC is brutal, and if you aren’t at least level 150, you might as well make your way back home. The first “world boss” you run into is the Wicker Man—a giant humanoid with the body of a burning hot brazier. I ran past and swung to test the waters, and it picked me up and dropped me into the inferno resting on top of its head. I respawned and promptly headed in another direction.

shadow Of The Erdtree review

Despite the rough start, I quickly found myself falling in love with the game all over again. A whole new land of brutal enemies and hidden secrets awaited as I set out to explore every nook and cranny.

For those of you – like me – who grinded to level 200, you will walk through some of the game’s easier bosses, but there are still plenty of challenges to be had. I even found some new weapons worth trying, which I didn’t expect.

Shadow of the Erdtree’s exploration is just as good as Elden Ring’s. The map is layered on multiple levels, with twisting caverns and broken structures leading to different areas. Even as I am writing this, there are a couple of places that I am trying to figure out how to get to.

That’s what makes games like this special: it’s stumbling upon something you weren’t expecting and feeling like you discovered something new. Every new key or secret door opened provides another chance to get that hit of dopamine we all seek.

Shadow Of The Erdtree Honest Review

Enemy-wise, there are many new ones, but nothing seemed unfamiliar, if that makes sense. I spoke of the Wickermen, but average Joe enemies are still soldiers, dogs, annoying jumping enemies, and flying bug creatures.

My biggest complaint, gameplay-wise, is just how much HP some of these enemies have. I’m not expecting to kill things in a shot, but I came in with a max-level Blasphemous Blade; the normal enemies shouldn’t be taking three hits simply because it has over 5K HP.

If these dudes had that much HP, they would have won the war easily. Boss HP actually seemed to be in that sweet spot. I’d do big damage, but it still took a couple of minutes to bring them down – assuming they didn’t kill me first.

When it comes to new gear, I honestly didn’t replace much. The downside to being so powerful in Elden Ring is that you won’t see the need for change here. Respecing takes a Larval Tear, which isn’t always easy to come by, making it harder to experiment with new builds.

I did try out some of the new fist weapons and Ashes of War, both of which are really fun. Sadly, fun doesn’t win fights in Elden Ring, so I went back to my two-handed sword that sets enemies on fire and steals their HP.

I’m sure plenty of people will find insane builds with the kung fu fists, but it wasn’t meant to be for me. There are also “light” greatswords that swing quicker at the cost of damage.

Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree Honest review

It’s difficult to say much else without spoiling things, so I’ll just say this: There is a pilgrimage going on when you arrive, one that you take part in. This journey feels revitalizing, like you are bringing some light to this dark, dreary world.

Every step of the way, you are greeted by fellow pilgrims as they journey to follow in Miquella’s footsteps. Sometimes, they aid you in battle; other times, they simply guide you to your next destination.

We were kindred spirits in this land, and that helped me get through to the end game. No spoilers, but buckle up buttercup: The end-game bosses are savage.

Now for the tech issues. I didn’t have any crashes and only ran into a couple of glitches. The bug was funny, because I got stuck in the air, spinning in circles until the game decided it was time for me to die.

The game is gorgeous, especially the Cerulean Coast, but man, is it frame-y. I don’t know numbers or anything, but you will notice it during your advantage.

Shadow of the Erdtree is the perfect swan song to Elden Ring. It gives you all the challenge, the loot, and the lore of the base game in a smaller chunk. Prepare to lose yourself to its siren call yet again.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Review

Reviewed On: PlayStation 5 (A digital code was provided)
Release Date: June 20, 2024
MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Developer: FromSoftware, Inc.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Alternative Reviews: WellPlayed, ScreenRant
Aggregate Scores: Metacritic, OpenCritic

Review Policy | Scoring Policy

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Official Score

Overall - 90%

90%

Shadow of the Erdtree is the perfect swan song to Elden Ring. It gives you all the challenge, the loot, and the lore of the base game in a smaller chunk. Prepare to lose yourself to its siren call yet again.

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Johnny Hurricane

Johnny Hurricane is the resident hardcore gamer here at Gamers Heroes. You'll usually find him diving deep into the latest releases as he attempts to conquer each and every game that crosses his path. Mostly known for his ability to create detailed and comprehensive guides on even the most complex of game mechanics, you'll sometimes see the odd review and editorial topic but his true abilities lie in competitive gaming. Johnny Hurricane's Gamer Biography

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