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Elden Ring Shadow of The Erdtree Review – Conquering the Shadows

Following up Elden Ring, a highly acclaimed open-world RPG, with an expansion like Shadow of the Erdtree is a formidable task, even for a studio as renowned as FromSoftware. However, Shadow of the Erdtree successfully upholds the high standards and innovation established by Elden Ring. The base game offers a vast amount of content, requiring multiple playthroughs to fully explore, and the new expansion adds several dozen hours of additional lore and exploration, further enriching the game.

After completing a significant portion of the base game, players can access the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, which introduces the Realm of Shadow, a challenging new zone. This content is designed for players who have achieved a high level of expertise and character progression. I decided to experience the expansion as a newcomer by starting a new character, despite having completed the base game earlier.

The duration of the expansion varies based on individual experience. Starting from the beginning made the expansion notably more difficult for me, taking approximately 40 hours to complete, while others may finish it in as little as 15 to 20 hours. However, like the base game, the expansion offers compelling reasons to revisit and explore hidden areas. Completionists aiming for 100% will likely spend well over 50 hours. In essence, this expansion can be likened to Elden Ring 1.5, a partial sequel that will engage fans until an inevitable sequel materializes.

The new location is nearly as vast and substantial as the initial regions of Elden Ring. The new boss fights present some of the most formidable challenges in the game, and the game employs a thoughtful approach to new progression. This mitigates the need for extensive rune-grinding and accelerates the pace. Simply traversing the primary section of Erdtree could result in missing out on the abundant optional content scattered throughout the world. Fans of Elden Ring will appreciate the significance and gratification of exploring these locations with a sense of wonder and discovery, and Shadow of the Erdtree reintroduces these elements in a fresh package.

Shadow of the Erdtree feels like a part of the endgame of Elden Ring, even though players do not need to finish the base game or get close to the end to access it. The expansion introduces many unique weapons that can be enhanced with new collectibles. The newly added Shadow Realm allows players to collect Scadutree Fragments and Reverned Spirit Ash, which can be used to improve their character at checkpoints. While this new progression is only useful for the expansion itself, it helps to distinguish the newly added area from the base game, preventing players from becoming too overpowered if they return to earlier content.

There are dozens of new load-outs to experiment with in the game, offering endless potential for customization. These load-outs can also be upgraded, further increasing their potency. The new boss fights can be challenging, but I was able to rely on my trustworthy magic build, which worked as reliably for the boss fights as it did in the main game. I had to search for new armor sets and spells, which brought back the excitement of exploring the world of Elden Ring when the game first came out.

The new zone in Shadow of the Erdtree is filled with mini-bosses that are challenging to defeat. These mini-bosses also respawn when players hit a checkpoint, making travel through the world more difficult than one might expect. As FromSoftware’s first expansion for an open-world game, its design is reminiscent of Elden Ring. Unlike the linear-based locations seen in previous FromSoftware games like Bloodborne and its DLC, Elden Ring, and this expansion provide a sense of exploring a vast new world.

Shadow of the Erdtree is an excellent point for players to return to the game. If you have a new game+ build to test, the expansion might seem slightly easier, but the new load-outs and challenges will keep the gameplay engaging. The expansion brings back the intense difficulty seen in fights with bosses like Radahn and Malenia, raising the stakes even higher. While the boss fights in the expansion may not become as memorable as some fan favorites from the main game, they are still well-designed and fit the expansion’s objectives.

FromSoftware’s clever level design shines in this expansion. It incorporates elements reminiscent of their earlier games, which long-time fans will appreciate seeing in Elden Ring. The dungeons scattered throughout the new zone are full of secrets that challenge players’ wits, promising an engaging experience for all. Additionally, there are unique NPCs to discover, each with fascinating backstories that further expand the world’s lore.

Shadow of the Erdtree expansion sets a new standard for creating content for a game as vast and ambitious as Elden Ring. It is destined to be remembered for years to come.

Elden Ring Shadow of The Erdtree Game Information

  • Price: $39.99
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: From Software
  • Platform: PC (Reviewed)
  • Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher
Score
9.5

Summary

Shadow of the Erdtree maintains the high standards set by the base game. It introduces the challenging Realm of Shadow, offering new boss fights, weapons, and progression without excessive grinding. The expansion revitalizes the sense of discovery with secrets, mini-bosses, and unique NPCs.

Total Rating

9.5
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Ali Haider

Ali Haider loves to dabble in multimedia projects. He has a passion for editing and managing YouTube videos and loves writing in his spare time.

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