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July 19, 2024

Elden Ring: Shadow of The Erdtree | Review

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Genres: Role-playing video gameAdventure gameFighting game

Developer: FromSoftware Inc.

Platforms: PlayStation 5PlayStation 4Xbox OneXbox Series X and Series SMicrosoft Windows

Publishers: BNE LLCNamco Bandai Games America Inc.

SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!

Key Takeaways

  • Scadutree fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes manipulate DLC’s difficulty
  • Masterclass interconnected multi-layered map design
  • Ulcerated Tree Spirit reused too many times
  • Playstation 5 version had a few framerate issues
  • Unblocking spiritspring gameplay mechanic added a puzzle layer to traversal
  • Majority of boss fights were really good
  • Rewarding exploration
  • Many new weapons, spirit ashes, incantations, armors, lore
  • NPCs were good
  • NPC questlines more linear and less obscure
  • Iris of Grace and Iris of Occultation can dictate a good or bad ending for some NPC questlines
  • New weapon classes were fun to use and diverse
  • A great compliment to the base game’s story and lore
  • Mohgwyn is actually the good guy
  • Miquella flawed with good intentions abused his demi-god charm power

Introduction

Much has been made about Elden Ring: Shadow of The Erdtree‘s difficulty which is a non issue in realty due to the plethora of useful items and tools such as Scadutree Fragments and Mimic Tear Ash. SOTE Video Playlist

A week has passed since the launch of Shadow of The Erdtree and I already seen broken Frenzied Madness, Blood magic builds that can wipe the floor with Consort Radahn with seconds. My Blood Mage Warrior Tank build whooped Radahn Consort’s ass thank you.

This DLC was amazing. It’s as high quality as DLC gets. You can get a good 30 hours per playthrough. Tons of content. Flawless map design. The story had a twist I didn’t expect in regards to Miquella and Mohg.

Visually, the art work looked amazing in some areas of the the Shadow Lands focusing on the Death Tree covered in a giant drapery. I have played 99% of Souls-Bornes’s DLCs and no doubt Shadow of The Erdtree stands on top but not without it’s flaws.

Presentation

The main flaws of Shadow of The Erdtree’s presentation are it’s minor technical issues most notably it’s framerate dips and stutters when playing on my Playstation 5.

I didn’t like how many times I had to fight the Ulcerated Tree Spirits (3) which were tied to important items such as the Iris of Occultation which impacts major NPC questline choices in turn dictates your end reward in said questline.

The Shadow Lands as a map is one of the best map’s in gaming even narrowly beating out “my” Bloodborne in my opinion. The layers of interconnectivity of beautiful vistas, caves, catacombs, villages, lakes and large dungeons being interconnected by a simple turn or spiritspring were masterclass level design.

Curiosity is rewarded in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree whether it’s a powerful item or piece of gear or an important boss fight. I never got bored of exploring the Shadow Lands in my thirty-plus hour playthrough.

As for bugs and glitches the camera which became wonky too much during certain encounters inside certain spaces. I alluded to earlier I played on my Playstation 5 which did have framerate issues from time to time.

Presentation-wise the strength of this DLC is it’s world map as a whole. New weapon classes along with a added difficulty mechanic for players who find the DLC to touch in Revered Spirit Ashes and Scadutree Fragments which buff the player, Torrent and used Spirit Ashes.

Story

Elden Ring Shadow of The Erdtree’s story focuses on a particular past segment tied into Elden Ring’s main story of Miquella the Kind, the ever youthful empherian son of Marika, God of the Lands In-between.

Miquella is a empyrean who wants to transcend to god status by using his power of charm to sway lands of people’s hearts into loving him. Miquella attempts to become a god but ultimately fails after trying to make Radahn as his consort and after the tarnished kills Mohg.

Miquella wants to use Mohg’s corpse as a vassal for Radahn to become to be his consort. I always though Mohg was the bad guy but in the end he was controlled and used by Miquella. You also have Messmer The Impaler linked to Miquella.

Elden Ring’s story is told through lore mostly. NPCs, boss encounters and discoveries you make in the game’s world particularly in items, weapons, environmental markers etc. Souls games don’t have in your face stories.

I must give a shout out to Sir Ansbach for being the best NPC (good guy) out of Miquella’s rag tag group of charmed mercenaries at the start of the DLC. Many NPCs had important questlines that fleshed out Elden Ring’s story such as St. Trina, Igon, Bayle the Dread and Ymir.

Gameplay

Shadow of The erdtree’s main difference in regards to base Elden Ring are a few things. You have collectible difficulty level scaling items scattered throughout the The Shadow Land in Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes.

Spiritsprings were in the base game for Torrent to jump onto but now on occasion you have to find and unblock a spiritspring to reach certain locals. I tried the new weapon types such as light greatwords, great katanas, backhand weapons, smithscript weapons, hand to hand art weapons.

I tried some new incantations. You will find something new for your build that you will love. Trust me. This DLC is really more Elden Ring, yet concise and focused on quality.

Asides from the regurgitated Ulcerated Tree Spirits I loved the Remembrance bosses such as Messmer, Bayle The Dread, Midra, Lord of Frenzied Flame and of course Radahn who some hated but they are stupid gamers in my opinion. You can’t complain about difficulty when you purposely don’t use all items, mechanics to make the fights easier such as mimic tear. I know opinions 😒

Base enemy map variety featured many new shadows, creatures, invaders, dragons and monsters to fight. Shadow Lands isn’t The Lands Between so it makes sense you will encounter a plethora of different foes to battle “Oh Mother”.

Visuals | Graphics

I played Shadow of The Erdtree on my Playstation 5 and immediately saw an improvement from the based game visually as I walked out onto Gravesite Plain. I’m old, my eyes suck and I refuse to wear glasses yet could see a visual upgrade.

I really loved the art presentation of the Shadow Lands various tint colored locals. They are varied and beautiful to look at throughout. From Jagged Peak to Southern Shore Shadow of The Erdtree was majestic in appearance.

Sound | Music

I’m not the biggest video game guy when it comes to music unless something really gets me going. Music and voice acting during Bayle The Dread really stood out to me.

It was an entertaining, challenging, invigorating spectacle that shows how badass Elden Ring is. Voice acting for Sir Ansbach was nailed. Buy this DLC. That’s about it. Later

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC: The Shadow Lands is a masterclass in interconnected, layered explorative map design. A solid middle conclusion to Elden Ring's story. Plethora of new gameplay mechanics, weapons, gear, items with invigorating boss encounters. Some framerate issues on Playstation 5. I actually wished there was more content after a solid 30 hours, 240+ gameplay videos uploaded first playthrough. Shadow of The Erdtree is one of, if not the best piece of DLC across any video game. Jason

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2024-06-30T10:53:27-0700

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Jason

Jason Flowers
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