ELDEN RING Shadow of the Erdtree

Review

It's been a while since Elden Ring's release back in 2022, but the long-awaited Shadow of the Erdtree is finally upon us. Don't call it a DLC though, it's a complete expansion that offers a huge amount of content, almost like a sequel. When Miyazaki said the new map was about the same size as Limgrave, he was obviously lying (we all knew that). The Shadow Realm is probably five times bigger than Limgrave and offers an insane amount of content, such as new NPCs, quests, items, weapons and many new bosses. The map also features more “platforming” through an expanded verticality, with multiple layers, hidden locations and secrets. There is a caveat though: to access the expansion’s content, players need to beat “Mogh, Lord of Blood”, an optional boss that can be found near Elden Ring’s endgame. Finding Mogh can be tricky (but there is a shortcut if you complete a certain quest) and beating him can be hard, so being around level 150 is highly recommended for the boss fight and starting the expansion.

Talking about the Shadow of the Erdtree storyline is difficult because it seems quite convoluted, especially at the beginning. The plot revolves around a god-like being, Miquella (son of Queen Marika and brother of Malenia), who players should be familiar with as he is sometimes mentioned in the main game. He travelled to the Land of Shadow in search of something and since then others have tried to track him down without success. By talking to several NPCs and defeating the main bosses, you will eventually understand what happened to Miquella in the Land of Shadow.



Unless you are overpowered (level 200 and above), Shadow of the Erdtree can be much more challenging than the base game and includes a secondary leveling system that requires you to collect Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes. The former are needed to increase the amount of damage dealt and to reduce the amount of damage received. The latter do the same thing, but to your Spectral Steed and Spirit Ashes, which the expansion really wants you to use. So, the more fragments you get, the easier it will be to progress. The search for fragments further enhances exploration and makes it even more rewarding, while choosing to ignore them will only make the game harder, depending on your level. Do note that the effects of these fragments only work in the Realm of Shadows and not in the Lands Between, so it won’t make any difference for the main game.

There are more than 30 new bosses and while the majority of them are unique, some optional ones look like reskinned and reused. It’s a minor complaint because honestly, even without these, the expansion offers a lot of content. There are also many new standard enemies and mini-bosses that are just as deadly, especially when they attack in groups. I won’t spoil them because any encounter with a new enemy is an experience in itself. If you enjoy challenging games that fill you with adrenaline and satisfaction, this is what you have been looking for.

Visually speaking, the world-building is once again stunning. Since the Realm of Shadow is technically still part of the Lands Between, you can expect the same type of morphology, with giant mountains, impressive castles and dark forests. One thing I really appreciate about Elden Ring is that anything you see in the distance can be reached, it’s not just a nice background screen. It’s the same for Shadow of the Erdtree; there is always something that catches your attention and makes you want to explore every inch of the map. Honestly, this is the best feeling in an open world game. Plus, FromSoftware’s art style is something truly unique that stands out even when the graphics can’t be compared to the latest AAA games.

Now something slightly negative, but rather expected, is the lack of new achievements related to the expansion. Many players, including myself, would certainly have appreciated unlocking more achievements after beating bosses, but it seems like FromSoftware doesn’t really care about them, just like they don’t care about adding a Photo Mode.

Shadow of the Erdtree is an insane expansion and definitely one of the best ever made for any game. For the price, you get like a new game that offers so much content and expands Elden Ring in so many ways. The only catch is that you have to defeat an optional boss in the main game before accessing the new content, but if you love Elden Ring you won’t have any problem. To me, Shadow of the Erdtree seems like the perfect conclusion for Elden Ring. Don’t get me wrong, I would be happy to see another expansion, but considering how long they took to make this one, it will be highly unlikely. Yet I can’t even imagine what the FromSoftware’s next game will be, and with this expansion the excitement can only increase.

Review written by Sonic Punk for Zeepond.com

ELDEN RING Shadow of the Erdtree Steam Store Page


Positives

+ Huge amount of content for an expansion
+ Amazing lore and world-building
+ Incredible sense of discovery and rewarding exploration
+ Even more challenging than the base game
+ New NPCs and quests
+ The unique FromSoftware art style

Negatives

- Lack of new achievements and Photo mode
- Some bosses are repeated
- Accessing the expansion is not very easy

Review Summary

Shadow of the Erdtree is a magnificent expansion that feels almost like a sequel, offering an impressive amount of high-quality content that exceeds any expectation.

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Zeepond Rating: 10/10

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