Shadow Of The Erdtree Still Has The Most Frustrating Parts Of Elden Ring’s Boss Design

Elden Ring's DLC seems to have doubled down on the annoyance of the base game.

Story Highlights

  • Shadow of the Erdtree has some really frustrating boss encounters.
  • This is largely because of the aggression and camera problems the game suffers with. 
  • Enemies also feel ridiculously overdesigned, with almost every boss having tons of abilities. 

Souls games have a reputation for being very difficult but Shadow of the Erdtree, Elden Ring’s latest DLC, takes things to a completely new level. It’s gotten to the point that even veteran Souls players are starting to call FromSoftware out for it. While a lot of these complaints stem from players who simply haven’t interacted with the Scadutree fragments, the DLC’s overhauled leveling system, there are some genuine issues as well.

Most notably, FromSoftware has seemingly doubled down on all the most frustrating aspects of Elden Ring’s boss design. There’s no denying the title has some of the highest highs of the Souls series, but also some of the lowest lows. The base game is filled with boss fights that are downright frustrating for artificial reasons, and the DLC seems to be no different. Here’s why.

  • About the Author: Danish Bukhari is a long-time fan of the Soulslike genre. He specifically loves Elden Ring, having invested over 150 hours in the title. 

Aggression For Days

One of the key problems with a lot of the bosses in Shadow of the Erdtree is that the bosses give players almost zero breathing room. Unlike in classic Souls titles like Dark Souls 3, where every boss felt like it was in a rhythmic dance with the player, Elden Ring’s bosses can’t seem to let up at all. This is most shown by DLC bosses like Rellana, Twin Moon Knight. She can directly go from one combo to the next.

Rellana, Twin Moon Knight Is One Of Elden Ring's Hardest Bosses (via FromSoftware).
Rellana, Twin Moon Knight Is One Of Elden Ring’s Hardest Bosses (via FromSoftware).

Even if you decide to run away, these bosses have huge gap closers which make it really difficult to take a break during the combat. The end result was that I was often left wondering just when it was my turn to play. And that’s really frustrating. It feels like a lot of these fights are designed with the idea that you’re supposed to use summons. 

Summons can help to tank some of these fights, but even then the bosses will sometimes completely ignore the NPC summon and target you instead. Still, it can help to avoid the constant level of aggression that some of the DLC bosses have. While it’s certainly doable to avoid these attacks with enough practice, it just feels a lot harder compared to how bosses were in Dark Souls 3, or even the base Elden Ring.

The Camera Is The Hardest Boss

With how some of these bosses are flying across their arena, it really feels like Elden Ring’s camera simply can’t keep up. The worst part is when you’re fighting something like a dragon. The sheer size of these things makes it so you can’t read most of their attacks and just have to wing it. When most of these attacks take more than half of your health bar, you simply can’t just guess your way into a win.

The camera in this series is beyond frustrating at this point.
byu/Screwdriver_man inEldenring

Divine Beast Dancing Lion really suffers from this problem. If you lock onto the boss, you’re going to have a really hard time seeing most of its moves. It doesn’t help that the boss is incredibly hard to read, mostly due to terrible animations. This boss in particular could use some sort of changes because currently, while it’s definitely doable, it’s a very frustrating experience without a summon there.

Most Of The Bosses Feel Overdesigned

Another core problem that’s becoming really apparent with the DLC bosses is that each of them is severely overdesigned. Back in the DS3 days, bosses had some unique abilities and characteristics to them. But mostly, they felt unique and interesting in their own right. Nowadays. FromSoftware seems too focused on making every boss a jack-of-all-trades. As a result, there’s a baseline set of abilities that almost every encounter features.

Shadow Of The Erdtree's Bosses All Feel Like They Have Too Many Abilities (via FromSoftware).
Shadow Of The Erdtree’s Bosses All Feel Like They Have Too Many Abilities (via FromSoftware).

In the DLC, especially, the bosses all tend to have massive slashes, shockwaves that deal significant AOE damage, huge gap closers, as well as grabs that can one-shot you if you’re not careful or fast enough. Some bosses with these abilities make sense. But when Golden Hippopotamus leaped across its arena to kill my character in one swoop, despite being massive in size, there was something clearly wrong.

I know Souls players love to simply say “get good” to everything. But the fact is that this goes beyond simply being a skill issue. There are genuine problems with how some of these bosses are designed. And by putting FromSoftware above any sort of criticism, players are only making their future games worse. I hope the company takes the backlash to the current difficulty to heart.

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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