Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree DLC Review — An Extension Of Perfection

Another glorious expansion that's worth every penny!

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Review
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance


Shadow of the Erdtree improves upon the already perfect Elden Ring with the addition of new weapons, regions, and bosses.


  • Brilliant Level Design.
  • Amazing Boss Fights.
  • New And Fun Weapon Types.
  • Beautiful Art Direction.
  • Massive Interconnected Open-World.


  • Few Performance Issues.
  • Reskinned Boss Fights.

Elden Ring has, by far, been FromSoftware’s most ambitious and well-received project in their career. Its in-depth combat, exploration, art style, and boss design are among the most beloved in the open-world RPG genre. Given the game’s triumphant launch, the DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, faced high expectations, and after spending hours in the Realm of Shadow, I believe there’s only one word to describe this expansion—phenomenal.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: FromSoftware
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Release Date: June 21, 2024
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4
  • Game Length: 6 Hours
  • Time Played: 20 Hours

Story And Setting

story and lore in the dlc
The Story. (Image Captured by Us)

Shadow of the Erdtree is set in the Realm of Shadow and the tarnished enters this area to find Miquella. The realm is treated as a mirror world of The Lands Between, spanning various explorable areas including legacy dungeons and biomes that felt somewhat larger than Limgrave and Caelid combined. Straying away from the Elden Lord narrative, the Realm of Shadow was inhabited by folks who loathed the Erdtree.

When Marika learned about this hidden land, she orchestrated an attack on it led by Messmer the Impaler. Messmer ultimately succeeded, crippling the realm, but he himself was also locked there by Marika. I was initially surprised to find out that NPCs in the Realm of Shadow hate the Tarnished but it became clear to me why that is as I learned more about what Marika had done.

Miquella, on the other hand, wanted to start his own age, an age filled with compassion and for that, he decided to enter the Shadow Realm in order to achieve godhood.

Miquella, after seeing the atrocities, decided to abandon his flesh and body within the Realm of Shadow to achieve divine status and redeem the sins of his mother. I found his body parts scattered around the map of the DLC marked by distinct crosses.

The Shadow Realm Shines Brightly

different locations in shadow of the erdtree elden ring
Exploring the Shadow Realm in the DLC. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Everything in the DLC is a one-up from the base game and that applies to the setting as well. The Shadow Realm is filled with beautiful areas to explore like Gravesite Plains or the Scadu Altus. It also contains well-designed legacy dungeons with an amazing level design like Belurat, Tower Settlement, or the Shadow Keep. Every area is distinct from the other in terms of visuals and art direction.

Even though the size of the overall map compared to the base game is small, I found equally great variety in terms of areas and locales that I could explore.

This setting is also backed by an amazing OST and score. From the ambient music that played during exploration to the orchestral tunes played during boss fights, everything was exceptional. Some of the boss fight themes were so good that they’re still stuck in my head and, again, I consider these to be better than the soundtracks in the base game.

I honestly didn’t think that the setting would blow me away like the base game did but the developers at FromSoftware are masters at perfecting a masterpiece even further.


gameplay in elden ring shadow of the erdtree
The Gameplay. (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)

You might not expect it but the overall gameplay system has seen a lot of changes with the addition of multiple new weapon types including Light Greatswords, Hand-to-Hand weapons, Perfume Bottles, and much more. Each weapon type comes with a completely new set of animations and new ashes of war, and you can even power-stance them.

The addition of new weapon types creates endless possibilities for experimentation, and that for me was extremely fun.

Thankfully, most of the weapons are available early on in the DLC through exploration and you won’t have to wait until the final boss to try them out. Aside from that, exploration remains similar to the base game with the open world being filled with mini-dungeons or ruins and the huge legacy dungeons where the main boss of an area resides.

In my experience, I found a better variety of mini-dungeons compared to the base game as they were less repetitive and I would mostly end up finding a completely new layout every time I entered a mini-dungeon. This also owes to the fact that the overall size of the map is small compared to The Lands Between. Even though I faced some reused enemies from the base game, there is more than enough new enemy variety in the DLC.

Interconnected Levels In An Open World

level design in the elden ring's dlc
Exploring Shadow Keep in the DLC. (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)

The level design doesn’t limit itself to the legacy dungeons, rather it connects the entire open world with hidden paths or underground areas. I will try not to spoil as much as I can but the Shadow Keep castle takes the legacy dungeon design one step further.

It is not only a huge level in itself with two different boss fights and multiple connecting paths but the Keep also connects to two different areas. The level design inside legacy dungeons also forced me to explore since a lot of paths were hidden in plain sight and it was really easy to miss them. Open-world areas have improved as well like the Ancient Ruins of Rauh.

I can say with great confidence that I was blown away by the interconnectivity of levels in Shadow of the Erdtree.

Rauh is an open-world location that is not only stunning visually but also blew me away with its level design. The underground connects so well with the hilly areas and the magnificent way you descend deep towards the boss from the top of the mountain. Some paths are hidden underground whereas others are locked behind a new puzzle that is related to the Spirit Springs.

Challenging Yet Fun Boss Battles

bosses in elden ring shadow of the erdtree
Dueling With Messmer in the Shadow Realm. (Image Captured by Us)

Shadow of the Erdtree follows the tradition of having more difficult bosses in the DLC as compared to the base game that From Software makes. In my opinion, that jump in difficulty has never been this great as is in Elden Ring.

I have hundreds of hours in the base game and have even beaten most of the bosses without getting hit, but even after that, the DLC gave me an extremely hard time, especially with its boss fights. Messmer and Dancing Lion were performing combos that were not only grand in scale but also hard to dodge.

The DLC bosses gave me very few openings to heal—not that it’s something too out of the ordinary for several bosses in Elden Ring. Most of the time I had to gamble between attacking and healing, and it almost felt like playing a different game when I faced the bosses in the DLC and that is what I love about Shadow of the Erdtree.

Visuals And Performance

elden ring graphics
The breathtaking visuals of Elden Ring’s DLC. (Image by eXputer)

Elden Ring’s base game already showcased the peak of visual creativity with featured immersive backdrops, unique character design, and punchy vibrance, and Shadow of the Erdtree carries over those elements to an even higher level.

This expansion’s biomes are distinct, colorful, and scream personality and artistic flair, showcasing the passion and care FromSoftware put into designing their new realm.

As you’d expect, there’s a ton of variety as you progress, with one area, in particular, being so gloomy that it felt like revisiting Yahargul from Bloodborne again. Visually, the areas compete with the base game’s finest like Leyndell or Farum Azula, which is to say—this DLC is a treat to look at. And, as I mentioned, the music compliments the vibe, putting an extra layer of emotion as you survey the scenery.

elden ring sote graphics
Vibrant environments and captivating ambiance. (Image by eXputer)

Performance-wise, my FPS was generally stable when exploring dungeons or enclosed spaces, but it started taking minor hits in open areas, especially when I encountered a bunch of enemies. However, performance took an even deeper dive during some boss fights, with specific attacks being so particle-intensive that it dropped my FPS to the low 30s.

I noticed these issues when playing on maximum graphical settings with a Core i5-12400F with an RTX 3070, but fortunately, I found that lowering those settings often removed the performance hiccups. Besides that, there weren’t any visual bugs or glitches, and I was satisfied with the stability for the other 90% of my experience.


elden ring verdict
Verdict. (Image by eXputer)

Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC brought back the joy and sense of curiosity I had when I stepped in The Lands Between for the first time. To put it simply, it’s like reliving your first playthrough of the base game where you can cherish the new areas, rage against immaculate bosses, explore more dungeons, and attain a plethora of weapons.

FromSoftware’s had a history of putting out expansions that either rival or excel the vanilla game’s quality, and Shadow of the Erdtree remains true to that legacy. If you can look past the minor FPS drops and some reskinned boss fights, you’ll find a 20-hour experience that reminds you why Elden Ring won Game of the Year in 2022.

This has been my review of Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other reviews:

This is box title
Get This Game
If you’re familiar with the Soulsborne formula and want to see its magic yet again.
Dont Get This Game
If you don’t like overly challenging titles.
Buy/Don't Buy/Wait For Sale
Despite the DLC’s high price, it delivers a lengthy playtime filled with industry-defining quality, so it’s a must-buy in our books.
Alternative Games
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Haris Umer is a Guides Writer on eXputer who can be seen torturing himself by playing FromSoftware’s offering of Souls games. He speaks about games with overwhelming passion, which readers can spot in his guides. Haris has been avidly playing video games for 15+ years now. You can learn more about his gaming experience through his PSN and Steam profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors In Medicine And Surgery.

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