Shadow of the Erdtree Review wallpaper
July 10, 2024

Return to the 2022 GotY winner, Elden Ring, in the soul-crushing and massive expansion that will challenge every player! Find out more in our Shadow of the Erdtree Review!

Brave Tarnished, you have returned to face death as you undertake a new quest to follow in the footsteps of Kindly Miquella. It has been 2 years since the latest FromSoftware game took the world by storm. Elden Ring (Read our Review here) was a critical success and now we have the chance to return to the Lands Between and discover a brand new side to the Erdtree. Does Shadow of the Erdtree contain the light of lost grace or is it perpetually covered in darkness? Find out in our Shadow of the Erdtree review!

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Gameplay beginning

Behold a new land to conquer/die in!

*Spoilers for Elden Ring and Shadow of the Erdtree Expansion follows*

Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Story

If you comprehend the narrative of Elden Ring then you’ve either spent dozens of hours reading lore, watching videos or you’re one of those maniacs who read every little scrap of detail in game. It’s more convoluted than a season of Game of Thrones which is befitting since Hidetaka Miyazaki and FromSoftware recruited George R.R. Martin to pen the entire backstory. I shall attempt at outlining a brief overview of the main game before we dive into the DLC.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review NPC Dialogue

Umm ok thanks for that…

A long time ago in the lands between, the celestial gods gifted the world the Elden Ring, a physical embodiment of order. This was bequeathed to Markia who ruled from up high on the Erdree and resulted in her ascent to a God. To ensure her rule was eternal, Marika removed the Rune of Death from the Elden Ring and banished humans (Tarnished) from her land. Of course no throne would exist without its challengers and in this case it is the children of Marika who upend this delicate balance.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Marika

Marika, the end boss of the main game.

Goddess Marika chooses a consort by the name of Godfrey, the first Elden Lord, who gives her three sons Morgott, Mohg and Godwyn. Her first born son and heir to the throne Godwyn, is assassinated by another of her children, Ranni the witch, who has was fathered by another of Marika’s consorts. This leads the Goddess Marika to destroy the Elden Ring, splitting it into great runes which fall into the hands of her other children, the main bosses of the game. This shattering causes chaos and a fight for the throne but it all ends in a stalemate. The Elden Ring itself bring back a tarnished from exile and is given immortality in order to solve the realms crisis.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review NPC Dialogue

Is Marika the hero or the villain?

This is where your journey first began and you most likely ended up being crowned the new Elden Lord after defeating all of Marika’s offspring. However, there was one you did not face but may have heard of, Miquella. He was gifted with eternal youth but kidnapped by his brother Mohg. He managed to escape his grasp and vanish to another land, hidden in the Shadow of the Erdtree. His followers lead you to this secret place in this expansion as you cross more fearsome foes, bosses and ultimately Miquella himself.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Gameplay Castle Erdtree

One of the main legact dungeons of the story.

As you journey across the world of shadow, you find crosses left by Miquella which also states that he lost pieces of himself along the way, including a most important aspect, his kindness. Once you come face to face with Miquella he is no longer the friendly lord he once was and seeks to usher in a new rule over the Lands Between with his promised consort (spoilers). This leads to one of the toughest battles in FromSoftware history as the Tarnished is the only thing standing between Miquella and his new world order.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Messmer Boss

Not the end boss but an incredible one!

Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Gameplay

As this is an expansion of the main game, Shadow of the Erdtree handles just as it did in the base edition. There are new sets of armour to find, exciting new weapons to wield, spells to conjure and new upgrades to seek out. As you explore the upside down of the Erdtree, the most important items are Scadtree (shadow tree) Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Scadutree Fragment

The most important item in the DLC.

This new enhancement system is purely for the DLC and gives you a much needed boost against enemies. The fragments buff your character whilst the ashes buff your summon and each additional level gets you an increase between 5-10% of damage/defence. Unless you can solo her, it’s highly recommended you seek out as many of these as you can because some of the boss fights in Shadow of the Erdtree are extremely difficult.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Gameplay Boss Bayle

One of the coolest optional bosses, a dragon!

Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Audio/Visuals

With great and formidable bosses, you must have an epic soundtrack to suit the fight. As the composers for Elden Ring have done before, we see it again here with nothing taken away from previous boss fights in the main game. Each tune for each boss feels monumental, like with much of the game, including the new areas which all have new tracks to go along with them. The Abyssal woods by Yuka Kitamura is particularly terrifying and enhances this maddening forest, just take a listen below but maybe get some new pants first.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review – What Else?

You wanted Limgrave? You got three of them at least! Shadow of the Erdtree’s map is insanely huge, especially for an add-on. There are caves, tunnels, legacy dungeons, another dozen or so smaller dungeons, fields of blue flowers, horrifying woods and massive peaks. In almost every area you are greeted with an incredible view, which makes the lack of photo mode even more of a sore point.

How this is all in one map is an accomplishment just in itself!

On top of endlessly exploring there are a dozen or so side quests you can undertake from the NPCs you come across, including Needle Knight Leda, Redmane Freyja and Count Ymir just to name a few. The latter sends you all over the map to finger-licking good locations and ends in one of the major optional boss battles that really packs a punch.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Gameplay fingers

Creepy or funny?

Shadow of the Erdtree Review – Conclusion

Sometimes more of the same isn’t generally a good thing, but here it’s what everyone has wanted plus more. This is the perfect example of an expansion done right, by adding a tonne of new enemies, new mandatory and optional areas to explore, challenging bosses all whilst fitting into the existing game seamlessly. From Software continues its winning streak of difficult but rewarding games as Shadow of the Erdree is officially the best rated DLC of all time. After completing it, I can definitely see why it earned that well deserved title.

Shadow of the Erdtree Review Gameplay castle erdtree

Praise the Shadow of the Erdtree Expansion.

So, why should you play Shadow of the Erdtree?

  • An incredible expansion to the largest FromSoftware game
  • Amazing landscapes to explore
  • Challenging Bosses to fight

But why shouldn’t you play Shadow of the Erdtree?

  • Soulsborne games aren’t your thing
  • If you haven’t played Elden Ring
  • You prefer cosy games over challenging ones

A review code was kindly provided by Bandai Namco for the purpose of our Shadow of the Erdtree review.  You can check out our Elden Ring review here and if you haven’t already, be sure to join the Qualbert Discord to find out about the latest game and review updates!

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