Skip to main content

Arise, Tarnished (again) - Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree is out now

It's Erdtreelease day at last

A Tarnished decked out in hand-to-hand combat gear fights with Dryleaf Arts in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Bandai Namco

Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree has finally been released on PC, adding a fat, rancid helping of open world role-playing to an open world RPG of already trouser-wetting, skirt-soiling scale and hazard. You can find this "first and last" Elden Ring DLC expansion on Steam, the Xbox Store and in the suppurating depths of your very worst nightmares. Am I overdoing it yet? No matter. Let's press on.

Perhaps you've never heard of Elden Ring's Erdtree DLC. Perhaps you've sauntered in here expecting a nice game about looking at antique rings while lying under some shady topiary. Come child, I'll soon birth thee anew. Shadow Of The Erdtree is a lategame Elden Ring add-on which rudely attaches a grotty new region, The Land Of Shadow, to the base game's festering Lands Between. Here you'll find a host of new weapons, enemies, bosses and stories concerning the fate of Miquella, a character who is of huge importance to the main Elden Ring storyline.

Once again: this is a lategame add-on, designed to sizzle the nerves and parboil the synapses of all but the most seasoned and well-equipped Tarnished adventurers, though it does at least have more or less the same system requirements as the main game. Our own recommended Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree starting level is between 120-150, and you'll need to reach certain areas and defeat certain bosses before you can enter the Land of Shadow, though you don't need to finish the game. If you're a NG+ player in need of reorientation, we've also written a guide to the fastest way to reach Shadow Of The Erdtree - 24 steps, each more harrowing than the last. Speaking as a lapsed player who keeps meaning to get back into Elden Ring and failing, I am currently squatting on step 11.5 - "Sob uncontrollably on the bridge of Redmane Castle".

If you're already hip to all these Elden antics, you might be more interested in knowing whether Shadow Of The Erdtree is any good. I don't know for sure, but I know somebody who does: Ed Thorn, aka Starscourge Edders, who went to the trouble of publishing an Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree review a few days ago. He was a bit ambivalent, actually, describing the expansion as a "pseudo-sequel" and praising its greater emphasis on crafty exploration, while sternly withholding the Bestest Best badge.

"The Land Of Shadow may not be as expansive as the base game's Lands Between, but it's knottier, denser, more of a twisting mass that burrows into the earth and soars into the skies," Ed wrote. "For this reason I think it produces some of Elden Ring's finest moments, as exploration leads to a truer sense of discovery reminiscent of old Souls. But I also think its sheer density exposes more chinks in its open world format, where its interconnected sprawl leads to even greater recollection paralysis." Recollection paralysis! I'm pretty sure that's what you get from Basilisks.

Now that Erdtree is out, the insatiable gamer brain promptly turns to what FromSoftware might work on next. President and Dark Souls series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki has already offered some wistful ruminations on the experience of fatherhood as an inspiration, if not a direct theme. Personally, I'd like to play a FromSoftware game that gets away from the "corrupted rulers in need of purgation" premise that has broadly defined FromSoftware's output since Demon's Souls. I'm not sure what I want, but I don't want to have to topple another ruined king. A man may tire of destroying or usurping a polluted cosmic order. How about you?

Read this next