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Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree hates you more than the base game ever did

Elden Ring Shadow Of The Erdtree hates you more than the base game ever did

Hey Miquella you're so fine

Hidetaka Miyazaki has never met you, but I can only assume he hates you. Why else would his studio, FromSoftware, develop games with the sole intention of making you suffer?

Don't get me wrong: there is joy to be found in this suffering. I love Bloodborne like it were my scabby diseased baby, and Elden Ring remains one of my favourite open-world RPGs of... ever. But these are not games that were designed by someone who likes you.

I'm delighted to report that after three hours with Elden Ring's upcoming Shadow Of The Erdtee expansion, Miyazaki and FromSoftware hate you more than ever. This is a brutal new adventure that builds on everything that made the base game great, and is absolutely filled with the very best kinds of rotten tricks.

Shadow Of The Erdree brings players to a brand-new area that you can only access after beating Mohg in the base game, though believe me when I say you'll probably want to make sure you're as levelled up and well-equipped as possible.

FromSoftware DLC is not known for its kindness, as you'll probably know if you've ever tried to beat Bloodborne's hard-as-nails expansion. The Land Of Shadow, where Shadow Of The Erdtree takes place, is not for the faint of heart.

As soon as I arrived in this new realm, my eye was drawn to a large flaming golem roaming the fields. With the unearned confidence of a man who actually hasn't played Elden Ring in over a year, I hopped on my spectral steed and galloped full-pelt towards the beast.

I slashed at its leg with my katana (one of the new weapons added in this expansion) and strained to see if it'd actually done anything to make a dent in the monster's health bar. Whether or not it had I still don't really know; it stomped me into oblivion less than one second later. Shadow Of The Erdtree very quickly and violently reminds you who's boss. Spoiler: it's not you.

Shadow Of The Erdtree is full of tricks like this, as if Miyazaki is deliberately trolling us. While exploring a ruined old castle, I saw a waterfall. Video game law dictates we must check behind every waterfall we see for treasure, of course, but what I was not expecting was for a giant axe-wielding knight to leap out from the murk and grind me into a sticky paste.

Elsewhere I found myself fighting agile gargoyles on a very narrow bit of roof, and on more than one occasion had the floor fall out from under me as I plummeted deeper into an actual nightmare.

If this all sounds like your idea of hell then I would imagine you either didn't play Elden Ring or decided Elden Ring wasn't for you. As someone who fell in love with Elden Ring instantly, Shadow Of The Erdtree is shaping up to be everything I wanted it to be.

It's not that it's just Elden Ring but more and with the difficulty turned up, either, although that would actually still be fine. The Land Of Shadow is its own markedly different beast to The Lands Between, with its own mysteries, mini dungeons, and optional bosses. One dungeon I found that seemed like it would be a quick five-minute job turned into a labyrinth of descending catacombs with a deeply disturbing secret at the bottom.

There are also over 100 new weapons and armour sets to play around with, and brand-new classes to experiment with. A definite highlight was the martial arts class, which brings fast and intense close-combat to the fore. It'll be fascinating to see what new builds the community come up with, and how quickly they can completely break some of the weapons once the DLC launches.

Then there are the bosses. Oh good lord, the bosses. I don't want to get too deep into spoiler territory here, but there's one particularly nasty piece of work in the game's first area that I genuinely believe will go down as one of the most reviled FromSoftware bosses ever made. But, you know, in a good way. Kind of. After one hour trying to whittle its health down to zero I'm not sure how I feel about the POS.

But that's the beauty of Elden Ring! If a certain boss is really tripping you up, you can go somewhere else and look for better gear while you level up and upgrade equipment. Shadow Of The Erdtree certainly isn't anything like as expansive as the base game, but that open-world design philosophy and unparalleled sense of pure undiluted discovery remain in abundance.

Hidetaka Miyazaki might hate you, then, but I'm not sure I ever want him to treat us any other way.

Featured Image Credit: Bandai Namco

Topics: Elden Ring, Fromsoftware, Bandai Namco