elden ring shadow

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree Is Seeing Mixed User Reviews Over Its Difficulty And PC Performance

Branching arguments.

With a full weekend behind us after the launch of Elden Ring’s hugely-anticipated Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, we’re now starting to see the sentiments of players around the world who’ve spent the last few days in the Realm of Shadow. And while it’s largely as positive as the critical reviews were last week, there’s also been a bit of backlash in the user reviews on PC that’s seen the DLC’s Steam user review summary sitting at “Mixed” at the time of writing.

A lot of the negative reviews are critical of apparent new performance issues introduced since the DLC launched, including things like micro-stuttering, frame drops, increased loading times, intermittent freezing and a general increase in performance-affecting things happening on-screen compared to the base game. Given that FromSoftware lists identical system requirements for the base game and DLC (aside from an increase in storage space needed, naturally), it seems fair to say that these issues seem valid.

What’s been more contentious is the number of negative reviews from users claiming the DLC is unfairly difficult, and that its bosses feel “cheap” and out of step with what is possible with the game’s style of combat. This is a common thread among the reviews on Steam, and the responses from those defending it go a few ways.

Many have pointed out that a lot of players are missing or ignoring Shadow of the Erdtree’s own levelling system, which has been put in place to help ensure the new content is balanced for players whether they’re running an adequately-levelled build or coming in supremely overpowered. Things like the Scadutree Fragments found across the new areas, which significantly impact your ability to deal or negate damage, can be easy to gloss over in a game with this many systems firing off at once, so it’s not surprising to see some players come up against a wall having not used them.

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In my own experience, coming in after having platinumed Elden Ring as my first “Soulslike” journey, I can attest that there are some fucked boss fights in Shadow of the Erdtree, but Scadutree Fragments are you friend and you should absolutely be using them whenever and wherever “git gud” just isn’t cutting it. Brendan Graeber at IGN wrote a really good explainer on how these work. We’ve also got a guide to some pretty useful builds as well, in case you’re still finding yours underperforming.

There are plenty of positive reviews, of course, including my favourite from a user named SinfulSaint which simply reads, “FromSoft really thought they could get away with selling a whole game and labeling it as an ‘Expansion'”.

And our very own review of Shadow of the Erdtree, in which we scored the DLC a huge 10/10, Harry did attest to some fights being a battle with the camera as much as the bosses, but ultimately said, “Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is yet another masterpiece by FROMSOFTWARE. It doubles down on all of the best parts of Elden Ring and bolsters them through an inviting new world, an engaging story, and a ridiculously moreish gameplay loop. It won’t change your mind on Elden Ring if it never clicked for you, but will undoubtedly wow you if it did.”