Shadow of the Erdtree is an almost perfect expansion, but one thing keeps bothering me

Elden Ring‘s Shadow of the Erdtree expansion has a tall legacy to live up to. It is, after all, building on the basis of one of the greatest games of all time. As I said in my preview and James reiterates in his review, ‘more of the same’ isn’t so bad when ‘the same’ is a true all-timer.

The new adventure across the DLC’s Land of Shadow isn’t all entirely ‘the same’, of course. There’s new bosses, new weapons, and a new feeling – the structure of the new map feels a little different, a higher degree of density leading to what certainly feels like it forces the player into more lateral thinking and navigational puzzle solving, particularly to unlock and fully explore all five segments of the shadowy realm that makes up the expansion’s map.

Honestly, it’s pretty close to perfect, as expansions go. And yet… there are elements of it that left me feeling just a tiny bit hollow as I watched the DLC’s final boss fall beneath my blade. In honesty, that might very well be the feeling FromSoftware was going for – if any developer is good at hollowing players out, it’s them – but it’s curious.

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