Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree is currently listed as “Mixed” on Steam, with many negative reviews complaining that the bosses are too challenging


Everyone loves Shadow of the Erdtree: we gave it a 95% in our review (higher even than the base game two years ago), and Erdtree even surpassed The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine as the highest-rated RPG expansion on Metacritic. Despite all the hype, it’s currently losing ground in one major metric: Steam reviews.

Erdtree’s shadow sits in “Mixed“, and 61% of over 14,000 user reviews are positive. There is one recurring criticism that makes a lot of sense: PC performance. Returning to the launch of Elden Ring, PC Gamer editor-in-chief Evan Lahti reflected on how Elden Ring is a scarce game that is so good that people found it to be stuttering, capped at 60fps, and lacking ultrawide support.

Two years later, it still holds true, for better or for worse: Shadow of the Erdtree was so good that I didn’t mind the performance issues, but as PCG hardware writer Nick Evanson wrote in his Shadow of the Erdtree technical review, these are many of the the same problems we have been struggling with for two years.

- Advertisement -

Another reads: “It used to be this way: don’t be greedy; now: the boss chains one combo to another as if they were R1 attacks, while moving like a ping-pong ball.” I’ve seen reviews complaining that the novel weapons and war ashes are either not powerful enough to meet these challenges, or are so overpowered that they are required to beat the DLC – perhaps indirectly acknowledging the wealth of novel tools available in the expansion so that players they may have such diverse experiences with them.

Many of the negative reviews seem to betray a lack of engagement or understanding of the novel Scadutree Fragment feature, Erdtree’s additional leveling system intended to encourage exploration and provide another form of progression. Many reviews noted that an early boss was killed in one or two hits despite high health and resistance, which rhymes with players equipping Soreseal items that cause damage vulnerability from the base game and fighting later bosses⁠. Finding Scadutree fragments by thoroughly exploring the world and visiting optional areas is a real necessity in Shadow of the Erdtree, and the fragments you collect boost both your damage and resistance to these novel enemies as you spend them on leveling up in Places of Grace.

Here’s Souls YouTuber VaatiVidya demonstrating how transformative Scadutree snippets can be facing an early DLC boss with a first-level character⁠ – FromSoftware recommends that you have at least a level 120 add-on that has collected a certain number of fragments. VaatiVidya is by no means a pushover, but neither is it a dedicated challenger or speedrunner that shows what Scadutree Fragments can do for you.

Reviews complaining about difficulty are often written quickly after a frustrating boss experience, so hopefully cooler heads will prevail as players get used to Shadow of the Erdtree’s novel systems and challenging encounters⁠—luckily we have a host for Elden Ring: Shadow of the guides Erdtree to facilitate them along the way.

Related articles