July 19, 2024

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree review

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Shadow of the Erdtree – “Bruised and tattered” after an encounter with a group of “little monsters” who seemed “easy to kill” as soon as they first entered the game.

Anxious and insecure, you tiptoe through narrow corridors, dark tunnels with dozens of traps everywhere, and enemies are always lurking around, waiting to surprise you. 

Nervous, anxious and then extremely stressed every time you enter a gate covered in yellow mist, right behind are evil bosses that can easily “kill” the player in just… one click. music.  

Those are the typical “austere” spices that are so familiar to fans of products from game developer FromSoftware and have all returned after many long months of waiting for the extension. (DLC) Elden Ring ‘s Shadow of the Erdtree , an artistic masterpiece that has earned the illustrious director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, a series of prestigious awards (including the highest title “Game of the Year”, “super blockbuster God of War Ragnarok at The Game Awards 2022 ) which is still honored as one of the best open world action games of all time.

But like the proverb “Rome was not built in a day”, Elden Ring ‘s success back then did not come overnight, but was a long process honed from the players’ experience. The way to build the character class system, the meaningful story line to the unique fighting mechanism brings unique emotions that cannot be confused between the “genuine” Soulslike game and the rest of the game market. action role-playing.

And certainly, at present, there is no DLC game that can bring such terrible attraction as Shadow of the Erdtree , when it not only swept across social networks and media but also just reached the sales milestone. 5 million copies in just… three days of release , a number that even Cyberpunk 2077 ‘s Phantom Liberty cracked DLC (the most ordered game in history with more than 8 million pre-orders) took several months to produce. achieve.

With such great expectations, will Shadow of the Erdtree continue to succeed, surpassing the great shadow of the “great tree” Elden Ring ?

Let’s to climb on the back of the Torrent god horse, gallop into the dark land of Land of Shadow to find out the truth through the following article, everyone! 

Please also note, the writer will anonymize all bosses and minimize mention of main events so that readers can enjoy the game to the fullest.

YOU WILL LIKE

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STRANGE BUT FAMILIAR!

To reach the new location Realm of Shadow, the game requires players to complete a number of specific tasks in the original Elden Ring such as defeating the two demigods Radahn and Mohg, reaching the capsule located at the end of Mohgwyn’s palace. Dynasty Mausoleum, where the journey will begin to find answers for the fate of Miquella the Benevolent, a mysterious character and also the twin brother of the undefeated female warrior Malenia.  

These requirements are not strange to anyone who has played DLC from FromSoftware before such as Dark Souls 3 ‘s Ringed City or Bloodborne ‘s The Old Hunters , but there is an interesting thing when Elden Ring is an open world game. The company’s first large scale and with a huge amount of content, there are current gamers who have “plowed” to the Rune Level threshold (character level) higher than… 500 or are even “riding horses for a walk”. play” literally in the replay round (New Game+)… Saturday.

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So, the challenges that Shadow of the Erdtree brings will no longer be meaningful to these “hardcore” players and on the contrary, it will be too “thorny” for those who only play one game. Is the level just enough to “unlock” the DLC?   

Game company FromSoftware has cleverly solved this balance problem with a completely new character development and summoning mechanism through collecting Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ash scattered everywhere. on the map, or dropped from some tough opponents in the game.

This mechanism is similar to the Prayer beads in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice , the larger the number, the stronger the main character Wolf is, but the difference is that Scadutree Blessing simultaneously enhances both damage and damage. The character’s ability to withstand attacks in Shadow of the Erdtree is significantly exponential, and of course… also loses its effect when the player returns to the original game. 

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Thanks to this feature, the game creates great motivation, urging players to continuously explore and explore to the “ends of the earth”, taking advantage of new advantages instead of just focusing on existing advantages. There to hunt for boss “meat” or “race” to complete the game as quickly as possible! 

Specifically, when first entering the DLC, the writer’s character with Rune Level 160 (higher than the game company’s requirements), Vigor index of 50, wears Medium armor but can only take about… two blows from one attack. The lowly soldier at Shadowkeep citadel is “green grass”, but when it comes to boss battles, it is truly “oh my god”, it’s ironic that the title of Elden Lord is achieved when “returning to the country”. The games of the past were only worthy of being called… “nothing but real”.

FromSoftware has cleverly solved this balance problem with a completely new character development and summoning mechanism through collecting Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ash.

On the contrary, after traveling from north to south, rummaging through every corner of the map and reaching a decent level of Blessing, everything becomes much easier. Truly “worth the money” experiences.

It is worth mentioning that those journeys not only helped the writer’s character become stronger but also brought a burst of emotions when suddenly discovering new and unique areas, just from a few very small details such as accidentally jumping into a… hole, encountering monsters with strange shapes, surprising encounters accompanied by equipment and weapons that must be called masterpieces. 

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FILLED WITH EQUIPMENT, THE WAY TO “BUILD” CHARACTERS IS ENDLESS

If the amount of equipment in the original game can make many people “scratch their faces”, Shadow of the Erdtree also brings more than… 100 weapons, dozens of shields and Talisman items, There are so many new spells that the game company has added a list of newly collected items to their inventory called “Recent Items”, so that players don’t have to struggle to find the right item in one go. The warehouse has become oversized! 

The writer also guarantees that all “building” paths (character building) from the physical system of pure strength (Strength), the system of playing swords and swords wearing light armor (Dexterity), the magic system (Intelligence), and magic spells (Incantations) or combining many things together, you will find for yourself in the DLC new “truth” toys, not only strong, beautiful, unique in appearance but also “given” with additional Ash of War (super move) is also great!

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For example, a person like the writer who is passionate about the samurai character class also tried to switch systems and “fell in love” with Dryleaf Art gloves that have martial arts moves that use a combination of punches and kicks, not only helps to “cosplay” the favorite character Tifa in Final Fantasy VII , but can also combine (Fuse) it with elements such as Ice or Blood to create debuff effects Frostbite, Blood Loss, easily defeating many opponents. The heavyweight “disappeared” before he could even strike.

With the direction of a “pure” Dex system, we can immediately mention a few typical names for players to choose from such as Light Greatsword Milady has a “rotating dance” attack position that reminds the writer of the legendary “Wolf song”. Geralt’s voice in the game The Witcher 3 , the Japanese sword (Katana) Sword of Night has a unique auxiliary effect and a magical Ash Of War combo attack sequence like the Waterfowl Dance of “idol” Malenia in Elden Ring .

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In addition, the game also does not lack “funny” items such as a great sword that can shoot… geckos, a shield but with two sharp ends used for stabbing or, on the other hand, weapons with terrible damage to… “game breaking”, for example the Bloodfiend’s Arm hammer can pump the blood loss “debuff” initial parameter (Blood buildup) up to approximately 200, the Carian Sovereignty spell can easily wipe away nearly 10,000 points Some tough bosses bleed after just 2 slashes, I really hope they aren’t “patched” by the game company too soon. 

Fortunately, Shadow of the Erdtree adds 9 Larval Tear balls for players to comfortably “remove points”, experience new builds, along with a fair amount of Ash Spirit Summon added for those who like it. Likes the style of summoning “disciples” to support tough battles.  

And of course, when you have “good stuff, good “building” methods, you must have the opportunity to experiment and there is no better idea than using them in the brain-boggling boss battles, the highlight of any game. any Soulslike game, since the concept appeared in the early 2010s.

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As mentioned before, the writer will not “spoil” too much about the “big and big” bosses appearing in this DLC, but it can be said that most of them bring a sense of satisfaction to the whole experience. Playing experience and audio-visual aspects, even bringing a bit of nostalgia to the “notorious” names of the past in Dark Souls 3 such as Pontiff Sulyvahn or The Nameless King.

Bosses at Legend level or higher will all have at least two fighting sessions (Phase), with the latter part being epic, impressive and easily “sorrowful” for even the most experienced gamers. 

The number of remaining opponents is also very diverse, inheriting typical designs from the original game, such as giant stone Golems shaped like mobile torches, mini bosses ( mini-boss) human souls hidden beneath the ruins, NPC characters ranging from friends to enemies to strange monsters or powerful and powerful ancient dragons.

If the amount of equipment in the original game can make many people “scratch their faces”, Shadow of the Erdtree also brings more than… 100 weapons, dozens of shields and Talisman items, New spells

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OVERWHELMED!

Like the first time stepping out to admire the Limgrave field, opening the journey to become the Elden Lord of The Tarnished, Shadow of the Erdtree also makes a strong visual impression when starting with a wide-angle, majestic scene. The entire frame with the distant horizon is the trunk of a giant Erdtree tree with a dark color that contrasts with the original game. 

Accompanied by hidden images of main areas, evoking the player’s sense of adventure, exploration and discovery.

Perhaps Director Miyazaki was too “humble” when he described Shadow of the Erdtree as having a scale only equivalent to Limgrave, because in reality the world in the game is not only larger than players expect but also develops accordingly. vertical axis, along with many layers hidden deep below the starting terrain surface.

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The DLC also continues to inherit the values ​​that not only made Elden Ring a great success before, but also brings the unique Soulslike style, which is “difficult”, closer to the masses. is boundless freedom in the spirit of “sandbox game”, no “hand holding directions”, no specific route, players can go wherever they want or do whatever they want before or after.

These include tracking down Miquella’s relics, exploring Catacomb catacombs, following NPCs looking for new equipment, and sometimes getting lost in the middle of a giant castle designed according to Legacy Dungeon standards ( Typical areas in the Dark Souls game series ) can take hours just to discover all the secrets hidden within. 

Stuck on a boss? It’s okay, you can continue exploring, wait until you get stronger and then come back.

You come to the end of a tunnel and there is no other way out? Just wander around nearby and find important clues or even step into a completely different world!

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Miyazaki was too “humble” when he described Shadow of the Erdtree as having a scale only equivalent to Limgrave, because in reality the world in the game is not only larger than players expect but also develops vertically, with many hidden layer

If in the original game you had a clear goal of hunting down at least two demigods holding Great Rune pieces, supported by Melina or the waifu Ranni, then this DLC version is an adventure. saved in the true sense… “self-propelled”.

All journeys are also adorned with picturesque frames, sometimes magical and magical, sometimes splendid and magnificent, sometimes making the writer stunned and “freeze” for a few seconds to continuously press the shutter button. I forgot that the enemy was… sniping from afar.

If not counting the boss’s “eating” time, the writer’s total playing hours must be more than 25 hours, a number equivalent to the length of an individual blockbuster action game!

YOU WILL HATE

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SOME FACTORS CAN CAUSE DISCOMFORT !

When Shadow of the Erdtree was just released, there were many comments from players that the game was… unnecessarily difficult , culminating in creating a wave of low ratings on Steam, causing Elden Ring to drop for the first time. down the scale near the negative level of this platform.  

Indeed, after “plowing” the DLC, the writer also partly understood these complaints and clearly they had a basis when FromSoftware itself immediately released the first patch (patch 1.12) that made the game somewhat easier, similar to what the company did before with the Ringed City expansion in Dark Souls 3 , which made many players… “depressed” because it was too difficult! 

Strictly speaking, each person’s experience will be different, but in general this problem can still be explained from two main factors: limited camera viewing angle and the boss’s attack amplitude. 

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Basically, Shadow of the Erdtree has at least 4 bosses that are too big or move too much, causing the game’s too close-up camera angle to accidentally become… the main opponent of the player when they cannot keep up with their actions, especially is for character classes that use melee combat. 

Many times the writer witnessed the screen “spinning” when using the target lock feature (Target Lock) on the boss, with “colorful chive” effects covering almost the entire field of view or even You can’t even hit a single point on your opponent and then have to suffer unfair damage. 

Next, the attack amplitude of some bosses in the DLC is “unimaginably long”, consecutive attacks of more than 10 moves, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, difficult to “read” are “a daily thing in the district”, The player has very little time to manage and just making a wrong judgment in a split second can easily lead to two outcomes, being beaten “face down” while drinking a healing potion because the AI ​​analyzes “captures” the action. (input reading) or… “unplug” the character to return to the checkpoint (temporary save point) and try another chance. 

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Not to mention, there is a boss using a mount… that rushes straight at the player as soon as they enter the battle location, causing many players to not even have time to press the summon button (summon) Spirit Ash, fortunately it is an error. This has also been “patched” by the game company with the recent patch 1.12.3. 

Finally, although the game’s performance optimization has improved compared to Elden Ring when it was first released, the phenomenon of frame rate fluctuations still occurs regularly, even in Prioritize Frame Rate mode. frame rate).

Basically, Shadow of the Erdtree has at least 4 bosses that are oversized or move too much, causing the game’s too-close-up camera angle to accidentally become… the player’s main opponent.

Shadow of the Erdtree continues to inherit and promote the quintessential values ​​that made Elden Ring successful . With a huge amount of content carefully taken care of by the game company, and a total playing time that rivals an individual blockbuster action game, it’s no exaggeration to say that Shadow of the Erdtree is the highest quality DLC that people can use. writing has been played ever since.

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