Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree slips to ‘Mixed’ rating after fan difficulty complaints

Elden Ring’s highly-anticipated and critically acclaimed Shadow of the Erdtree DLC has slumped from a ‘Positive’ score on Steam to ‘Mixed’ with over 31,921 reviews, with most lower scores complaining about the expansion’s notoriously high difficulty.

Complaints range from “complete disrespect to the player” to the fact that the new DLC has “cranked up the difficulty up through purely artificial means,” with one player even declaring they “don’t think [they] enjoyed a single boss in the DLC.” The bosses’ health and damage have increased compared to the Elden Ring and higher attack speeds of the bosses make it impossible to dodge them, some fans have suggested in their reviews, making the experience feel “miserable.”

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Golden Hippopotamus boss fight
Rage quits are just around the corner while playing the Elden Ring DLC. Screenshot by Dot Esports

The Elden Ring community (or at least, the ones rating it lower) pointed out what they see as balancing flaws; that regular enemies throughout the DLC are extremely tanky and perform “inescapable combos.” While basic enemies are supposed to help level up your character for higher-level challenges, they now take off half of your health with one hit, which makes every part of the expansion extremely tedious.

Many fans have the opinion that the game has shifted from a “focus on difficulty to a focus on being brutally unfair,” where the dungeon designs are full of traps, making it a living nightmare for the players who are just looking to explore the vibrant world, without dying at every other moment.

Soulslike games are designed in such a way that the difficult levels are cranked up to the maximum so defeating a boss feels very rewarding. However, some players are now claiming FromSoftware has “lost the plot” in pursuit of ever-increasing difficulty. Many fans enjoyed learning the boss’s moves and understanding the dodge timings in Elden Ring, but now see it as a constant grind that doesn’t feel satisfying when you do thrash a boss.

Things have gotten so bad that the developers had to step in and let players know about leveling up their Scadutree Blessing, the fragments that only work in the Realm of Shadow that allow players to negate incoming injury and deal damage to their foes.

Not every bad review across Steam has been related to high difficulty though. Some aggrieved players ranked it lowly because of performance issues that only added to the burning woes, including save files not loading, unreliable FPS during boss fights, and audio glitches have ruined the DLC experience for many.

Earlier, popular streamers like Asmongold also flagged the issue of the game’s rising difficult levels, though Kai Cenat disagrees. As it stands, the DLC isn’t for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely setting up a new standard for difficulty in Soulslikes.

Players originally had to overcome Mohg and Starscourge Radahn to even play the DLC and after achieving that feat, it does seem like the challenges are just beginning.

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