After seeing the Elden Ring Symphonic Adventure, I've never felt so ready for Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree screenshot
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The visuals and sound design in Elden Ring are amazing. But it's hard to appreciate them when you're dodge rolling for your life, heart racing as you search for a tiny opening in which your sweaty index finger can spam R1. If only there were some way to sit back and be immersed in the game's grand orchestral score and epic boss battles, without the imminent threat of death. 

Elden Ring Symphonic Adventure couldn't have come to London at a better time. The orchestral performance took place April 28th, less than two months before Shadow of the Erdtree arrives in June. You could feel a palpable sense of anticipation for the DLC in the air. The concert provided a perfect rundown of the game so far, flowing from major boss to major boss with snippets of… ahem, lands between. It was a fantastic recap and a fun alternative to rewatching the Shadow of the Erdtree trailer for the 1000th time, and it only made me more excited for what's to come in the expansion. 

Boss battles

Elden Ring Symphonic Adventure

(Image credit: Serena Cherry)

Seeing scenes from a game you've spent 200 hours on, condensed into a 2 hour concert is a hard hitting experience. The slick pacing of the show made the action scenes feel utterly relentless. It was almost like watching a different game to the one I played. There was no footage of me dawdling around Catacombs picking up every Grave Glovewort I can get my hands on. No footage of me getting lost in the Roundtable Hold. And most notably, the words 'YOU DIED' didn't flash up on the giant screen once. Not even during Waterfowl Dance in a tense rendition of Malenia's theme.

"Is this how it feels to git gud?" I pondered, soaking in the grandeur of Godfrey's choral arrangement as the player character effortlessly dodged the swings of his axe. They made it look so easy, and the custom camera angles made it look so cool. 

To experience a Soulsborne game as a passive spectator was a treat. With all the challenging gameplay aspects removed, it was nice to be engrossed in something other than the game's combat. Violins reached a frenzied crescendo as Red Wolf of Radagon writhed on screen with blade in mouth, and in that moment alone I was reminded exactly why I love Elden Ring. It's a big, bleak and beautiful world filled with big, bleak and brutal bosses. My passion for the game was reignited by the orchestral performance, it was a perfect starter dish to whet my appetite for Shadow of the Erdtree. 

Cultural phenomenon

Elden Ring

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

I imagine the audience members about to replay Elden Ring to prepare for the DLC left the concert wildly incentivized, probably firing up their Steam Decks on the journey home. For those currently replaying, like myself, I walked away with a plethora of build ideas and new ways to dodge that will surely help to defeat the DLC essential gateway boss: Mohg Lord of Blood.

My thoughts then shifted to the plus one's attending. It's safe to assume there were a few people in the audience that have never played the game, people accompanying a friend, people on a date. I wondered what they made of this little pocket of Soulsborne fandom. Then I saw the words 'Elden Ring' in bold letters on the venue's listing poster, sitting so comfortably among the names of mainstream pop artists and it hit me: Elden Ring isn't niche. The sold out success of Elden Ring Symphonic Adventure at the Royal Albert Hall is the mark of a cultural phenomenon. Even those unfamiliar with the game will appreciate its magnitude after this experience.

Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, it's a fittingly prestigious orchestra for a prestigious game. While the soundtrack itself is adverse to catchy refrains, Yuka Kitamura's soundscapes use dissonance to build tension and drama in effective ways. Hearing the somber refrains of the Ancestral Spirit live made me cry, as did Rennala's music - reminding that for all its bombastic splendor, there's often a sadness lurking within the dark heart of Elden Ring.

After every possible ending to the game had played out, I shuffled to the exit of the Royal Albert Hall awash with memories from my time spent in the Lands Between. Hearing fans discussing their DLC theories on the train home, I smiled at the knowledge that new Elden Ring memories await us in the form of Shadow of the Erdtree. Boss battles that we will be talking about for years to come. Plot twists that require hours of video essays to wrap your head around. Messmer the Impaler and his massive spear. Soon we will devour this new content like Rykard devouring the very Gods. 

As we stare down the Elden Ring DLC, I can't decide which of my all-time favorite builds to take into the RPG's Shadow of the Erdtree expansion.

Serena Cherry
Social Media Editor

Aged 7, I aced the hang-glider level on Sonic 2 (Sega MasterSystem) on just my second try. That’s when my father turned to me in awe and encouraged me to pursue a career in video games. Just kidding. He said ‘turn that stupid thing off so I can watch Top Gear.’ Nevertheless, I was galvanised. Gaming became my world.

Being an aimless teenager making decisions on a whim, I completed an irrelevant degree in Sociology. I learned many theories that I don’t use in day-to-day life, but more importantly - I learned how to write. And I liked it.

I also liked heavy metal, so I wrote about that for Metal Hammer and Kerrang. I also liked alternative comedy, so I wrote about that for Bristol 24/7. I also liked rollercoasters, so I wrote about them for CoasterForce and started managing their social media channels.

But the thing I loved most was gaming. When I was offered to write a games column for Kerrang Magazine I leaped at the chance like Dante in Devil May Cry. Then in 2022, the big moment came and I joined Gamesradar+. As their Social Media Editor, I have a fantastic time interacting with the Gamesradar audience and resisting the urge to turn their socials into FromSoft stan accounts.