Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree debuts to 'Mixed' Steam reactions: "The base game never felt this ridiculously difficult"

Elden Ring DLC Shadow of the Erdtree
(Image credit: FromSoftware / Bandai Namco)

FromSoftware games are hard - you probably don't need me to tell you that by now - but Elden Ring's newly released Shadow of the Erdtree expansion may have tipped the difficulty over the edge into "frustrating" territory, as the project just debuted to a divisive fan reaction.

On Steam, Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree currently sits with a 'Mixed' rating based on over 12,000 user reviews as of the time of writing. That means 38% of PC players walked away from the Land of Shadow with a negative reaction - a far cry from the base game's glowing 93% positive reception based on a whopping 627,000 reviews.

Of course, Shadow of the Erdtree only came out a mere two days ago and somehow "rivals the scope of a standalone game," according to publisher Bandai Namco. Gamesradar+ estimates that the Elden Ring DLC takes 20-30 hours to complete - if you're not seeking out all the extra boss-induced punishment - so it's entirely possible that players who are enjoying the expansion are still playing, rather than leaving reviews that skew Steam ratings.

Regardless, user reviews are frequently citing wonky performance and an arbitrarily inflated difficulty as common complaints, with bosses that deal one-shot-kills against once-OP character builds and attack patterns that seem deliberately hard to read. "This DLC is in need of an immense damage crunch and balance patch," steamgoer Chanddy writes. "If you're not cheesing bosses you're not going to win. It's really boring being unable to do my usual playstyle because of the unfair punishment you take in this DLC." Another userreviewer, Ravaaga, mentions that "the base game never felt this ridiculously difficult and frustrating to play."

Warnings from FromSoftware president and Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki should've been our first clue, in fairness, as he said the studio had "really pushed the envelope in terms of what we think the player can withstand." Terrifying. Even Elden Ring veterans then got stomped mere minutes into the expansion, so I guess Miyazaki isn't the exaggerating type.

Elsewhere, Hidetaka Miyazaki joked that “about 95%” of his job is still dedicated to directing games, despite his presidential role at FromSoftware.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.