Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree drops to 'mixed' Steam rating as players decry DLC's performance and balance issues

 Screenshot from Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Credit: Bandai Namco/FromSoftware

The dust is beginning to settle after one of the biggest games of the summer, FromSoftware's Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, launched this week, and some players aren't happy. The highly anticipated new DLC dropped to a "mixed" review score on Steam over the weekend amid mounting complaints of performance issues and difficulty spikes that make even the infamously tough-as-nails base game look like Super Weenie Hut Juniors by comparison.

As of writing this, more than 26,000 players have weighed in on Steam. And while just over half (14,500~) of the user reviews speak very positively of Elden Ring's first major expansion, a few reoccurring criticisms are gaining traction. Chief among them is Shadow of Erdtree's performance on PC.

Granted, the original Elden Ring came with its fair share of PC issues when it debuted in 2022. But given its record 25 million units sold, it seems players were willing to overlook stuttering frame rates, a 60 fps cap, and lack of ultrawide support to experience one of the best RPGs modern gaming has to offer. Now, two years later, that goodwill is waning, and the cracks are starting to show.

Screenshot from Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot from Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree

"The base game runs great, but for some reason I have severe FPS drops and stutter in the DLC," one player said, adding that "in certain areas it's just completely unbearable." Another review marked as "helpful" by nearly 600 people said they ran into "constant micro-stuttering and frame drops, freezes as well as increases in loading times" that "make it difficult to enjoy and play the game." An early boss fight that takes place near a puddle of water was a particular pain point, resulting in consistent issues with frame rate drops for many players.

Several reviews for Shadow of the Erdtree warn players to hold off on buying the DLC until FromSoftware rolls out a performance patch or two, as it did with the original.

As for the difficulty, I've seen reviews complaining that the new weapons and tools available in the expansion are either too wimpy to pose any real threat to the bosses or else are so overpowered they're practically required equipment to beat it. While Souls games are known for their ridiculously tough bosses, the DLC seems hellbent on dialing that difficulty up to eleven. In his Shadow of the Erdtree review, my colleague Rory Mellon said it's like Elden Ring on hard mode, managing to pack in some of the game’s most memorable, enjoyable and (most importantly) difficult encounters.

"I love running for 20 minutes in an open area with absolutely nothing to pick up random consumables that I'll never use against bosses that are insanely tedious to fight. very miserable experience," another player said in a Steam review.

"It's not a question of "can you do it?" but rather "do you want to do it?". In the case of this dlc, the answer is no," opined yet another disappointed Tarnished.

Here's hoping that FromSoftware will cook up some balancing and performance patches in the near future. In the meantime, if you're just venturing out into the Land of the Shadow, be sure to check out our top three tips to get you started with Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.

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