Exploring Shadows Without Game Pass: A Glimpse into Elden Ring's Enchanting DLC

While the world bounces off itself in its ceaseless frenzy of anticipation and glorious pursuits, fans of the excellent role-playing game Elden Ring from 2022 have been hoping for news of its latest expansion, Shadow of the Erdtree. Did this serious follow-up to last year’s blockbuster DLC arrive as promised on the Xbox Game Pass EA Play catalogue? Sadly, it’s another case of mistaking dreams for reality when you’re looking for the Elden Tree. And here’s why the Land of Shadow won’t be shown through the lens of Game Pass – ever, if not sooner.

Game Pass Dreams Remain Just That: Dreams

A lot of players finally have an easy, affordable way to play and stream a wide variety of titles for one small fee, and there’s no telling what other Elden Ring DLC might make its way to the service in the future. The lands of Elden Ring – and its DLC – are likely to remain a pipe dream for fans of Game Pass. The closest game to Elden Ring to appear on Game Pass will likely remain the only such appearance, as no other titles from the mysterious FromSoftware have made their way on to the subscription service. And Shadow of the Erdtree will likely stay an exclusive of its own.

Why Shadow of the Erdtree Eludes Game Pass

Later, FromSoftware (the studio behind Elden Ring) followed the trend and seem even more reluctant to have their games available on subscription services such as Game Pass (Elden Ring and the Dark Souls trilogy are all unavailable at the time of writing). This trend helps to fuel the mystique of their games (they sure don’t want casual players on Game Pass) but also can keep their games just out of reach of the fans that subscribe to those services. Shadow of the Erdtree continues that trend.

Unlocking the SHADOWS

Lovers of the stylishly gloomy take note: the path to discovery also requires a purchase. As for shaving the price down, the Xbox and Steam editions are pleasingly (if not lavishly) cut-price on CDKeys, but the hike to Erdtree-land is fundamentally a buy-to-play proposition, not a subscription-play comfort blanket.

Embarking on the Shadow of the Erdtree Journey

Over the course of the Shadow of the Erdtree quest in the north, adventurers will be drawn to an expansion that promises ‘Darkness, mystery, seductions...’ The call rises: Follow in Miquella’s footsteps, to ‘lands of mystery and nightmares,’ where ‘leeches are devoured by their hunters, countless bosses are there to serve your thirst and, who knows, might even fall before you.’ As fans cling to the game’s lore, they lend an ear to the promise of new adventures arising from the expansions: new vistas, new dungeons, new stories. Some are even willing to brave the shadows without the light of Game Pass.

A Realm Beyond Game Pass

Although the Elden Ring DLC escapes Game Pass subscribers, the game world offers plenty of other Soulslike experiences that devour time and patience. Lords of the Fallen and Lies of P, both excellent in their own right, are viable alternatives. I give both my hearty recommendation for Game Pass subscribers.

Elden Ring and Beyond: Crafting Your Adventure

*Elden Ring* is magnificent, and its DLC expansion *Shadow of the Erdtree* is no less captivating – a world rife with mysteries, conflicts and discovery that isn’t really pulled into the orbit of subscription services. A world that is also missing from Xbox Game Pass. The adventure is still out there to be had.

About Elden Ring

But at its heart it also goes beyond being just a game, presenting players with a saga that provides a densely populated place for a player to become immersed in with fascinating lore and mystery, as well as all the excitement that discovery can bring to a player. FromSoftware are a developer known for providing gamers with games that feature deep narratives and provide rewarding and challenging experiences for players, and this action RPG, published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, is no different. As players traverse the dangers of the Lands Between, it’s best to be prepared, to learn more about your surroundings, and to never lose sight of the goal of becoming the Elden Lord, because as I said at the beginning of this piece, ‘the desires of mortals are but a ripple upon the surface of the vast, ancient ability to see into the future.’ With or without Game Pass, Elden Ring is a standard-bearer for depth, challenge and adventure that should be on every gamer’s must-play list, deserving of the title that this review has given it: a crown jewel of modern gaming.

When shadows lengthen and the land calls for a champion, remember that the paths we walk rarely fall beneath the light of subscription, though the tales of valor, the wars to be fought and the Erdtree’s fire will live forever.

Jun 15, 2024
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