• FromSoftware showcases grotesque new foes in Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree, raising the bar for creature design.
  • Belurat Tower Settlement in the DLC introduces intimidating enemies like Spider Scorpions, setting the tone for difficulty.
  • Romina, Saint of the Bud combines impressive and grotesque insect-inspired design in Elden Ring DLC.

If there’s one thing that the release of Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree makes readily apparent, it’s that FromSoftware is a truly talented studio when it comes to compelling creature design. The base game of Elden Ring, along with FromSoftware’s entire previous catalog of titles, showcases some enemy designs that are both inventive and horrific, but the grotesque new foes players have to contend with in Elden Ring‘s Shadow of the Erdtree expansion elevate those qualities to the next level. The new insectoid threats that debut in the early parts of the DLC and beyond make a strong claim to being some of the most repulsive foes FromSoftware has ever created.

After arriving at the Gravesite Plain in Shadow of the Erdtree’s Realm of Shadow, the first area that players will likely make their way to is the DLC’s initial legacy dungeon—Belurat Tower Settlement. Before players can even enter the settlement proper, though, they’re assaulted by one of the more intimidating enemies that FromSoftware has ever devised in the new Spider Scorpions.

And, in a move telling of just how terrifying FromSoftware knew these massive arachnids would be to most players, they’re one of the few enemy types to repeat as a boss in the latter half of the DLC and just the start of the new insect type enemies FromSoftware has in store.


How Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Adapts One of Sekiro’s Best Features

Shadow of the Erdtree is Elden Ring through-and-through, but it has one major feature that will seem familiar to Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice fans.

Shadow of the Erdtree’s Belurat Houses a One-Two Punch of Poison Swamps and Fetid Creatures

Simply ascending the main staircase to enter Belurat Tower Settlement is fraught with not one but two giant Spider Scorpions as well as dozens of their offspring, each of them vying for the player’s full attention before the initial legacy dungeon can even begin. But entering the settlement sees things quickly spiraling out of control in terms of Shadow of the Erdtree’s difficulty ramp and introduction of new enemy types.

It’s very obvious that something has gone wrong in Belurat, with large portions of the settlement being flooded by sickly-looking brown water pooling down into the lower areas and sewers. It’s in these flooded sections where players first come face-to-face with one of the other main new insect enemies: the Man-Fly.

The Man-Fly enemies can be readily thwarted and don’t pose much of a threat outside their ability to group up on the player en masse, but it’s their design, movements, and location that elevate the general sense of unease that facing off against them can elicit. This only gets worse in the hidden Well Depths area of Belurat, which not only houses plenty of Man-Fly mobs and a Lesser Ulcerated Tree Spirit mini-boss but the first of the notorious poison swamps that Elden Ring creator Hidetaka Miyazaki is so famously fond of.

One of Shadow of the Erdtree’s Late-Game Bosses Makes Good on the Scorpion’s Debut


The following contains minor spoilers for
Elden Ring
‘s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

The Spider Scorpion enemies combine the best parts of FromSoftware’s other arachnoid enemy types from Elden Ring and previous games into a faster, more agile threat that can still keep experienced players on their toes. After their introduction in the early moments of Shadow of the Erdtree, that the Scorpion makes a bit of a return in one of the last non-optional boss fights speaks to the quality of their design and the capacity to instill fear in players. Romina, Saint of the Bud is both the penultimate step in accessing the true final area of Shadow of the Erdtree and a phenomenal boss encounter in her own right.

In terms of insect-inspired enemy designs, Romina’s appearance carries a bit of everything that works toward making them simultaneously impressive and grotesque. Her body incorporates a combination of the Spider Scorpion’s design along with a massive, centipede-like section and desiccated butterfly wings adorning a humanoid frame. Fittingly, Romina is a challenging fight that earns its place alongside Messmer, The Impaler as one of two boss fights necessary to complete a specific quest chain and face-off against Shadow of the Erdtree’s true final boss.


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