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Review - Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Created on Saturday, 04 November 2017


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor came out of nowhere and quickly claimed its rightfully place as many gamers and gaming websites' number one game back in 2014. It was also one of my personal favourites that year. It wasn't the story that made it so compelling but the “nemesis system” which they introduced and made the game so special. I was personally excited to get my hands on Shadow of War thinking they would build upon the system and perfect it but after 40+ hours I was sadly left with the feeling that it is more of the same





Now don't get me wrong, SOW (Shadow of War) isn't a complete carbon copy of Shadow of Mordor as the developers have spent time revamping the system and even added to it but the problem comes when you are overwhelmed with the new additions and at times the system feels way too complicated and at times it feels like a chore more than enjoyable, and it doesn't help the fact that the story is confusing and not all that interesting.




You play as Talion, a ranger who was set to guard the Black Gate, and you are resurrected by a wraith and former Elven Lord named Celebrimbor which follows you and lives inside you weird as it sounds it all makes sense once you see the build up to it at the start of the game. This makes Talion larger than life and gives him somewhat superhero abilities, although he can die he can also resurrect, survive falls from heights, interrogate enemies to unlock information on other enemies and other powers which are slowly unlocked as you progress.




At the start of the game you learn that a new ring has been made and is given to Talion to use against Sauron, but Shelob, who is the giant spider from LOTR and now takes form of a seductress, manipulates Talion into giving her the ring and the first act consists of you getting the ring back from Shelob. Once you do, the game really gets going and this is where most of the overwhelming mechanics are thrown upon you.




New to Shadow of War is the ability to not only dominate a captain but you get the choice to not kill him and let him join your army and fight alongside you. This isn't a set in stone though as some captains can betray you which is a nice addition as it keeps things unexpected and surprising and keeps the player on his toes throughout the game. And you can use the captains to take over enemy forts by giving the captains assignments which decrease the chances of them betraying you. So rule of thumb here is to keep the busy and they wont stab you in the back, literally.




The combat in Shadow of War is similar to the one in Shadow of Mordor, which is a mix between Assassin's Creeds combat and the now infamously known Batman games combat. This is where you get a small “heads up” warning when an enemy is about to attack you and if you press the counter-button before the attack you successfully counter the enemy attack leaving them vulnerable. This is a great combat mechanics as you are usually swarmed by enemy forces and gives the player the ability to actually win a scenario with numerous enemies attacking you at ones. But of course, if there are numerous captains joining the fight it all gets a little more difficult as the captains all have their own strengths and weaknesses similar to the previous games.




Middle-Earth: Shadow of War builds on the previous release, and adds new mechanics and introduces a more complicated system which can feel overwhelming for newcomers, however if you played the previous game it isn't that complicated but I personally feel it could be implemented a little differently to keep newcomers from getting scared off after awhile. The combat however is still the meat and bones in my eyes, that and the fact that the impact you make on captains carries through. For example if you cut the hand of a captain and he runs away, the next time you meet him he will recognize you and talk about the incident. Also if a captain kills you and you take revenge on him he will talk about this also.

To keep it simple, Shadow of War is more of the same with a more robust system behind it, and if you enjoyed Shadow of Mordor there is a lot to get behind in Shadow of War as well. I play it mostly because the combat is so addictive and sadly the story didn’t do much for me this time around. But check out some gameplay videos on the new fortresses system and see if you can get behind it and if you do there is no reason not to get this game.

2011 Review - Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - The Gamers Paradise. Your Number One Stop For Game Related News & Reviews
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