GRAPHICS

GAMEPLAY

STORY

Overall score 90

The sequel to sleeper hit Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is out now in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Continuing the story of Ranger Talion and his spirit companion and fusee The Bright Lord Celebrimbor, the duo must save the powerful Palantir from Sauron’s evil grasp with hopes of defeating him and saving Mordor once and for all.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a 2017 action RPG and is the sequel to 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It is developed by Monolith Productions, and published by WB Interactive Studios. It is currently available on PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and mobile.

Shadow’s acclaimed Nemesis System is back and better than ever.

After becoming a raging success in 2014 and beyond, the Middle-Earth series was bound to receive a sequel, and Shadow of War is definitely one deserving of it’s story thread. Featuring a far more advanced Nemesis System and more emphasis on the Bright Lord’s mind control abilities, the game will have you waging war against orcs with a band of them to call your own for hours on end.

Though fans of the LOTR franchise will dislike the story changes, it will become an afterthought upon getting into the game.

THE GOOD: Gameplay is the same ‘Batman’ like mechanics you remember from before with some minor differences here and there to fit the game’s narrative, such as the new glaive mechanic which allows players to mow down a large number of enemies within seconds. In the last entry you could only control so many orcs to your will, however in Shadow of War you can literally control an entire army at your beck and call to take on a large quantity of enemy orcs as you attempt to take hold of entire regions. The story continues from where the first game left off, Talion and Celebrimbor are completing a new ring without Sauron’s influence, however after the new Ring of Power has been finished, a new face in Shelob ends up getting her hands on it anyway after taking Celebrimbor hostage.

Shadow of War takes the “Nemesis” in Nemesis System seriously.

The open-world map covers a lot of ground, as previously mentioned in Shadow of War you can traverse to multiple regions at will. You climb your way across these regions taking out Orc War Chiefs to gain full control of the area to continue your siege over Sauron’s rule. The first act of Shadow of War has a habit of feeling a bit too familiar from it’s gameplay, but by the end of it to the start of the second act it feels like a whole new game as it should.

Control beats for an advantage in battle in Shadow of War.

THE BAD: The game can slightly be dependent on microtransactions, including a live-action ending scene which is locked behind 100% the game, which requires hours of grinding to earn, whereas it would only cost a bit a cash to have the skills necessary to unlock via microtransactions. This is quite disappointing considering the direction of the original sleeper hit.

A fantastic sequel which fell under the pressures of bad industry trends.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a great sequel, but it’s not shy of problems. Including WB getting in on the microtransactions controversy of the past year. Granted their case wasn’t as severe as any others, but the secret ending issue still plays a large part.

 

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