Middle Earth: Shadow of War Review
Action game enthusiasts will be glad to hear that Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor just got a sequel released under the name of Middle Earth: Shadow of War. Tolkien fans will be very displeased, but not surprised, that the sequel is very much like first installment of the series: a caricature of Tolkien’s world. Alas, keep reading if you’re still wondering whether you should love or hate this game.
Mordor is still the Promised Land
The action takes place once again in Mordor, a ragged and war-torn land. Among the countless monsters that roam this land, there’s also an undead ranger called Talion. Players will take the role of Talion in Middle Earth: Shadow of War as the story from the previous title continues.
Well, I’m gonna say it again. Tolkien fans will not like the story elements of this game. It not only goes goes against the lore of the books but it even contradicts the movie adaptations of the series. With that being said, the story was never the selling point of these games. The action packed gameplay and fast paced combat is what got this series its fanbase. This game is best played on Xbox One, where you can really get the best of it.
Assassin’s Creed meets LOTR
The “Middle Earth” series is very much like Assassin’s Creed in terms of gameplay. From the hack-n-slash combat system to the “parkour” movement mechanics, the similarities really stand out. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for me it seems a bit out of place in this particular setting.
There are many who praise the combat system but if you have a history with the before mentioned series you’ll notice that it’s hardly innovative. You got your strikers, your counters, your backstab moves, your fancy executions and kill streaks. The world isn’t as threatening as it looks, since the hero can outrun most enemies he encounters in Mordor. Exploring the world is pretty nice and sometimes rewarding, but you don’t really feel like you’re constantly in danger.
With that being said, Shadow of War does let you choose the way you want to deal with enemy encounters. You can charge an orc encampment and slaughter them one by one. However, you can also choose stealth though, sneak past them, stab them nice and quietly and get what you need.
A Commander of Legions
The protagonist, Talion, feels very strong. He can deal with pretty much anything and commands legions of orcs. Yes, in Middle Earth: Shadow of War you can actually beat orcs into submission and pretty much draft them in your own army.
Shadow of War also brings back the “nemesis” system which adds some dynamism to the gameplay. It features orc captains with different characteristics as well as unique personalities. If they manage to get you down, they level up and climb the ranks of their army.
In Shadow of War, the protagonist can pretty much bully his nemeses into submission and recruit them in his own army. Players can customize their army with various such characters. Furthermore, they can assign missions to their subjugated orc minions and get them to kill certain targets.
With that said, the main purpose of your army is to assist you in assaulting enemy castles. This is perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the game. There’s a lot of planning that goes into sieges and they actually have a degree of difficulty. Conquering a castle feels very rewarding and it motivates you to keep playing to conquer the next one.
Check out this trailer to get a better impression of the game:
Middle Earth: Shadow of War is a decent action game. You can definitely put about 10 hours into this game and say it was time well spent, especially if you play on consoles. But that’s about it. Shadow of War is not innovative in any stretch of the imagination, nor is it representative of Tolkien’s work.
Furthermore, the game features microtransactions – the dread of the modern gaming community. Buying boosts isn’t mandatory to get through the game but it sure as hell makes your life easier. The game feels grindy as a result, and a lot of players have complained about the devs being greedy by introducing such features to a triple A priced title.
My Rating: 6.0 out of 10
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
System: Xbox One, PS4, Windows
Price: $59.99 (subject to change)
- Immersive gameplay
- Sieges are pretty exciting
- Exploring the world is thrilling
- Disregards LOTR lore
- Story isn’t all that great
- Microtransactions make the game feel like a cash grab
What are your thoughts on this game Let us know in the comment section below.