Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
This is for those of you, who like me, were introduced to the books of J. R. R. Tolkien as a child, or subsequently the films many years later.
One of the very first books I attempted to read as a young teen was The Hobbit, and to be brutally honest, I didn't get more than half way. I was never the best or fastest reader and found Tolkien's writing a tad more tricky than the usual. I have been a big fan of the Lord of the Rings world and lore for as long as I can remember. The beauty of games is that it is a combination of books and movies, and you get to be a part of it.
I would have to give those of you who call yourselves die hard fans a fair warning. Unfortunately, as with the previous title, the developers do not stick to well established canon and lore, much like what they did in the movies.
Shadow of War is the sequel to the 2014 game, Shadow of Mordor, the story takes place during the 60 year gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.
The hero of this tale is Talion, a ranger and captain of Gondor. He serves within a garrison which is responsible for guarding the Black Gate of Mordor. He is attacked by the forces of Sauron and is captured along with his wife and adult son. All three are ritually sacrificed by the Black Hand in an attempt to summon and merge with the wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor. Something goes wrong and Celebrimbor, who has suffers from amnesia due to his centuries as a wraith, merges with Talion instead. This prevents him from dying along with his family. Talion then manages to miraculously escape. Talion now infused with the wraith of Celebrimbor sets off on a journey to discover his identity and avenge the death of his family.
That was pretty much the plot of the first game Shadow of Mordor, I have a serious issue with starting in the middle of a story, so felt it was very necessary to fill you in. It's all about the context, things become confusing when it lacks context.
"Three Rings for the Elven-Kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-Lords in halls of stone, Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die, One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie." - J.R.R. Tolkien
Shadow of War continues almost immediately where the previous game ends, Talion and Celebrimbor travel to Mt. Doom, where they forge a new Ring of Power to rival that of Sauron's ring, in an attempt to overthrow him.
As great stories usually go, things don't always go according to plan, Celebrimbor is abducted and held hostage by Shelob. Yes, that huge ass spider that Frodo has to face in Return of the King, who then asks Talion to hand over the Ring in exchange for Celebrimbor. Talion reluctantly agrees and they end up having to work together with Shelob, it's that old enemy of my enemy is my friend rule.
I must say I truly enjoyed the story as it intertwines with the original story, and gives some great back story to the characters who we have come to love and hate. The flashbacks to the Ringwraiths corruption was really awesome, as this is one of those questions that is never answered in the films. There are a few original characters that return, like Ratbag, who provides some decent comic relief to the non-canon version of events.
The game itself is visually a big step up from the previous one, each zone looks and feels remarkably different, from Sergost's ice mountains to the volcanic terrains of Gorgoroth.
The overall area is much bigger this time round, so be prepared for a lot of running, until you unlock the fast travel locations. I found that they could have added some deeper dynamics to the locations like environmental effects and a bigger variety of wildlife in the different areas.
The zones are covered with enemies, everything in this game is bigger and badder than before. This includes the names that are at times just hilarious. I found that almost every enemy I encountered was different, each had a very unique appearance and set of abilities, this was particularly noticeable when it came to the voices.
One aspect that sets Shadow of War and it's predecessor apart from other games is the Nemesis system.
The game tracks encounters with enemy Uruks and if you get killed, or run away due to a fight being too hard, that Uruk becomes more powerful and gains specific buffs. They also gain favor by defeating you or surviving an encounter with you, then become leaders and then bosses that you need to defeat. This also greatly changes their appearance and their names, and at times you'll have to decide between brainwashing him to add to your army or killing him for the potentially game-changing loot. One of the really awesome online features is when you are killed by any enemy, any of your friends playing the game will have the chance to avenge you by facing the same enemy.
The fighting system in this game is very much similar to that of the Batman Dark Knight series, and once you get the hang of it, you become a master Jedi fighting machine, taking on a group of 50 or more Uruks at a time. The nice addition to the gear and loot you pick up is a side quest, which then unlocks the full potential of that item. The skill tree has also gotten a upgrade and a few new abilities have been added, one which I seem to use the most is Shadow Strike, which lets you teleport to any enemy in sight and instantly kill them, great for silently getting to a high vantage point.
Lastly, one of the biggest new features to Shadow of War are the fortresses, it's basically like the battle of Helms Deep, you and hordes of brainwashed Uruks attack a base. The battles are really impressive, and there are probably between 100 and 200 Uruks running around hacking each other to pieces. It really reminded me of when Legolas and Gimli were arguing over who has killed the most.
Shadow of War is an action role-playing, third person game developed by Monolith Productions, who also created the F.E.A.R. series, which was a pretty fun and scary PS3 shooter.
The game is published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and these guys have a multitude of titles under their belt. Mostly titles from DC and the Lego franchises. Shadow of War is the sequel to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and was released at the end of October 2017, so it's still very new. The game is available on PS4, Windows and Xbox, and is around $59 on the PlayStation Store, which is about 15 Steem Dollars.
I give Shadow of War a well deserved 8/10.
In case you missed it, here is the previous game review
Thanks for popping in, hope you liked the post. Please leave me your thoughts and or opinions in the comments below, have a beautiful day.
Game review for ADSactly by MorkRock
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ADSactly