Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a massive open world action RPG that’s ambitious and delivers on an epic scale. Shadow of War continues where Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor left off, it’s set between the events of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The cinematics of this game are very movie-like and it’ll definitely remind you of Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of the Lord of the Rings saga. The game has great voice acting and respects the lore of the franchise.
Just like the previous game you’ll get to play as Talion and the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor, they forge a new ring of power to recruit an army full of orcs to fight against Sauron the dark lord and his servants. The game has a reasonable amount of collectibles and every time you collect a lost artifact or memory you’ll get a narrator explaining the importance of each collectible. There’s so much content that you can easily get sidetracked.
The gameplay is where Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War shines the most, the combat is fluid and it’ll remind you of the Batman Arkham games but without the hand to hand combat, the game has a skill tree where you can unlock plenty of new abilities to suit you. The more you unlock, the more satisfying the combat will become for the player. You can approach this game with stealth or you can go all out swinging with your sword, however certain objectives will require stealth. I feel like the game threw too much at me all at once and it felt too much for me to take in. It never gave me enough time to learn everything at my own pace.
The game’s nemesis system is a great improvement over its predecessor, allowing you to gain followers from each tribe in middle-earth. The executions are pretty gruesome and the game’s physics were indeed impressive, there’s a lot of loot and weapons to collect throughout middle-earth, the weapons are colour coded and all you need to know is that highers numbers equal better gear. You get 4 different categories, common (white), rare (yellow), epic (orange) and legendary (purple) and you can also upgrade them using your mirian.
The pit fights in this game are strategy based, it’s always best to research each orc on their strengths and weakness before you start a fight. The game has online features like online vendetta and online conquest where you take over fortresses from random players online, the game also has loot boxes where you can get higher level orcs and weapons. It can all be purchased with your Mirian which is the in-game currency that’s commonly used, you can also get legendary orcs or weapons if you spend the gold you have in the game, you can complete the online daily challenges to get more gold for better gear and weapons.
The game includes the main quests that dives deep in to the games narrative and you get many optional quests that will help your character boost experience points so you can level up and gain more followers that’s tied to the game’s nemesis system. You also get the siege missions that’s connected to the story where you have to conquer each fortress and the Shadow of War’s stages during the end game where you have to defend each fortress you’ve conquered, the raids can get overwhelming at times so it’s best to have high level orcs and recruit as many as possible and be strategic on how you conquer and defend each fortress. Each captain, Warchief, and Overlord have humorous dialogue but you can get burnt out after listening to it for over 20 hours since it doesn’t have an option to skip all the talking.
Overall Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a well presented game with beautiful graphics and superb animations, the character models also look great plus the world feels so alive in all regions of the game. The textures can look bland in some areas but it’s probably due to hardware limitations, on a technical level the game is still impressive, it’s surprising to see so much orcs on screen with all the explosions and still hold a stable frame rate. It’s the best Lord of the Rings game I’ve played to date and I recommend this game to any lord of the rings fan who’s into the lore.