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Middle-Earth: Shadow of War – Review

Shadow of War is the new installment into the Warner Bros heavy hitter Middle-Earth, first, we had Shadow of Mordor which got amazing reviews check out ours here Shadow of War was actually announced by mistake as the trailer was sent to some third party sites as a teaser but wasn’t meant to the general public. When it was leaked Warner Bros had to act fast and then pushed the game forward. Whether or not that was a good idea we will wait and see.

We follow on from where we left Talion and Celebrimbor, after defeating the hand of Sauron you both decide on taking the fight to Sauron and his armies in Mordor. Now to do that Celebrimbor who was the smith that created the rings for the kings of old and he also created the ring of power after being seduced and also his family being threatened he reluctantly makes it and then the war begins. At the start, Talion and Celebrimbor are crafting a new ring of power to take the battle to Sauron.

I won’t spoil anything as this game is rife with the story some good and some bad. But it is basically Shadow of Mordor on a grander scale. The Nemesis system is more in depth, you now create armies and take over fortresses, there are Drakes (dragons) and Ologs that fight against you or for you (Trolls). When you take on fortresses you deploy your best captains and battle to capture certain points it’s almost like capture the flag but once you capture a point you move to the next one.

Gameplay wise there isn’t anything fresh added to the game in how you battle and from the off you just tackle orcs and kill their captains and run around like a kid in Toys r us at Christmas.

As you progress through the fortresses you battle the overlord’s followers, captains etc. as you defeat them he slowly gets weaker for the final battle. Once you defeat this you conquer the region that the fortress is in, this game is all about ‘Control’ you control your armies and the fortresses and you manipulate the orcs to fight for you or against each other. It is so much fun but unlike the last game this time you have new features like blood brothers, you kill a captain that has a blood brother and he will fight you after you defeat his brother. You also get ambushes from captains.

Gameplay wise there isn’t anything fresh added to the game in how you battle and from the off you just tackle orcs and kill their captains and run around like a kid in Toys r us at Christmas. The story for me is a filler to the actual action that is the nemesis system which from the first game has been improved but with the map being so big and there being so many orcs to tangle with it is hard to strike up any feeling towards what you’re doing. Yes, there are new orcs that you can fight and new fears and strengths the orcs have but I just feel with the map being so big it is hard to get a steady grip on what you want to do.

Like the last game, you get weapons from fallen captains and it is graded from;

White = Common

Yellow = Rare

Orange = Epic

Purple = Legendary

But now you get armor and cloak which is also added to your overall, the rare, epic and legendary pieces can be upgraded once you complete the challenge associated with them, some are to kill three orcs whilst sliding or dominate an orc from a certain faction at a certain level. Once you do this you can increase the stats for that said weapon. You also have gems that can be added to your gear to boost Talion, you can boost your health with the Green gems which can also be stacked and made into stronger ones if you have enough. Red gems boost your strength and the White gems increase your wealth. Monolith has added microtransactions where you can buy gold to purchase loot chests and gain weapons, XP boosts, and followers to add to your army. Some people say you can’t complete the game unless you use these but if you grind out the game and level up your followers you will be just fine. You can, however, purchase loot chests with in-game currency but only the bronze ones.

Once you obtain your ring of power you can command armies until then you just fight to the death and level up Talion. Part of having an army you can recruit Orcs and promote them, you can even demote them (Shame them) if you feel like being a dick and mugging them off. Another thing new to Shadow of War which I never knew about is you can promote followers in your army to be your bodyguard, so you know how when you’re near death? Well instead of waiting to press that important button to repel your enemy and save your life your bodyguard will swoop in and save the day and join you in battle. Its really cool and at the start of the game I came across this as I was getting overwhelmed by three captains and a soldier of Gondor swooped in and saved me. As you progress through the game you will have Orc soldiers to back you up.

The only online element to the game that I have come across is the vendetta quests where you avenge a fallen player by killing the captain that killed him/her.

On a visual aspect, the game is stunning and has been made enhanced for the Xbox One X so come November I will be looking forward to the new improvements the new Xbox has to offer the cutscenes is where the game has the best visuals in my opinion.

 

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War – Review
Graphics
Sound
Gameplay
Would I Play This Again?
Online
Reader Rating4 Votes3.3
Nemesis mode is back and better
Building an army is amazing
Shaming treacherous orcs is funny
Great visuals
Big map makes it hard to navigate
Far too many captains to build up any sort of relationship with
Nothing really new to the control of the game
Pointless quests
4.5
The One Ring to Rule them all!!!!
All in all, I really enjoyed this game and found that no playthrough will have the same outcomes apart from the story, the characters act and are seen differently each time. With the added visuals from the Xbox One X and the steady gameplay Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor shapes up to be another smash hit.

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