Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Shadow Of War was a bit of a disappointment after the masterpiece that was Shadow of Mordor. There really isn’t much to say apart from that it just left you feeling like they could have done so much more.

This game doesn’t really do anything special in terms of gameplay, it pretty much stays true to how Shadow of Mordor set things up. They also kept the same “command structure” that was set up in Shadow of Mordor except this game took it a little further. 

The two changes that were made, going from Shadow of Mordor to Shadow of War was that the style of the worlds changed and the Story paled in comparison to Shadow Of Mordor.

The style of game in Shadow of Mordor was almost perfect, a lot of open terrain, easy to navigate through and there were only 2 open world maps. Shadow Of War changes from this open world feel to changing between different cities. As you move through the story you change between different cities and try to take them over, you start in Minas Morgul. You move from there to Cirith Ungol and have to try and overtake the fortress there. This was all quite disappointing, you lost your sense of investigation, your sense of free reign. It felt way too directed not to mention that when a game is still having to teach you things hours and hours into the game it just feels incredibly slow, it felt like everything was just dragging along.

The new addition to the way you play the game is having to take out fortresses, before you had captains and warchiefs to kill and that was it. This time you have captains and warchiefs to kill/dominate as well as an overlord, you have to dominate enough captains to build your army and lay siege to the Fortress which then allows you to take out the overlord and promote one of your own in their place. If anything this was the most interesting addition to this game, it took that whole captain/warchief aspect to a new level, you already knew how to deal with them but now you needed to dominate a lot more than kill because you need to build your army. 

Now this would have been a fantastic addition IF all the captains and warchiefs you attack didn’t talk forever. Every time you attack a new captain/warchief they have always had something to say before fighting, in Shadow of Mordor it was a lot simpler, shorter and witty, in Shadow of Mordor it’s like they tried too hard to be funny and instead I found myself getting pissed off every time I had to sit there and wait for the big lumps to finish their monologue, it was just frustrating. 

Now the story itself wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t fantastic either.You Begin by running into none other than Shelob, who as it turns out is not just a massive ass Spider but  powerful being, she ends up taking the ‘new’ ring that you made with Celebrimbor and you have to find a palantir and worry about getting that ring back. As you look for Palantir you start by helping the people of Gondor at Minas Morgul who are under siege from orcs, all while Celebrimbor tells you to worry less about the people and more about the Palantir. Eventually the Ringwraiths start to take over and the Witch King of Angmar comes in to steal the Palantir. You end up fighting them but lose as they take control. Now you head off to Cirith Ungol where you need to start building your followers. You start to move from place to place gaining followers as you go until you run into one troll in particular named Bruz.

Bruz would have to be one of my favourite characters in both games, even above Ratbag the Coward. Bruz definitely gave the comedic aspect that allowed me to ignore the other parts of the game that were not so good. His sarcastic manner amplified with his easy going personality and his love of… crushing things, made him a hysterical character that will make you laugh. Bruz starts to teach you about taking fortresses and how you need followers to take on fortresses. He basically becomes your right hand man and info hub for what you have to do. 

It was always going to be difficult to follow Shadow of Mordor and you have to give them props for trying something but it didn’t quite work. I found myself getting bored with the game, feeling like it was an absolute slog to get through, with only Bruz for satisfaction.

Review by Dillon Van Der Putten

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