Middle Earth: Shadow of War
Middle Earth: Shadow Of War is the follow up title to Monoliths 2014 blockbuster release Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Continuing the story from the previous title, here is a short recap of the end in Shadow Of Mordor.
Shadow of Mordor told the story of Talion, a Ranger captain stationed at the Black Gate. One night,
his garrison was attacked by Sauron’s forces and he was captured along with his wife Ioreth and his son,
Dirhael, who were executed in front of him.
Talion was then killed in a ritual sacrifice that summoned the Elf Lord Celebrimbor, who merged with Talion, bringing him back to life.
Bound together and banished from death, Talion and the Elven wraith Celebrimbor sought revenge against Sauron and his three servants:
the Black Hand of Sauron, the Hammer of Sauron, and the Tower of Sauron.
Talion and Celebrimbor fought a guerilla war against the Orcs of Mordor,
avenged Talion’s family, and fought Sauron to a standstill.
Their work unfinished, Talion proposed forging a new Ring of Power,
which is where the story of Shadow of War begins.
What you now have infront of you is a story to unfold and enjoy for at least a duration of 30-40 hours (main story).
there will be a lot of killing and gorgeous scenery to enjoy whilst doing that. To date I’ve spent around 40 hours on the game brining me close to 80% completition
of everything there is to do in game.
I will try not to write about specific missions or the story as I write, just because I feel this is a story best experienced yourself.
So no spoilers here! sorry.
The game starts you of with some basic skills, being able to scale almost any vertical climb and also jumping down from any height without the fear of injurying
or killing yourself while doing that. You also have a wraith skill that lets you see hidden texts in walls, enemies from
far and also being able to track foot steps or clues, then you have the basic stealth skills such as hiding in bushes undetected which is a good skill to own in the hostile
enviroment of Mordor, and even a better one to have when you take out some enemies silently. Mordor is your playground, and it’s a big one.
Once you’ve taken your first steps around Mordor and engaged in some combat, begins the levelling process. The levelling process is a big one,
As you rise in levels yourself from finishing tasks, missions, or simply just killing.. your gear also can rise in level and there is alot to keep an eye on in your
inventory for this. You can upgrade your gear such as swords, daggers, crossbow other weapons by finishing tasks mentioned underneath the stats of them, or you can level gear up
by simply beating an Orc captain dropping some loot for your use. I have added quite a few screenshots from in game above in the gallery, where you can see more
precisely how the setup looks for Talion and his gear.
Levelling up further on will bring you some of my favorite skills to use when traversing Mordor, super fast running
(consumes stamina) and rocketing up climbs, both are really essential when progressing in the game. The combat itself is very solid in Shadow Of War, and with the weapons you
posses there is alot of damage you can whip out, specially combining with abilities you can unlock with skill points earnt from finishing missions and such.
One of the examples for skills you can unlock is jumping over an enemy and it instantly freezes them, so you can finish them off, another example would be
having the skill to stun enemies when you are surrounded by a large group. Also taming wild beasts becomes easy enough once you progress enough, and these can be very effective
to use against your foes be it a dog like creature, giant or dragon. (yes there are dragons ingame!)
The combat is very easy to get into, and requires QTE (Quick Time Event) tact when facing off with some tougher opponents such as Captains or Warchiefs but it’s executed in a simple
fun way similar to Assassins Creed or the Batman games.
The Orcs are all randomly generated, so no two people will encounter the same ones in the same area (except for Bruz, whom is part of the main story)
When you fight an elite unit, they all have hillarious introductions before the fighting starts. One of my favorite parts in the game, given me quite a few laughs.
In the world of Mordor, there is a nemesis system in place, that has been worked on and improved from the first title Shadow of Mordor.
The Nemesis System lends unique personalities, histories, and depth to your enemies and followers.
While the basics of the system should be familiar to those who played the first game, many of the core mechanics have been changed or expanded in Shadow of War.
New layers of strategy and depth can yield greater challenges and rewards when thinning Sauron’s ranks or, later on, when expanding your own Orc army.
One of Talion’s primary tasks will be to cull the strongest and most brutal members of Sauron’s army: his Captains, Warchiefs, and Overlords.
These elite units have unique Strengths that make them much tougher opponents than grunts.
Each Captain, Warchief, and Overlord has his own set of Strengths and Weaknesses.
Learning these properties, and how to exploit them, is invaluable in determining your approach to taking these monsters down.
By beating the elite units and dominating, you have several options on what to do with them, some can be convinced to join your ranks, while others remain loyal to Sauron.
Others can be shamed, to loose their cool and become deranged, whilst loose levels in the progress. And then there’s the option to fight them to the death as well.
Another cool feature within the Nemesis system is issueing death threaths to Elite Units, which can lead to interesting developments at any point in the game unexpectedly.
All in all the Nemesis system makes the world of Mordor really feel more alive, with so many things that can happen.
Kudos to Monolith for being able to implement such a wonderful system.
One of the big additions to Shadow Of War is a new thing called Fortresses. Each of the five major areas has it’s own fortress which is held by the enemy.
And it’s your job to take them over, there is alot depending on your player level when you are going for it. Such as how many invaders you can bring with you,
and the amount of coins you have to be able to get the best gear for your invaders. If your player level is high enough, and you have turned around enough enemies to fight for you,
you can bring a total of 6 attackers with you when engaging the fortress, the combat itself is quite simple but challenging, occupy marked areas and claim it when you have dominated the circle.
Occupying the marked areas leads ultimately to the final fight with the castle overlord, and once you have defeated him the castle is yours. (Taking over castles also opens up Story elements).
Then you also have the defend your fortress which works in similar style, you can equip your defenders by using coins with some defensive gadgets and or steel walls and such.
The enemy is invading in hordes, and once you have defeated them all your castle is safe. If you fail, you loose the castle and so begins the process of retaking it back.
This has also been added to the Multiplayer part of Shadow Of War, and by invading in the same fashion as I wrote above, you also level up your online rank by attacking other players castles.
There is also the option if you pause the game, to visit the market where you can spend those hard earnt coins, or gold coins (earned from doing daily-challenges as I write this).
These loot crates that you can purchase contain everything from new Elite Units to training orders to improve your Elite unit stats with.
I quite enjoyed the Castle invasion segment whilst playing the main story, and found it a good fun addition.
So to sum it all up,
The campaign has five character-based quest lines with a total of 44 missions to accomplish, with a mix of all kinds of action from raiding camps, dragons, hell-beasts to fighting Sauron.
There’s alot of collecting to be done in obtaining artifacts, deciphering Elvish graffiti, and reliving some of Celebrimbors and Shelobs important moments.
There are Castles to be sieged, multiplayer fun to be had.. and Orc Killing, a lot of it…
And as a last thing. I’m not a huge Lord Of The Rings fan besides that I have seen the movies.. I was afraid that I would feel a bit lost not knowing much about Mordor.
But I know that Monolith has done a proper job when they managed to keep me occupied and interested for the +40 hours I have played so far.
It’s a gorgeous game, with a good story, and hey who doesen’t love killing Orcs? and listening to them throw the funniest threats and introductions at you.
There will also be a Xbox One X enhacement for the game coming up when the Xbox One X launches on November 7th. So for those of you who are getting the new console,
can look forward to that also.
Middle Earth: Shadow Of War is out now on Xbox One, PC and Playstation 4.
Please see the Xbox One Store, Windows 10 Store, Playstation Store or Local Game store for pricing.
Review copy provided by the Developer