Middle Earth: Shadow of War could have been a great game, but it has flaws all over the place. Here’s my review for Shadow of War.
The nemesis system is back and it’s better than ever. It’s been refined and having an orc rival is fun. It’s more than just dying over and over to a named orc that continues to grow in strength over you. Now orcs can adapt during combat. If I spam my ice attack on an orc there’s a chance that he’ll adapt to my move and become immune to it. The same thing happens with every attack or maneuver that I do in combat.
It’s easier to get surrounded by different orc captains and some times I even had to retreat from a battle that I started off winning because I was ambushed by the fucker’s blood brother before I could finish him off. Orcs can also come back from the dead too. I had one orc come back about 10 times before he finally decided to stay dead. I got some sweet legendary loot out of it too.
The first game had some minor customization, but it pales in comparison to this one. There’s an entire loot system this time around and it’s great. I love collecting new gear, solving riddles, and getting legendary shit to outfit Talion in. I found a legendary armor piece that made from bones. That shit looked cool and I wore it for most of my playthrough.
The soundtrack had it’s moments, but it’s not something that I would rush out and buy like I do some other games. The voice acting is great. Talion sounds menacing when he’s barking orders to his orc army in his cool spirit form. Every major npc has great voice work and it helped immerse me in the cutscenes. The different orc captains all sound great too. Some of them are really funny too and have other orcs talking for them if they’re a mute or just an insane psycho because I’ve humiliated them too many times.
I didn’t encounter a single bug or frame drop the entire time I played this game. It’s a great PC game.
If the platforming was better in this game this would easily be bumped up into the great section. If I’m not fighting I’m climbing up shit. The climbing, and platforming in general, is average here. The combat is fantastic though! I love countering attacks, teleportation assassinations, and blowing shit up. This is the best stealth game I’ve played all year long because of the way I can choose to enter every encounter. Later on I even managed to assassinate two to three orcs at the same time!
The in game cinematic cutscenes look amazing, but when the normal game starts it just looks good. Shadow of War is not an ugly game, but it’s not a huge leap from the previous game. Talion looks good, most of the orcs look good, and animations are serviceable in most scenes. I don’t see how people complained so much about Andromeda’s facial animations when there’s a certain female character that goes from looking decent to crazy ass fuck in a matter of seconds. The overall graphics quality is good, but a far from great.
I never cared about what happened in this game. The first game didn’t have a great story, but I thought it was good. I liked how personal it was. This game is just about raising an army to go up against Sauron. Why? The army building stuff is cool at first, but it quickly became repetitive to me and I eventually just ignored them until I was forced to build my army later on in the game.
I love the vendetta missions in this game, but I don’t like the army management stuff at all. I even got tired of invading other players fortresses because the actual battle quickly became boring as hell to me. Recruiting different orcs, and placing them in key positions under their chief is cool. All of the other stuff isn’t and it’s just busy work to disguise the many shortcomings that this game has. There is NO content here. Everything feels the same and it’s boring.
The Open World Has No Content:
The open world in this game is bad. There’s a serious lack of content here that’s masked by the army management and invasion systems. The only things to do are climb Far Cry towers to unlock side shit to do, build your army, fight some orcs, and do story missions. The worst part is that the story missions are dulls. There’s nothing special about them at all. They feel like regular missions.
Shadow of War is better than it’s predecessor in some ways, but it also took a step back. There is nothing interesting to do in this game besides fight orcs and that can only keep me entertained for so long. I love what was done with this Nemesis system, but I can go without building another half assed army. The first game had a more personal story while this one has better gameplay. Shadow of War isn’t a terrible game. I love the stealth and I love sneaking up on a group of enemies and mass assassinating everyone, but that doesn’t make up for it’s shortcomings and I can’t recommend this game at the price it’s currently at. Wait for a sale on this one.
Why didn’t I cover the microtransactions? Because they’re completely optional and I completed the game without buying anything from the store. No one is forcing you to buy these loot boxes.