One of the best Lord of the Rings games of all time, Middle-earth is back with Shadow of War. And this time, the ranger Talion will be wielding his own Ring of Power.
The Shadow of War falls across Mordor
“Monolith Productions continues to innovate by introducing deeper, more personalised gameplay experiences, coupled with authentic storytelling,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ truly drives the genre forward by taking the Nemesis System to new heights and allowing players to create their own personal journey within Middle-earth.”
Once again featuring the groundbreaking Nemesis System, Shadow of War should be another feather in LotR’s video game cap. The first game in the series was pretty great after all, and I’m pretty excited to see what this sequel has in store.
Why was developer Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor so terrific? For starters, that Nemesis System that Warner Bros was talking about changed quite a bit for open-world games. Not only could you hunt down orcs, but they’d remember you if they survived the encounter. Sometimes they’d be way tougher to fight the second time around too. That’s what they mean by “personal journey” there too.
I remember very clearly having actual grudges against orcs who kept killing me. Death is explained, by the way, with Talion being resurrected by his wraith buddy, Celebrimbor. Having your enemies remember you, means that they taunt the heck out of you as well. And that only serves to fuel those vengeful fires. Vengeance being something that Talion/Celebrimbor crave in spades.
When we last left Middle-earth
This sequel takes place in the same time period as the original. So it’s set after the Hobbit, but before The Fellowship of the Ring. Talion (a ranger) and Celebrimbor (the spirit of the Ring of Power’s elven creator) are still bonded together. And now they’re seeking vengeance against not just Sauron’s men, but the big bad himself.
As you can see in the trailer, Sauron has returned and is in physical form. He’s raising his armies and setting out to usher in the series of events that play out in the LotR saga. So I assume that means that there’s a ton of pretty major story points that are to play out in Shadow of War.
There’s going to be a lot more to do this time around too. Not only will these “procedurally-generated enemies” “remember every encounter” and be “differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses”, but they’ll be able to do more than in the previous release.
This time around, the Nemesis System will allow for the ability to conquer and hold fortresses. So no more clearing out a hundred orcs, only to have them repopulate when you turn your back. Warner Bros says you will be able to “create personalized worlds” within Mordor, as you take the fight to Sauron, which sounds pretty great to me.
Get ready for an “expansive world full of epic heroes and villains, iconic locations, original enemy types, even more personalities and a new cast of characters with untold stories.” Middle-earth: Shadow of War has been confirmed for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It’s a part of the Xbox Play Anywhere system too, so you’ll be able to buy digitally on your Xbox One and play seamlessly on your PC, should you so choose.