Developed by Monolith Productions and released in 2017. Middle Earth: Shadow of War is an action RPG videogame sequel of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor both taking place in the fantasy world of The Lord Of The Rings. Unlike the first game, which was more of a hack and slash game, this one has a more role-playing approach, making the player study the enemies and prepare an optimal strategy to defeat them.
The game starts right where its prequel ended, at the moment of the creation of another “The one ring”. This time, we will follow Talion and Celebrimbor on their journey to conquest Mordor and defeat Sauron. The game features multiple regions to explore and conquest, both new and returning characters and an expasion of the inmersive némesis system.
The story is pretty much straightforward. We will follow Talion and Celebrinbor (and some new allies) while conquering each region of Mordor. Also, while exploring Mordor, we will come across some interesting and rewarding side-quests.
The story is divided into acts, in the first act we are introduced to some gameplay mechanics and how Sauron’s army is expanding even further into the Middle Earth. Act 2 is where most of the game takes place, here we are free to explore Mordor with the only goal of conquering all regions. Act 3 is where the final battle against Sauron takes place, just after you conquered Mordor. Finally, act 4 is where the post-game takes place, we are free again to enjoy the game as we like.
The One Ring provides Talion with new skills such as summon and tame drakes. But as always the most important thing here is the nemesis system. Just like in the previous game, we need to study the enemies to learn about their strengths and weaknesses. We need to prepare our gear and skills based on the orc we want to beat but beware, they can adapt to counter you as well, this is notable especially when playing on the nemesis difficult or higher. We also need to manage our army by upgrading our orc captains and war chiefs and sending them in nemesis quests.
The nemesis system expands in this game, thanks to the conquest quests. In these quests, we will take our army (formed by the orc captains and war chiefs we have) to attack an enemy fortress. Once we take all strategic points in the fortress and defeat the overlord who rules it, the whole region will be ours. In the story mode, we can deal with the enemy war chiefs to weaken the defenses of the enemy fortress but you won’t be able to do so in the online mode.
Feel free to watch this little conquest I did if you rather a visual example.
The looks and sounds good. It’s not as impressive as the current games we have but it is pretty good. The enviroment and effects are pretty good too. Not much to say here, nothing spectacular but not bad at all either.
Due to the complexity of the nemesis system, the main story lasts for about 10-15 hours. But if you want to complete all the side-quests and find all collectibles you will need about 30 hours.
The online conquests extend the game for as much as you enjoy it while perfecting your army. It is also important to mention that the game features 2 nemesis expansions (more orcs to fight and 2 )story expansions.
First “The blade of Galadriel” where we play as Ethariel in act 4. The DLC gives a little more context for the final hours of the main game.
Lastly but no less important, the “Desolation of Mordor” story expansion. Here we play as captain Baranor in a whole new region at the east. This DLC has its own story but the new region is also playable in the main game, which adds a few more hours to the experience.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a mus-play for any LOTR fans. Also, people that enjoy fantasy based games or action RPGs will enjoy it as well. If you’re none of those, you may want to pass on this.
P.S: The game is free right now on PS+. So, if you have an active subscription and haven’t tried this game yet… why are you still reading this? Jokes aside, the game is playable on PS4 and PS5 through backward compatibility.