by James Toal
After waiting in line for an hour in the world known as EGX, I finally managed to get a chance to play the highly awaited Middle Earth sequel Shadow of War. In the game, you’re tasked with heading behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer fortresses and dominate Mordor from within. What the game controversially has tailing it at the moment, is the decision to include microtransactions within the singleplayer campaign, including monetising a seemingly heartfelt move to honour an employee in tribute due to his battle with cancer.
Whether these aspects drive you away from the game or not, that’s not the reason why we’re here. We intend to talk about how it all actually played, and to give an overall first impression of what the developers Monolith have brought for us in the second Middle Earth game.
What’s immediately apparent from the start are the visuals themselves, a towering fortress with thousands of Uruks going about their business stood before me, just waiting for the main character Talion to decide how to stroll on in and decapitate the populace. If this location represents the many types of areas you’ll encounter, then I’ll be intrigued to see what varieties of places the player could invade throughout the game. We were given a select amount of missions to choose from in front of the fortress, so I picked a mission where we needed to kill 10 enemies while riding a Caragour in order to bring out this game’s equivalent of a War Chief.
The mission went underway and for most of it, the game seemed pretty similar to the previous but with some added flourishes in the animations and attacks. Climbing walls, sneaking up behind enemies, then stabbing them repeatedly is something we’ve all experienced in these games. But with your character, you’re able to move faster around the map and able to kill or convert enemies seemingly quicker than before.
Before long, I had achieved my objective and out came my target. An Uruk with a speciality in spears and riding a Caragour of his own. Upon finding him, I soon realised that he was in fact surrounded by followers, who all wanted to get their own unique lines in before we started to fight. This is where Monolith’s Nemesis engine truly shines, The enemies ranged from intimidating to comedic and all their exchanges overlapped to give you a sense of being surrounded.
There was one moment that caught me off guard in a positive way. One big dude was looking to tear my head off, saying that he’ll need to take care of me quick, or else he’ll be made fun of. Suddenly, a little guy rushes around him proclaiming he’s the one that’s been making fun of him and acted all excited about destroying the intruder. This just shows that the developers are certainly aware of what gave their game a unique edge, and have built upon it by giving us more fun scenarios and enemies to either work with or slice their head off their shoulders… There’s a lot of heads rolling in this if you didn’t know.
Overall, the experience of jumping back into Mordor was an intriguing experience. It was a shame that I didn’t get to experience a lot more of the game. But, from the glimpses I did see, I left fairly positive that the meat of the game will be fun to interact with. I only wish there could’ve been more time to experience the game, to see what else was on offer and get a better idea of what’s coming when this is released on the 10th of October.
Based in the United States
Founding date: Oct 01, 1994
Oct 10, 2017
PC (Microsoft Windows) / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One