As a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, Shadow of Mordor, and all things related. Its no surprise that I bought Shadow of War day one of its release. I expected a lot out of it and I wasn’t completely disappointed but I wasn’t blown away. I want to talk about the pros and cons of this game. After all my opinion is the most important one on the internet (he says sarcastically). Yeah so comments and thoughts are welcome!
Lets set the stage for this game. So Shadow of Mordor starts with our hero Talion’s family murdered and his throat slit by the dark lord Saurons strongest servant, the Black Hand. He is killed in almost the exact same way as the wraith spirit Celembrimbor and the two souls are joined as one in the body of Talion. Celembrimbor forged the one ring for Sauron before he was betrayed and his family killed as well, sending him in a war with Sauron. He becomes a double threat, a great warrior and a powerful wraith spirit. He becomes known as “Grave Walker” by the orcs of mordor and is greatly feared. He begins to waken his powers as a wraith as the game progresses including the ability to teleport, instantly killing his targets , control the minds of beast and enemies alike, super speed, slowing time, the ability to separate into the wraith and man. Basically he is all around bad ass.
The Shadow of War starts out right after the first one with Celembrimbor and Talion (as one) forging another version of the one ring suited for their powers and goals. This ring proves a valuable asset. Thus the conquest of mordor begins. In this game you meet new allies and foes. Such as the men of Gondor, Shelob the spider, Carnan the spirit of nature, and an elfish warrior of light. The new foes include new orc commanders, the witch king, the nine, and even the dreaded balrog. Those are all POSITIVE impacts on the game.
So lets talk about the game play, the multiple story lines, online market, and the overall review of the game. First, the game play. The game play is FUN as hell! You get plenty of abilities and specialized perks for each ability which leads to varied builds to match YOUR game play. The combat is fast paced and hardcore. You can jump in a crowd of 20 orcs and counter each attack with precise accuracy. The fluid sword play usually ending in a brutal execution and the enemies head on the ground. Stealth is also a major part of the game. Some missions require stealth. My friends would come in and think I am playing the assassins Creed series. The way he climbs and jumps on his foes is very similar. The generals are a little harder with different strength and weaknesses. So you can kinda choose to be smart about it, or just go for the kill. Keeping in mind Talion can only control the minds of those the same level or weaker. I choose a balanced approach to this style. If the enemies weakness was around him then I used it against him, if not then we do this the hard way. Riding on the beasts of the game is super fun. Taking a drake and using it to rain fire on the unsuspecting orcs is brutal and satisfying.
Now then about the multiple story lines. Main problems include it being scattered and not tied together at all. Though the characters are good each story is short and has nothing to do with whats going on. (mostly) Lord of the Rings fan’s like myself forgave the first game for not actually following the books and lore of the world. On this one I was hoping to see more familar faces and races (like dwarves). It was the opposite in fact they strayed even FURTHER away from the books and lore. Come on! I buy a Lord of the Rings game, and get no wizards?!? No dwarven mines?!?! NO HOBBITS!?!?! Is this Lord of the Rings at all? Not really. If the story is not even interesting the gameplay can become repetative and easy. Taking over forts and building armys of orcs can become tasks instead of being fun. The online play sending your orcs to fight each other players orcs and the ability to revenge other players online had little or no appeal to me at least.
The online market. OK, I want to address this issue real quick. Shadow of War was released around the same time as EA’s Battlefront 2. The Star Wars: Battlefront 2 random loot crates had drawn national attention. As another well known game released at the time Shadow of War’s in game market faced similar negative light. I agree with wanting all the market items for free as someone who paid full price for the game. I also agree that loot crates have no place in most games. Shadow of War has REMOVED THE MARKET from the game. Yes I can confirm the last update I did and, the market was gone. Has Shadow of War redeemed itself? No. Do I see Shadow of War in a more favorable light? YES very much so! They heard the people and heeded the word. The market was released for a while but, these things take time to take effect. Also, the newly added photo mode is fun to mess with.
At the end of the day I give Shadow of War 7.5/10. Its worth a play through for sure. The negatives are the non linear story lines and the fact it doesn’t hold to The lord of the Rings story and/or lore. The positives are the impressive graphics and the fact that this game is fun!! Its great to just slash your way through army’s of orcs with incredible powers. The game being fun counts for a lot. Also you can clearly see the work put into this game. With the market gone nothing stopping you from enjoying Shadow of War today! Worth it!