The first announcement of Middle-earth: Shadow of War caught everyone by surprise. Not just the players, but even Monolith Production and Warner Bros, the team behind the game. When Target accidentally announced the details that the title is coming in autumn 2017, there was nothing else left to do for the developers but to confirm, which they did with an official trailer. That happened in February, and we’ve got a bunch of new info since then, so let’s take a look what we know about Middle-earth: Shadow of War so far.
Why Are We Excited?
Shadow of Mordor, the previous installment in the series, became one of the best games in 2014 although the release of the game wasn’t followed by the hype it deserved. If it’s to judge by the trailers we’ve seen so far, Shadow of War has us in for a grimmer story with amazing action and incredible length and replay value.
ME: SoW trailer reveals us that elven Wraith brought Talion back from the dead even though the Black Hand of Sauron slaughtered him and his family. The game directly continues its prequel, which means it will pick up things at the moment when Talion promises to forge a new Ring of Power. It seems that he succeeded in the intention, considering that the trailer shows him planning to take on Mordor from within.
Talion can now recruit swaths of Sauron’s army to switch to his side. Aside from that, the conflict was notably brought to a whole new level because he will also fight Nazgul Ringwraiths, as well as an armored (and massive) Balrog, and a strong spider woman. The jury is still out whether he will face Sauron, too, but if he does, he will have help from the allies, such as orcs, elves, and humans.
It’s Not the Lord of the Rings
For those of you who are LOTR fans, you should know that Middle-earth: Shadow of War takes place about 60 years before the events in those books/movies. However, the developers tried not to change anything in the world Tolkien created. One of the things people complained about in the previous installment was the conclusion, and Monolith promised that there would be a “more satisfying one” in the sequel.
A new trailer revealed one of the main villains, which will be known as The Agonizer. Famous comedy actor Kumaii Nanjiani did the voiceover for this role, which means that there is going to be a dose of humor from Talion’s nemesis. Nanjiani himself described The Agonizer as someone who overthinks everything but has a strong desire to fulfill his evil plans.
“I will put your head on a pike! Yes, a pike, not a spear, which is just another word for that. Or are they a bit different? Not sure. Anyway, pike sounds better, so, yes, head on a pike!”
It’s not strange that humor is represented in ME: SoW, especially considering that Tolkien loved implementing it in both LOTR and Hobbit. Aside from The Agonizer, pay attention to Bruz the Chopper, one of the orcs that will be particularly witty.
Gameplay Look of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War
ME: SoW is an RPG full of action that we can’t wait to play. One of the features that got us the most excited (not that way) is the Nemesis 2.0 system. The idea of this function is that every interaction with your enemies matters. Choosing whether you want to slaughter or save them influence how they will behave toward you in the missions to come. Aside from that, Sauron’s henchmen will be randomly generated to ensure that you have a unique experience each time you play.
The Nemesis 2.0 New Features
It’s actually an expansion of the system that was implemented in the game’s predecessor. The fantastic new addition is that your choices will now not only affect the relationships with adversaries, but also with the environment. The world of Middle-earth: Shadow of War is full of fortresses that you look to gain control of. They are led by orcs that Sauron installed, but if you are smart enough, you can befriend some of them and agree with them to switch to your side and help you in future battles. Once you conquer a fortress, you can place a friendly orc in charge, and you can soon see the changes made to the personality of the area surrounding the fort. You should also bear in mind that orcs aren’t always to trust and they might turn on you.
Aside from befriending or slaughtering your enemies, you can also embarrass them. The two options that can happen from there are that the rival will remember that and look for the first opportunity for revenge or that they will be thankful you spared their life. Overall, the idea of the Nemesis 2.0 system is that each action you make has a consequence. That secures the incredible dynamic of the SoW world and the fact that no two playthroughs can be the same.
Is This the Game of the Year?
There are rumors that Middle-earth: Shadow of War might be the best game of the year. Although we should wait for the release on October 10, there are features that we can’t wait to try. Aside from that, we can expect that the surrounding will look phenomenal, just like in the trailers. Unlike its prequel, SoW focuses more on the landmarks we know from Tolkien’s movies and books. In short, it’s Shadow of Mordor but on a much grander scale. SoW promises to capture the excitement of epic battles that Peter Jackson successfully portrayed in LOTR films.
Monolith already announced that Middle-earth: Shadow of War will have two expansions: The Desolation of Mordor and The Blade of Galadriel that will both fresh feature campaigns, side quests, and a host of new characters and skills. You can already order the game from Steam and, depending on the edition you choose; you might even get the expansions for free in your deal. Middle-earth: Shadow of War will be available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.