If you are a Tolkien fan like me, I’m sure that you’ve played Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, one of the greatest games in 2014. Boy, have I got great news for you! Monolith Productions confirmed the release date for the sequel to the game. Middle-earth: Shadow of War is scheduled for launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on August 22, 2017.
The game will be set somewhere after The Hobbit but before The Fellowship of the Ring. We will once again see Talion, who shares his body a dark spirit Celebrimbor, as the main protagonist. The end of the Shadow of Mordor game saw Talion making a bold statement that it’s time for a new ring. That time has come, considering that he has forged a new Ring of Power, which he plans to use to gather an army and conquer the Middle-earth.
The main enemy will be the Dark Lord Sauron himself. Talion will battle him and his Ring Wraiths conquesting the fortresses throughout the land. Considering the timeline of the game, it is expected that you won’t be able to defeat him once and for all, but you will get the opportunity to put a dent in his plans. Your task throughout the game will be to gather, nurture and strengthen your army to capture fortresses led by orcs and gain control of the Middle-earth.
The Nemesis System 2.0
The best feature of the Shadow of Mordor was the Nemesis System. It enabled the players to create unique stories by interacting with enemies and developing rivalries on a personal level. For example, an orc that kills you is the perfect one to nurse a personal grudge with. However, it’s not that easy to get the revenge because, in the meantime, that same orc got promoted to a higher rank thanks to the fact it killed you.
The selling point of the Nemesis System is that any action you take shapes up the game, creating a different experience every time you play it. The players loved this idea, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s making a return in the Middle-earth: Shadow of War.
The new game takes this system to the next step. Enemy tribes will have different cultures, so you will encounter various fortresses, adding to the variety of the game. The stronger the orc leaders are, the bigger is their influence throughout Mordor. However, it’s the relationships you develop with your enemies that will make the core of the game.
As you fight your way through camps, you will encounter many of these dirty, evil scumbags. The trick is that they don’t necessarily have to be your enemies. Once you defeat them, you have the option of fighting them to death, shaming them or recruiting them to fight by your side. Some of the orcs will appreciate the fact that you recruited them, but others will only pretend and wait for the first opportunity to betray you. Remember, they are evil and dirty scumbags, but they can be useful on your quest for revenge.
Shadow of War and LOTR Connection
The developers don’t hide the fact that they look up to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies. “We want to live up to the epic scale of the LOTR,” said Michael de Plater from the Monolith Productions’ creative team.
The game’s goal is to fit into the LOTR world perfectly. We already mentioned that Shadow of War is set between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. The idea is that you can play the game, finish the story and then move on to the LOTR movies or books in a seamless continuity. Aside from that, Shadow of War wants to give players a look into some of the LOTR things in a new way, so you might expect an insight into the flaming Eye of Sauron or Minas Morgul.
Battles will be large-scale and also with the aim to create that feeling you had while watching the movies. The developers believe that brutality and violence is an integral part of epic battles, so there will be a lot of gushing blood and things like dismembered heads or arms. The graphics are incredibly detailed, so aside from a fantastic gameplay, we can also say that we are in for an amazing visual experience.
The story of the Shadow of War is in no way linear. Once you go through the Black Gates, it’s completely up to you which regions you will attack. Naturally, some parts, such as the ones in the heart of Mordor, will be tougher to conquer. That’s why you might want to focus on side quests first and build yourself a robust and reliable army. Different allies will bring various skills to your army and can be used to perform different tasks. But, as we mentioned, you need to be careful in choosing your allies. Each of your decisions, regardless of how small it seems, can have consequences on a large scale, which is exactly what makes the Shadow of War unique. Although the game comes with pre-defined missions and side quests, a different experience is guaranteed each time you play it.
Three Different Game Editions
Middle-earth: Shadow of War will have its standard edition, as well as two story expansions: The Desolation of Mordor and The Blade of Galadriel. You will have the option to buy both of these with the Gold Edition of the game. The developers promise that the standard version is a standalone game, while DLC packs bring big new things. There are some rumors that we might get the opportunity to play as one of Tolkien’s iconic villains in these expansions, which would certainly make them an exciting prospect. The Gold Edition of the game runs for the same price as the Deluxe Edition of Destiny 2, which is $99. In my opinion, the price for Middle-earth is a bit spiced up, as we don’t know exactly how big the four expansions are.
The owners of PS4 Pro will be thrilled to hear that Shadow of War will take advantage of the 4K-centric console. Aside from the releases on PS4, Xbox One and PC scheduled for August, Monolith Productions are developing the game for Project Scorpio. That version of the game will be enhanced, but more details will be discovered once Microsoft’s new console launches later in 2017.