The initial Shadow of Mordor received extremely positive reception when it came out in 2014. After its success, it was inevitable that we will eventually get a sequel, and now we have in the shape of Shadow of War. Does it live up to the expectations or raises the bar in any way? Let’s find out.
First thing that you notice right away is combat, which hasn’t changed much from the previous game. It is the absolute same, you press one button to slash your sword and the other action button to counter their moves. That’s all there is to it, which is kind of disappointing as I expected at least some improvements or additions in the combat. It is not bad by any means, but it just means that you will be playing more of the same game that you did before. Graphics aren’t anything special either, the facial models look worse than they were in the original, and towns/enemy fortresses feel quite similar. Shadow of War PC version has some resolution and frame rate improvements, but the overall visuals of the game still look mediocre. So, if you wanted next-gen graphics, you won’t find them in this game. All in all, Shadow of War is a decent game. It builds up on the Nemesis system that was introduced in the first game, but everything else, has mostly remained the same.
Middle-Earth is known for its lore, so the expectations regarding the story were pretty high. However, Shadow of War Mithril Edition didn’t deliver on that. The storyline is clichéd and boring and there isn’t even a single moment where you actually feel anything about any character. In fact, the orcs you encounter have more personality to them than the main cast. Those of you who crave good stories in their video games should stay far away from this game.
As mentioned above, the combat has remained the same. There’s barely any improvement. Shadow of War Gold Edition feels like you are playing the same game all over again. The regions addition doesn’t help the cause either. Previously, there were two regions with their own distinct personality. This time, they have increased the number of regions, but going through them doesn’t feel exciting. It feels like a chore. You have to go to each region, take down orc’s strongholds, and then get to fight main boss of that particular region. This doesn’t leave any room for surprises. After like 8 hours-in, I started to feel that I’m doing the same thing over and over again, and it didn’t feel good.
This is where Shadow of War Wiki shines the brightest. Nemesis system and orcs help keep things interesting along the way. When combat and story are weak, you need a distraction and that’s provided by the orcs of the game. They all have different dialogues and personas, and listening to them is quite entertaining. They get stronger, they betray you, they join you, they get to kill you and get a promotion. There is just so much potential of having this Nemesis System in place. This is easily the best part of the game but doesn’t make the game worthwhile. If you are a huge fan, then I would advise you to play it when it’s available on a deep sale, as this game is definitely not worth the 60$.