Middle-earth: Shadow of War - Video Game Review

Middle-earth: Shadow of War – Video Game Review

The adventures of the brave ranger Talion continue! Finally, after three whole years, the developers from Monolith Productions presented to the gamers the second part of the adventures of their favorite hero. It’s time to take part in large-scale battles in the darkest and most inaccessible corners of Middle-earth!

Middle-earth: Shadow of War – Video Game Review

At the end of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Talion, though not without difficulty, still manages to avenge Sauron’s henchmen for his cruel death and the death of his family. It would seem that the plot of the game has come to its logical conclusion, but unexpectedly the adventures of the ranger outgrow into a chain of large-scale events connected with each other. After Talion mercilessly dealt with the Black Hand and company, he felt within himself the strength that could allow him to get to Sauron himself. Once on Mount Doom, he, with the help of the spirit of the elves blacksmith Celebrimore, should receive the Ring of omnipotence – the last ring that the great master shackled.

The ranger understands that he needs not only to pump as good as possible but also to gather as many allies around him. Only in this way will he be able to defeat the main sorcerer of Middle-earth. Therefore, the motive of the game is aimed at upgrading the character, collecting the army, and eliminating enemy units and troops. In the course of the plot, a personal dilemma will be presented to Talion: faith in oneself, one’s strength, and the benefit of one’s actions. The constant spiritual volitional struggle of the character with himself, to which the spirit of Celebrimbor, who considers himself almost the Light Lord of everyone and everything, regularly connects, brings a fair share of unexpected twists into the storyline. Is our hero ready to take on the role of savior of the Middle-earth, or will this burden of responsibility prove to be an unbearable burden for him? Well, according to the developers, by the end of the second part of the game, gamers will find answers to these and other intriguing plot questions.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Gameplay

The Middle — earth: Shadow of War genre is declared by developers as a symbiosis of action and RPG in the open world. Although it is worth noting that the game is not limited to these genres only. After all, here the player will find both slasher, and stealth, and huge locations, which will have to be studied in detail, and quest elements. The gameplay of overt global changes has not undergone. Talion, as in the first part, parkourite and slasherite in the style of the Yubis Prince of Persia, and in close combat demonstrates a line of tricks in the style of games of the Batman Arkham series. There are only small changes regarding the scaling of battles and combat mechanics. Added tricks and attacks (for example, using glaive during a battle will allow knocking down several opponents at once). Pleasing to the eye is the appearance of truly hefty enemies: balrogs and wyverns of the Nazguls. By the way, you can ride on the latter.

Advanced Nemesis

Those who played in the first part of the game are likely to have heard of the Nemesis system, which, starting from the actions and decisions of the player, generated the game universe almost non-stop. As a result, none of the walkthroughs was similar to the previous one. In the second part of the game, developers overclocked Nemesis to the maximum and opened up new horizons for gamers.

The army of orcs has a strict hierarchy (ordinary – captain – leader – master of the fortress), therefore, the most important rule for achieving a positive outcome in the battle is the elimination of the most important commander on the battlefield. That is, ordinary Orcs can be soaked at least until the morning, if their captain is alive, etc. In such a simple way, eliminating one after another the hierarchical leaders, it is necessary to get to the most important and finish it off. As before, each leader has its own pluses and minuses. Enhanced Nemesis generates these pros and cons even more actively than its predecessor in the first part, which is why the game won indescribably and became even more diverse. This increased the complexity of the game because in some battles the tactics of warfare have to be changed almost every second. If you miss the attack and die from the sword of some gray frenzied orc, then in addition to your death, in addition, he will receive a good upgrade and will become several times stronger and more dangerous.

Life in a horde of orcs is seething, like in an anthill, and without your participation: captains manage to fight with swords because of the slightest quarrels – new careerists immediately come to their places, ordinary take regular part in raids on neighboring settlements – one of them dies, and someone returns to the base with good improvements and supplies, some orcs alone go hunting alone against the fierce beasts in order to consolidate their superiority and authority in the pack. All these events are marked with a marker on the map of Talion. The new Nemesis pleasantly surprises with its elaboration of characters. So each orc has its own disposition and behavior. So, if one of the orcs manages to defeat the main character in battle, the latter’s death will not necessarily occur, because not every orc wants to bite his hands on a weakling. And in the future, if such an orc stumbles upon Talion, he will not reach into his pocket for a word and will remind the hero of his shameful surrender. And such episodes are found in the game quite often because Nemesis generates the game world anthill, in which each orc has its own lively and vibrant role.

Army and fortress

To say that all of what was written above was not in the first part of the game would be frank cunning. All this was, but such a detailed study – no. Improving everything that gamers liked so much in the first part, plus innovative innovations – this is the formula for success from the developers of Middle-earth: Shadow of War. As before, here you can recruit enemy soldiers and resort to their help during long sieges of fortresses. However, if the Shadow of Mordor did not need these manipulations, now this function has become vital to complete the siege in its favor. Now each of the recruited ringleaders can besiege a small army. Such small detachments can easily divert the main enemy forces to themselves, and in the meantime, Talion will try to get to the main commander of the fortress. This plan seems simple only in words because the game has the same Nemesis, which, by variously generating a picture of the battle, certainly will not allow the player to calmly finish the leader.

Sound and Graphics

The game was created on the Firebird engine, which says a lot. This engine, frankly speaking, has established itself in the gaming industry as passing and average. And if in the first part of the game in the system requirements the amount of RAM was 3-4 GB, in Shadow of War – 8-16 GB. On the one hand, this is normal, after all, three years have passed, and most modern games are now demanding on hardware. But … but … With such requirements, the blurriness of textures in dark locations hurts the eyes quite significantly. Many players were very surprised by the contrast of the screenshots at the development stage, when on some screenshots the characters and their equipment look perfect, and on others, for some reason, the locations of the same caves look like undercooked porridge. But these are details, the benefit of such locations in the game is not so much. Otherwise, there are no complaints about the graphic component of the game. There are only developers who are too lazy to use the engine more seriously with such and such gaming requirements.

The sound in the game is sustained. The soundtrack is very similar in style to what we were offered in the Shadow of Mordor. The composition of the composers is the same: Nathan Grieg and Harry Shiman. It is to them that we owe almost half an atmosphere of Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Microtransactions

The fact that most players hate so fiercely and frantically, unfortunately, did not pass by the second part of the game. It’s about micro payments, with which you can influence the gameplay and leveling of characters. And everything would be fine, but judging by the Shadow of Mordor, developers love money so much that they released as many as 21 DLCs to it. The love of money was reflected in the second part. The game has two endings. The first is a standard story mode with the same standard ending. The second is the mode in which to open the ending you need to conquer all the fortresses, which looks very difficult to do. The story mode is free for 15-20 hours, which can not be said about the Conqueror mode. In order to conquer all the fortresses, it is necessary to have a strong army with very pumped orcs. How many months a player will spend on pumping is not clear, but it is clear that by spending 2,000 rubles and buying a set of super-orcs already prepared by the developers, you can open the second ending without difficulty. Of course, this is the policy of the gaming company, but, apparently, most players can only dream about the full ending of Middle — earth: Shadow of War.

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