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Middle Earth Shadow of War – Spoilers

Content of the article: "Middle Earth Shadow of War – Spoilers"

I bought this because it was cheap and I remember vaguely enjoying the first one. The best way I can describe it is Assassin's Creed with a Lord of the Rings skin. It’s a game about fighting and climbing fast-travel points to reveal lots of things to collect and missions to do.

It’s Nemesis system is the best thing about it, orcs that have personalities and grow stronger if they defeat or escape from you. In my opinion that’s the only thing this game does that stands it above anything else. Even that becomes a chore. I loved murdering captains to get info on warchiefs and then murdering them to assault a castle and take it. I loved it once, but when you have to do it 4 or 5 times it’s just busy-work. The story missions are mostly completed in 5-10 minutes and then you’re back to the day job of stabbing Orcses.

If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings lore then you need to be able to set that aside if you want to enjoy this game, it very much makes it up and makes some changes that are not Tolkienian in any sense of the word. Isildur is revealed as a Nazgul, even though the first sighting of The Nine happened more than 1000 years before the battle of the last alliance and Isildur’s downfall.

In the first 10 minutes we’ve seen your character forge a new One Ring and seen Shelob, last spawn of Ungoliant as a sexy lady giving you visions of the future. Having forged that Second Ring, we find out that we get betrayed by things we’ve dominated before for no reason and encounter orcs that cannot be dominated near the end. It’s an inconsistent mess.

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The future is where we run into another problem. We know that in the future Sauron dominates Mordor and moves to assault Middle Earth. Here we are in game, trying to liberate Mordor from him and depose him, which we know fails. It makes it all seem a bit pointless.

The end of the game tries to frame this in some way that doesn’t work in my opinion. Celebrimbor betrays you and tries to fight Sauron, he loses, you die and become a ringwraith and are told to conquer Minas Morgul. When you’ve spent 25 hours dominating orcs to build an army to defeat him and the game ends with – ah sorry no – you need to go to this green place and stay there forever, that’s not a twist as much as it is breaking the ‘promises’ that the game made to you in the beginning.

I can’t recommend it honestly as the game exists in such a strange place. If you like Assassin’s Creed, then play Assassin’s Creed. If you like Lord of the Rings, this game will most likely be quite annoying and you’d be better off playing Assassin's Creed. Bottom line, it doesn’t do enough better than Assassin’s Creed and does lots worse. The climbing mechanics are dimwitted sometimes with Talion sticking to scenery you don't want him to at times, and jumping off them when you don't want him to at others. There are ledges halfway up the fast-travel towers and about half the time Talion would jump to the ground instead of climbing further up the towers.

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I paid £6 and still think it was a waste of money.


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