‘Middle Earth: Shadow of War’ is a shadow of other games, continues great storytelling



Monolith Productions’ “Middle Earth: Shadow of War” released last week and it has been a hit, coming in second last week in sales. This game marks one of Monolith’s biggest hits, and a major stepping stone in their becoming of a major gaming company.

“Shadow of War,” a single player game focused on the storytelling of an extension of the Lord of the Rings universe, is a sequel to the 2014 title “Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.”

The first game featured a fresh new take on LOTR universe with a captivating story and innovative gameplay. The main character is a human ranger named Talion, whose family was killed by a band of orcs. He died as well, but was given a second chance by mysterious forces to exact his revenge.

He was bound with a wraith of the artificer of the One Ring himself Celebrimbor. Together, they wonder Mordor on a mission to defeat Sauron and his forces. “Shadow of Mordor” was a big hit and was one of the first blockbuster LOTR games. Overall, it was a very good game aside from a few issues with repetitive missions and gameplay.

“Shadow of War” continues this captivating story and as a fan of LOTR I think its story adds so much depth to the LOTR universe. The biggest issues with the previous game have been at least slightly addressed in “Shadow of War.” They have introduced features to the game to make it less repeticoes and more refreshing.

On top of that, the gameplay has been built upon drastically since the last game. The combat and stealth systems have been vastly improved upon and the gameplay as a whole flows beautifully. The graphics aren’t the best I have ever seen, but they are still very much up to par with most big name video games.

The biggest criticism I have of the game is that it plays and feels exactly like the “Batman: Arkham series.” Warner Brothers owns both game serieses so they basically ported half of the gameplay over to the LOTR games. While this is a winning formula for games, people that have played the Arkham games might find it kind of cookie cutter and unoriginal.

It features the exact same attack and block combat system of every single one of the Batman Arkham games had. It also has extremely similar stealth systems and controls. It even has a separate vision mode where you can see things not visible to the naked eye just like the detective view in the Batman game.

Along with this the game features a “marketplace” that has in game items that can be purchased with the in game currency or via microtransactions. Microtransactions are small purchases the player can make to advance themselves in the game and they are a prevalent trend in the gaming industry in recent years.

I’ve addressed microtransactions in a previous article and the damage they do to the gaming industry. It really takes away from gaming as an artform and the uniqueness of the game.

All around, “Shadow of War” is a very good game that is not perfect. I would rate it at an 7.5/10 and I would say for hardcore fans of Lord of the Rings it is very much worth $60, though it is quite time consuming and difficult in some areas. For people in need of a good game to play in their spare time, “Shadow of War” is very good game, though probably not worth the full $60 for most gamers.

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