PREVIEW – Talion is finally back after a long sleep from the first game in 2014 as indeed the franchise returns this August of 2017. Once again Monolith is at the helm for the sequel, and while we were expecting a simple graphical upgrade, the development team has been cooking up something worthwhile it seems.
From the undead Ranger of Gondor to a plague of Orcs, Talion now forms an army against Sauron, plus he is out to conquer as many fortifications as he can throughout the land. So that, in the end, he would rule them all? Or maybe liberate them? In the end, the player will decide…
Conquer Your Foes!
While the first game had you going toe to toe with an army of Orcs, and a few warlords. In the end, he is able to defeat The Black Hand and gazed upon the sight of Mordor and Sauron with the intent of liberating the land from Evil. In order to do that Talion and Celebrimbor decide to do the only logical thing to counter Sauron… they forge a new ring of power and start controlling massive armies of Orcs, and other foul beings. Nothing says fight fire with fire then two huge evil armies clashing on the battlefield.
That’s right, compared to Shadow of Mordor’s relatively low-key stealth gameplay, mixed in with the occasional brawls, Shadow of War instead now goes total Dynasty Warriors. With your gathered Orc army and specialized Heroes you can storm the fort of a Region’s Overlord, and if the assault is successful then you’ll conquer the area, and a “hero” within your army will rule that part of the land.
There seems to be some minimalistic way of controlling land, and an in-game economy will be a part of the overall gameplay for Shadow of War, but as of yet not much has been revealed. The game map is now broken up into several regions, and the preview only showed one type of gameplay which is part of the endgame. So, whether Shadow of War is the truly open world is yet to be seen.
My dear Nemesis!
With no strings attached to the old generation, and with experience on their back, Monolith has decided to expand upon the Nemesis concept. Now you will be able to foster your hero’s relationship with other commanders within your army, and those commanders will also have their own nemesis on the battlefield. They will have their own banter against each other, and certain heroes (based on the demo conversation), might turn against Talion in the long run. It is a great way to expand upon a feature that worked in the first game, and instead of the usual streamlining the developers have decided to add depth to the concept.
The game will feature new enemies, including the Nazgul, and even will allow us to ride dragons to wreck havoc on the enemy. Each encounter according to the developers should be different per player, and should never be the same. While this is a lofty claim, the first game was able to do some of this already, but here they might be able to keep their word fully.
Regarding graphics, though, Shadow of War does not look anything super special, and while it was a “Pre-Alpha Footage,” I am worried that the lack of graphical upgrades might leave some of the bigger battles to be unimpressive. Still, the development team has time until August to work on the visuals.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War seems to be a step up in every conceivable way to its predecessor. Bigger battles, more refined Nemesis system, and a larger open world. If they can nail the graphics, then Shadow of War will be a fantastic sequel and a Game of the Year contender for 2017.
It seems to be an interesting new sequel, with loads of new ideas, instead of just streamlining it to be more accessible. Cannot wait for this one.
These might make it a success:
+ Giant armies, and battles
+ Extended Nemesis System
+ Bigger open world
These might make it a disappointment:
– Graphics are not that upgraded
– Sound design is lacking a bit
– Might become too easy and repetitive like the first game
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Monolith Productions
Genre: Action role-playing
Relase date: August 22, 2017