It’s been out a couple of years, but I’m finally starting Shadow of War.
When Shadow of Mordor was released in 2014, I had a riot. Honestly, I bought it on the Xbox 360, arguably the worst version of them all. Textures not loading was incredibly noticeable, but I just didn’t care.
A cross between the Arkham games and Assassin’s Creed mixed together with some gore and the wealthy lore from the Lord of the Rings universe. What’s not to love?
Thrown into the mix was the innovative “nemesis system” and that just set Shadow of Mordor apart, in the best way.
Suddenly, things were getting personal with the enemy. If a minion managed to get that final blow on you mid-fight, they’d suddenly become a captain, promoted for their victory. With that came titles, increased abilities and quite a lot of banter from them.
Seeing these enemies get stronger, and sometimes kill you again, only to find themselves improving over and over. Was fascinating. They were harder to take down, and they were throwing shade at every opportunity. Hell, sometimes they would come and find you to get you again.
Add a duo of protagonists, Talion and Celebrimbor (the guy who created the nine rings) and then some tragedy at the beginning, and you were compelled to move forwards. Revenge against Sauron is the core driver, but damn, I pushed on to just get those captains and their kin.
So, yeah, I loved Shadow of Mordor.
When Shadow of War was released, I wasn’t particularly enthused, and I’m not sure why. It was quite well received, critically, apart from the use of in-game purchases to help you progress. I just wasn’t fussed.
Well, thanks to the incresingly excellent Xbox Gamepass, and some free 1 month codes, I’m able to dive in for free!
Shadow of War
So here we are, a sequel to a game that I loved. Released in 2017, I’m now only just getting around to play it, but I’m honestly really excited.
Starting off with the creation of a brand new ring (a bit of a smack in the face when considering the rarity of the original nine……if it was so easy to just create a new one, why not just do that before?). Talion is suddenly seperated from Celebrimbor, but has the ring.
Of course, this all goes sideways very quickly, and now I’m ring-less, but back with Celebrimbor.
Now, though, it’s war.
Some brief tutorial missions (I needed those!), and we’re in the throes of creating nemeses, taking towers, levelling-up and basically casuing chaos.
I’m only a few hours in, but I’ve been loving my time back in this particular universe. It feels a littl sluggish by more modern standards, and playing Breath of the Wild alongside this makes me realise how dreary the colour palette is, and how much more responsive the controls could be.
I’m not writing about Zelda though, this is the first in a few parts about Shadow of War.
It’s shaping up to be another brutal romp in the non-canon Lord of the Rings universe, and I’m already making enemies.
This is shaping-up to be a good time.
This is going to be more like my older reviews, with two or three pieces about a game. Different focuses, dependant on how far in I am.
Next I’ll be looking at story, audio, visuals and how compelled I feel to continue through any potential slump. Open-world games invariably go one of two ways, keep the pace up, but end too quick. Or have a long second-act and drag it out a little too long.
As it stands, I’m diving back in full-force and seeing where the game takes me. It’s good to be back!