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Middle Earth: Shadow of War Gameplay Reveal, Expanding On The Best Parts Of The First Game

On Sunday, I posted my review of the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor in preparation for the announced sequel Shadow of War.  If you missed my review, you can find that here. Yesterday, the game’s Youtube channel released a 16 minute gameplay walkthrough for the game. Check it out below!

The biggest differences between Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War so far:

  • A Grander Sense of Size And Scope– This is pretty much par for the course when it comes to sequels in any medium, but the differences in scope from the original title are startling. While the maps in the first game were sizeable, there were only two (Udûn and Núrn), giving the game a more confined feel. With Shadow of War, you’ll be jumping around a map with more unique biomes and locations. Fans of Peter Jackson’s film franchise should recognize some of them. From this video alone I recognized Osgiliath(the ruined Gondorian capital), Minas Morgul(The Tower of Dark Sorcery, The Dead City, lair of the witch king), and Gorgoroth(the fiery planes near Mount Doom).
  • Seige Gameplay- One of the coolest parts about the Lord of The Rings franchise is the epic, large-scale battles between feuding armies. It seems that the development team over at Monolith Productions has tapped into that core part of the franchise and brought it to life in their game. While there was an element of army building in the original title, it was nowhere close to the size and scale we see here.
  • Talion Is Now A Ring Bearer– Despite being an undead Gondorian ranger and sharing a body with a wraith, I found Talion to be a dreadfully boring protagonist. Celebrimbor(the wraith of a long dead elven lord) always outshone him. Talion becoming a ring bearer explains away why he has so many additional abilities and why he can influence orcs on a larger scale. It also makes sense if you’ve played the original game and find out certain things about certain people(no spoilers in case new people want to play the first game). We’ll have to see if this improves on the story at all though.
  • New Abilities And Deeper Customization– Talion has some new tools to slaughter orcs with, in the form of new abilities and executions. Monolith seems to have embraced a little bit more of the role playing game aspect as well, giving Talion new armor and equipment to play with. No word yet if modding weapons will still be in the game or how the ability tree will work.
  • Flying Mounts– One of the cooler wraith abilities Talion wielded in the first game was the ability to dominate and control the local wildlife in Mordor. Continuing with this tradition, Monolith has added drakes to the game, hinting at aerial combat and additional siege tactics.  
  • An Expanded Nemesis System– The most innovative feature within the original game, the Nemesis system created a living, breathing orc society that reacted to a player’s in-game actions. Shadow of War aims to expand on that concept by allowing players to create more dynamic relationships with friend and foe alike. 

I was honestly floored by what I saw in the gameplay trailer and if this game can deliver on its promises, Monolith Productions will have created a new way to approach the open world genre. I have a feeling the Nemesis system is something that will be imitated and continually evolved, which can only mean good things for gamers everywhere.

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