Bonus Round: Middle Earth – Shadow of War

Middle Earth: Shadow of War is the anticipated sequel to 2014’s Shadow of Mordor.  Set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the game continues the story of Talion, a ranger from Gondor, and the elven spirit possessing him, Celebrimbor, as they travel across Middle Earth fighting the forces of Sauron and building an army to stand against him.

Like the first game, it’s heavily stylized and inspired by Peter Jackson’s cinematic version of Middle Earth, but includes its own take on Tolkien’s lore. Shelob, for example, is now a sexy spider lady instead of just a spider. Because why not?

While there is still an emphasis on hack-and-slash action in Shadow of War, there’s now a bigger focus on RPG-like aspects.  Gear determines how strong Talion is, and as you defeat more powerful enemies, you’ll gain access to better gear. The Nemesis System, the hallmark mechanic of the series, returns and goes even deeper than the first game.  Dominated nemeses will alter their behavior to Talion throughout the game, and will become more loyal or disloyal depending on how they’re treated. Treat your minions nicely, and they’ll lend a hand  in your hour of need. Treat them poorly, they’ll leave you to die or even betray you and return to Sauron. The Nemesis System makes Shadows of War stand out from other action RPGs, and players are already talking about their favorite orc rivals and allies.

What have been your memorable moments in Shadow of War?  Is there another game you’d like to see the Nemesis System appear in? Let us know in the comments below.

About Matt 37 Articles
Matthew Schlotfeldt is a host for the Line Cutters, and resident video game expert. He’s not sure whether that’s something to be proud or ashamed of. He can be reached on Twitter at @PunkBoy412.