The follow up to 2014's Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War doesn't stray too far from what the original game had to offer, but is still fresh enough to keep you interested. From the enhanced Nemesis System which is a great mechanic that's gotten even better, to the, well... not so great loot boxes.
It's a fantastically enjoyable game - fast-paced, fluid and fun. The combat is entertaining - stealth kills are great - and the ability to just scramble up and over buildings far better than Assassin's Creed has ever managed, really kept us addicted and coming back for more. The upgraded Nemesis System, which now includes the ability to track your own Orc army. You can issue orders to your Orc leaders: want that enemy dead? Send someone to assassinate them. Want them to train up and improve? Give'm a Training Order.
Another thing we really enjoyed was just watching enemies fight against each other, battling to the death in the Nemesis System. You can see as some get stronger and continually improve, which is an incentive to go against them or try to recruit them somehow.
When traversing the world, sometimes an assassin will come to kill you which is a nice touch, just like you'd send one of your Orcs out to assassinate someone on your behalf too.
The story wasn't the greatest, but still enjoyable. The good thing about these games is that you don't need to be a hardcore Lord of the Rings fan to enjoy them. Sure, having some knowledge of LOTR is good and will allow you to easily recognize things, but even if you were to have no previous interest in Tolkien's universe, you can still have a great time with Shadow of War.
Definitely loved the various mounts you can utilise also. There's the ones from the first game of course, but this time round we also have the Drakes. It makes it way more fun to travel around when on a mount, and sometimes you'll just lose yourself roaming around in the stunning open world.
The biggest let-down of the game is that to get the True Ending, you pretty much need to pay extra in the way of Loot Boxes to do so. Adding in Loot Boxes just seems like so much of a cash-grab this time round. I don't mind when Loot Boxes are there for things you'd naturally get anyway, but when it's either grinding an ungodly amount of time, or pay... then that's just pretty shitty. Taking away the Loot Boxes would not have been a bad thing at all, so it feels like adding them was just completely unnecessary.
Shadow of War could have so easily been a 9/10 for us, but sadly the inclusion of the Loot Boxes brings it down to an 8/10.
Have you played Middle-Earth: Shadow of War yet? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!
- V x