Developer: Monolith Productions
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Genres: Action, Adventure, RPG
Published by: WB Games
Middle-earth: Shadow of War centres around a third person RPG set in a world of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The majority of the gameplay is based on leveling up Talion, your character, and building up his experience points which in turn leads to solving missions and becoming more powerful. It has all the hallmarks of an RPG but a superb combat system and well designed open worlds with lots to do with lots of fighting and stealth play.
It’s reminiscent of an Assassin’s Creed game, as you get to scale huge buildings and structures as well as using (elven) parkour. Even though I’d class it as a RPG it borrows heavily from the platform parkour style of the Assasin’s Creed games to good effect. The combat is great fun that requires you to change your fighting style and approach depending on your foe. It’s one the most impressive aspects of the game play. It’s supplemented by leveling up, as you level up and your character progresses you will have more ways to fight. Learning of curve is well balanced with players requiring little time in getting up and running but more effort to be an expert.There is real emphasis on fantastic combat mixed with a solid RPG and a platformer.
There is lots to appreciate and that only scratches the surface. The much touted Nemesis system in Shadow of War will generate enemies based on your previous encounters with bosses and enemies. Their fighting styles will adapt based on you how play the game and you how to interact with them, this leads to a huge amount of variation in combat.
The visual and audio is slick, level design and the open world design is all what you expect. Maps have enough tasks, side missions and random events dispersed throughout to keep your attention. It makes traversing the maps not seem tedious which occurs in many other games. Too many empty fields and lots of travelling with not action.
The downsides, some may find the game repetitive, as there are a lot of similar battles, repetivie parkour and the story isn’t as strong as you would expect. Gameplay is heavily based on big battles, stealth killing and running up and down of buildings, if you have been playing an Assassin Creed game lately, this may put you over the edge.
I did find the game great fun,I did love the action and platform elements of the game. The RPG elements, gathering gear and items were on the whole well done. It’s a solid game with lots to do and see but could have done with a better more immersive story. In terms of gameplay it’s not revolutionary but borrows well from multiple genres.