I had the opportunity to play about 20ish minutes of Middle-earth: Shadow of War while at E3 2017 this year. While I did see some of the new things coming to Shadow of War, it definitely felt like more of the same. And, for me at least, that’s a good thing.
The abilities seemed to be expanded, and while I can’t remember them all in detail, everything you remember from Shadow of Mordor is there like executions, an area of effect attack, and more. Each one in Shadow of War has three different upgrades, which can offer some great variety. Some might be as simple as choosing between upgrading to fire, ice, or a poison attack, or it could be as dramatic as changing a caragor (a horse-ish sized beast you can ride) to a large troll you can mount and smash around with.
Other than that, I tried out the siege against a fortress. The new nemesis system features an overlord at the top of a fortress, his warchiefs, and then the many other named enemies below all vying for power. Each of the warchiefs offers some sort of benefit during a siege, and you have the chance to deny your enemy that benefit by taking out the warchief before you begin a siege. This may take away a certain type of enemy during a siege of that fortress you won’t have to deal with later.
Sieges feature you, your own warchiefs, and an army storming a fortress full of enemies. It is on quite a scale, chaotic, and extremely satisfying. You can wait until your armies break through walls and gates or head on in yourself to wreak havoc. Before you go in, you can choose your warchiefs and each of their own individual upgrades, like choosing what sort of pack of units you may have to send towards your enemy. This offers a decent amount of strategy, or so it seems, as some units you can use are better for siege, others are good against beasts, and more.
Once you get into the siege part, it’s just chaos, and in a good way. Your units and enemy units are clashing all around you, trolls are smashing around, mounted units are running at each other, arrows are flying all over the place, all while trying to take control of some control points to take over the fortress. Once you get them all, you can head take on the overlord. If you can succeed at killing them, the fortress is yours.
One thing I noticed while playing was the difficulty of Shadow of War. I was getting the crap beat out of me, where I thought I was pretty good in my skills after my time with Shadow of Mordor. Whether that’s just me being rusty or Shadow of War offering some more difficulty, I’m not sure.
In any case, Shadow of War seems to be more of the same just on a grander scale, the chaos and action taken up a notch. I really enjoyed Shadow of Mordor and if you did as well, I can’t imagine you’ll hate Shadow of War.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.