When it came to the previous game in the series, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, the biggest takeaway was the Nemesis System. A way of creating unique antagonists that the player would go up against in their journey. Every player would have their own stories and their own enemies to fight. In the sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, it seems not only have Monolith Productions doubled down on this system, they have also greatly expanded on it.
In a sixteen-minute gameplay demo that was released, the ways in which this game, Middle-earth: Shadow of War expands on the features of the first game are explained.
The gameplay demo starts off by showing the different regions of the world. The player will have to try and conquer these regions as they play through the game. Whereas in the first game you had your hierarchy of enemies that you had to face, it seems now each of the different regions has their very own hierarchy you’ll have to defeat to take the region.
As we see the player attempt to take a fortress in one of the regions, it shows the many ways the Nemesis System has been expanded. Now the player’s allies will also be unique as they build up their army throughout the game. As they attack the fortress the player must fight an orc who was previously part of their army but has now betrayed you. An event like this will be unique to each player, with Monolith describing these types of things as “epic personal stories”.
The fast fluid mix of Assassins Creed and the Batman Arkham games is still present with some new abilities. It seems the player must take different points as they make their way through the fortress. When the first point is taken by defeating the first orc war chief, the player’s army can storm the fort leading to a huge battle with multiple NPCs on screen.
As the player makes their way through the fortress, the previously defeated enemy war chief reappears. An ally then appears to save the player from the war chief wanting revenge on his former rival in your forces. The promise is that these types of events will all be unique to the player allowing for tales of revenge and friendship. Just how unique only time will tell. We also get a look at the expanded RPG elements as the player gets to pick up a new set of armor. Next, as the assault continues one of the players own war chiefs is killed. The way the demo plays out, it’s hard to tell whether this is avoidable or has to happen, though there might be a way to save them in the final game.
After the player sneaks around the side, they take a quick ride on a dragon, wiping out enemies with ease. They have now defeated the forces around the fort and are ready to take on the main Overlord. Due to how the Nemesis System works, every Overlord will be unique to the player, and now even things like the throne room where you battle the Overlord will be customized to the fit them. As the fight ensues the player calls in one of their allies to help in the boss fight.
After the Overlord is defeated, the fort and region now belong to the player. This grants you resources, new followers, experience, and loot. Now you can implement your own hierarchy of allies and pick one to be the new Overlord, each of these allies will have different abilities, allowing for some strategy when picking who will have the fort.
In theory, the way this mission played out will be different for everyone playing it due to the expanded Nemesis System. When Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor first came out, the Nemesis System was a refreshing system that no other developer has really attempted. It will be interesting to see if all the expansions do really make for truly unique stories of individual players.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War is due to come out August 22 this year on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.
What do you think of this new expanded Nemesis System? Doesi t m ake you interested in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War? Let us know in the comments below!