Fans have been waiting for over two and a half years to make their return trip to Mordor, and with the first look at Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, it’s looking like Tolkien die-hards will have their patience rewarded.
Monolith Productions revealed a sixteen-minute gameplay walkthrough that shows 2014’s Shadow of Mordor was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making the land of orcs, elves, and men feel like a sprawling land that is truly alive.
Back again and spearheading Shadow of War is the mechanic that made the first game so beloved by its fans – the Nemesis System.
In the first title, the system fleshed out enemies that protagonist, Talion, fought head-to-head. No longer was it a mass of nameless orcs that the player mercilessly tore through, but enemy characters that were unique to each individual. The level of procedurally generated conflicts allowed gamers to become invested in the quest at hand, and not see the orcs on screen merely as a collection of pixels, but as a true nemesis in every sense of the word.
In Shadow of War, the nemesis system expands well beyond just enemies. The game introduces new ways for players to experience Middle-Earth through its stories of “loyalty, betrayal, and friendship.” Players will be able to customize the leadership within their armies as orcs under your command can rise through the ranks just like enemies did for Sauron in the first game. No two playthroughs will be alike, as all war chiefs are completely procedurally generated and tailored to the player’s choices.
Another new feature in the sequel is the introduction of fortresses. As Talion takes on and defeats overlords and war chiefs, he will seize control of the regions they oversee. Conquering the fortresses grants the player region-based rewards including “experience, loot, new followers, and resources.” Each fort can then be used as a home base to be ran by an orc leader of the player’s choosing. Orcs bring with them unique region-specific benefits such as necromancy, beast-mastery, and resource pillaging.
Many of Talion’s wraith abilities from the first game return including his teleportation takedowns, possessions, and mount-control (now with drake riding!). Players will have several options for engaging in combat, with stealth once again being a very beneficial strategy. Talion can also fight enemies head-on if desired by using destructive pieces of the environment.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War releases August 22nd in North America and August 25th in the UK for PC, Xbox One, and the PS4.
Can you stand the long wait until August finally arrives? Can the ambitious new additions to the Nemesis System live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments!