Monday, October 16, 2017

Shadow of War - Not So Obscure Game Review

Okay, so the sequel to Shadow of Mordor is out in the wild, and I'm sure a few, if not dozens of you are wondering what my take on this it. Weeeeeeell.

It's a fun game, but don't take my word for it, let's immediately jump into my patent pending Pros and Cons!


  • Slicing and Dicing. There are two kinds of gamers in this world when it comes to the "Assassin's Creed/Arkham Asylum" type combat engines. Those who love it and those who hate it. If you like it, well, this is a decent use of it. If you hate it, maybe you should just move this one to the 'cons' file, because this game isn't the one that will change your mind.
  • Shelob's Hot Now. Yup. They made Shelob the creepy spider into a hot seer. I am sure this was totally done with forethought and intelligent story design in mind rather than simply to make a scantily clad female character to entice adolescent gamers. She does drive the story a fair bit, and she's less egregiously bouncy than many examples of this in other games, so I let it slide.
  • Being Fearsome. There are some points in the game where you become genuinely satisfied with how terrifying Talion/Celebrimbor can become. The cutscene after the arena, in particular, jumps to mind as a high point of the game, where you get to maniacally laugh as enemies flee in terror.

  • Cutscen'd. On the other hand, some of the story development happens in a manner that feels slightly high-handed to the player. Feeling satisfied by the progress and choices you made in the last game, don't worry, something outside your control will make Talion powerless again so you have to start over. Think you did a particularly good job sneaking? Don't worry, a scripted boss will still spot you so all of it was for nothing. 
  • Chekov's Gun. Some of the foreshadowing gets pretty heavy. You know my stance on this.
  • Is this a romance? Seriously, I couldn't tell. Will someone who knows fill me in?
I feel like this game came out a little bit ahead in the pros/cons, as I really had to scramble to make it 3/3. There are a lot of cathartic moments in Shadow of War, but it falls to each player to decide whether they ultimately make up for graphics and technical execution that seem to be catching a lot of flack on the internet.

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