Shadow of Mordor was one of the standout games of 2014.
Fast forward three years and the sequel, Shadow of War, builds on everything that made the original so great – namely stunning visuals, refined combat and the ingenious Nemesis system.
Picking up from where the last game left off, you continue the story of ranger Talion and the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor, who shares Talion’s body.
They’re trying to forge a new Ring of Power to build an army to fight the evil Sauron – or, as some know him, the big yellow eye.
Here’s why Shadow of War is definitely worth a look.
Shadow of War boasts the same fighting system as the last game – which is no bad thing.
It’s remarkably similar to the acclaimed Batman: Arkham series – single-button chained combos blended with timed counters, throws and finishing moves.
Enemies will swarm you, but with a bit of practice you can walk away unscathed from a 20 versus one scenario.
Leap of faith
Thankfully, Talion doesn’t take any damage when he falls. This certainly comes in handy given how vertical parts of the huge game area are.
You’ll leap across rooftops, climb up mountains – where many games discourage exploration by implementing invisible walls, Shadow of War encourages it.
There are multiple ways to take down targets – from using your bow and sniping from afar, to sneaking up and taking them down with a dagger.
Shadow of War is a seriously good looking game – whether you’re playing on Xbox or PS4.
The world is brighter and more diverse compared with the last game – with lusher landscapes, pin-sharp foliage and plenty of light.
A depth of field effect helps make for some stunning views, with a slight ‘blur’ on distant fortresses and objects to create a more realistic image.
Enemies are well-detailed, more so than the other friendly NPCs that jump in and help during battles.
Ork captains and Warlords look especially impressive when the camera zooms in on them before a duel.
For those after a true 4K experience, opt for the Ps4 Pro version.
However, if you’re after the very best experience, Shadow of War needs to be played on PC.
There’s a plethora of graphics options available – which scale well depending on what GPU you have.
Nvidia‘s brilliant, if pricey, 1080Ti, for example, would gobble up nearly every setting cranked up to Ultra at 4K with room to spare. But if you’re rocking a 1060 or equivalent, you’ll still be able to crank up most things to the max and not suffer from a choppy framerate.
Anti-aliasing, depth of field and ambient occlusion are just some of the other graphics options available for PC.
The Nemesis system was the best thing about the last game.
It allows you to build an army of Captains, Warchiefs, and Overlords to help you take down Sauron.
This time, you can acquire characters called Followers, whose behaviour is shaped by how the you interact with them.
Just like in the last game, if one of your allies kills another high-ranking enemy, they’ll get promoted.
Similarly, if a lesser ranked enemy kills you, they’ll get promoted and could soon become a serious threat.
It’s also a great source of intel to find out enemy weaknesses and, should you need to, plan attacks.
A detailed ability tree, which allows you to tinker with finishing moves and upgrade weapons, helps you negotiate the relatively steep difficulty curve.
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