The Middle Earth: Shadow of War gameplay teaser has revealed how the upcoming title from Warner Bros. Games will expand on what fans know from its predecessor. Keep in mind, though, that the gameplay shown was from the alpha version, which is far from finished.
This possibly indicates an upgrade in graphics later on, as the visuals look almost identical to those in Shadow of Mordor. What was shown, on a technical level, is not only impressive but could draw in an even larger crowd from the game’s Lord of the Rings fan base. Admittedly, the first game even drew an audience who found it hard to sit through a three-hour movie with multiple endings. It was just more fun to play the story than to watch it.
The first game introduced us to Talion, a Ranger who had lost not only his family but his own life, guarding the gate when the overwhelming might of the Black Hand came to claim it. The reason he still breathes is due to an unexpected alliance with a mysterious elf spirit who came to realize his true identity alongside Talion in Shadow of Mordor. His name was Celebrimbor, an elvin blacksmith who had forged Sauron’s ring of power and inadvertently become the hero figure to a fallen Hobbit named Gollum.
In the new game, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, gameplay doesn’t seem to have changed much. If anything, much of the powers you earned prior to taking down the Black Hand have returned. There allegedly won’t be another Assassin’s Creed moment where one big attack somehow makes you lose everything, including the ability to climb faster, like what happened in Brotherhood.
It’s unknown yet if the abilities shown off in the 16-minute gameplay teaser will be what you start with or re-learned early in the game. As the original teaser showed, the forging of the new ring of power temporarily separated Celebrimbor from Talion, which appears to be part of a new skill you can learn. In some fights, it appears that the two can separate to perform teamwork kills against even larger enemies.
One of the most popular ideas in Shadow of Mordor was using the Nemesis system to forge your own army of orc leaders, which helped in the final battle. Now, you will be able not only to “brand” orc leaders but lead them and their followers into an all-out war. You will need to choose from your leaders who will rule the strongholds and such when you take them over in the effort to turn back the tide of evil spreading over Middle Earth.
Adding to these armies are all-new creatures you can tame, such as drakes, to take on monsters who dwarf even the graug. Players might even see a fight with a balrog, which was one of the most epic moments from the film trilogy, making Gandalf one of the most cemented figures in fantasy history.
Returning is a gameplay element which had originally been a glitch in Mordor: Orcs return from the dead to get their revenge on Talion. This wasn’t intentional, but the developers had decided to work with the glitch and make it an element driving each unique playthrough.
IGN has brought up an interesting idea that could become part of the new game. Your nemesis from the original game could be imported into the new one, giving those who played Shadow of Mordor a slight head start. Monolith Productions creative vice president Michael de Plater had told Games Radar that they weren’t saying anything about it yet. He didn’t say no outright.
This could mean that they’re working on it and it might not be worth the time to include in the end. After all, the Shadow of War release date is set for August 22 in North America.
[Featured Image by Warner Bros. Games]