This afternoon after playing a bit of Horizon: Zero Dawn and finishing off the edits for the most recent podcast I allowed myself to go onto the internet and see what was new in the world of video games to get excited about and I was not disappointed.
Yes, the good folks over at Monolith studios have deemed us worthy to receive a morsel of gameplay from their upcoming Middle Earth: Shadow of War, the sequel to Shadow of Mordor (Which I will now refer to as SoW and SoM respectively). Since it’s “Leak” a little over a week ago my mind/the internet has been boggling with what new stuff the game will bring to the series, thankfully the new gameplay that’s been released is choc-a-bloc with all manner of good stuff for us to mull over. First off here is the gameplay for your viewing pleasure.
1. Owning Your Own Little Bit of Mordor
Housing prices in Mordor aren’t what they used to be. Following an influx of less than desirable orc neighbours and an ever so troublesome Dark Lord to contend with, most choose to move into more stable areas such as The Shire or far away from active volcanos. Thankfully this leaves the way open for you to aggressively take over your own little bit of Mordor through the use of violent negotiating tactics such laying siege to castles.
Yes, it would appear that SoW will have a new focus on taking and holding fortresses to extend your power throughout the lands of Mordor. Doing so looks to be a bloody affair and will call upon Talion and Celebrimbor to raise an army of Orcs (or Uruks if you insist on calling them that in the game) to smash down the gates and lay waste to everything inside. These sieges will act as flash points to your own narrative with multiple big name Orcs from your nemesis system (NS) coming out to play on both sides of the conflict.
2. The Uruks Have Friends now.
With the sequel comes a whole bunch of new things to do with the nemesis system for you machiavellian monsters to play around with. From planting spies in enemy camps to having special commanders lead the charge in battle, the amount of variety in your Orcish friends has grown tremendously. Vendettas will grow between commanders who meet in battle, rivalries will grow in your own ranks as commanders vie for your praise. Friendships will blossom between them, leading to who knows where (My money is Shadow of Love to be the next sequel and to just be dating sim for Orcs.)
3. Slaughtering Uruks and looking good doing it.
One thing the first game in the series felt to be lacking was a having little in the way of character customisation. Outside of the rune system for the various weapons, Talion used you couldn’t really alter the way the game played. Thankfully with SoW comes an expanded range of RPG-like systems to give you more say on how you play and look. The only thing that changes during the video is the chest piece Talion wears after he loots one off a dead Uruk Nemesis. Looking at the menus used during that change is shows the potential for a range of stuff to equip from helms and upgrades for your ring. Not sure if there will be much in the way of weapon customisation outside of an expanded rune system, so don’t expect Talion to start wielding Uruk cleavers instead of his rather awesome longsword.
4. Welp, that is a Dragon all right.
Or is it a Drake/Wyvern/Fell Beast/School Children in an elaborate overcoat? Whatever that fire breathing bugger is I want one. I want to fly around Sauron’s Tower while smack talking him and his mother while my Orc boys bellow chant songs from the Best of Men at Work. Will this happen? I have my doubts but it would be a cool thing to do. DLC maybe? I was never the biggest fan of the mounts in SoM, I tended to just possess them and let them go about their own thing.
5. So there is an open world, right?
One thing that isn’t covered in the gameplay at all is the open world of the game. That’s no bad thing to be honest since we’ve all played enough open world games to know what’s what in that scenario. Still, it would have been nice to get some detail on it in the next few gameplay dumps that will surely follow. My guess is there won’t be too much different from the first game in terms of what you can do in them. I doubt for instance there will be much of a human element outside of scripted story missions. Which suits me just fine because the worse parts of SoM were the other humans/Dwarves.
So there are a few things that have got me excited for Shadow of War. How about you? What are you looking forward to or do you have so reservations about the game, why not leave a comment below….. Or above….. or somewhere? DO IT.