John Williams

After three years of development, the sequel to the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is only a few weeks away. Middle Earth: Shadow of War continues where the last game left off with the construction of a new ring of power. Your character now controls the ring and will use it to take back Mordor from Sauron. The story itself has expanded. You play as a Ranger named Talion who is bound to the spirit of Celebrimbor, an elf who created the original rings of power.  

This game takes place between the storylines of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, meaning that your character in the game will go through events never seen before, such as the transformation of Minas Ithil into Minas Morgul. You will see features from the books such as Shelob, orcs, drakes, and caragors, and you will even have boss fights with Nazgul. Besides the small glimpses in the books and movies of Mordor, it hasn’t yet been fully explored, so it is exciting that this game includes the far reaches of Mordor and a lot of places fans have yet to see. The game includes five regions with varying ecosystems, adding other fun side quests your character can do besides just exploring the never-ending system of orcs. 

The robust amount of variation between playthroughs will be the main draw for me because Monolith developed the Nemesis System, which is a game model that has enemies react, and change overtime depending on your actions. They also added a fun feature in Shadow of Mordor that allows you to transfer your best orc follower and your orc nemesis to the new Shadow of War game. I love creating these bonds and relationships between enemies and allies. They have also added fortresses, which are giant assaults in which you build your orc army, and storm the fortresses to take the area from Sauron. To do this, a player can take many different actions, such as infiltrating the base with spies or just beating down the door. Either way, it is up to the player to win or lose. Losing is part of the game as a main feature is that Talion cannot die, so the player must learn from their mistakes to win next time. 

Players can now customize Talion’s appearance, and give him one of a dozen different available combinations of skills available to mix. 

I am a huge fan of the books and the first game, so I have had Shadow of War preordered for the Xbox One, for about a year. It seems that Monoloith has really listened to the critics of Shadow of Mordorin order to create what I think will be one of the best games of the year. Shadow of War will be available Oct. 10, 2017.