Middle-earth: Shadow of War review by FreddyFish
Middle-earth: Shadow of War review by FreddyFish
Welcome to my review of Middle-earth: Shadow of War reviewed by FreddyFish
The short review, for people that are not into reading:
Do you like Lord of the rings? Go ahead and buy it. Do you Like Assassin's Creed? Go ahead and buy it. Do you get butthurt over nonintrusive microtransactions? Then probably this is not the place for you. 😋
And now for the review!
If you've ever played Shadow of Mordor, you most likely have a general idea of what to expect here. Superhuman wraith powers with Assassin's Creed like movement (mostly). However, there are some important additions here that really add a lot to the whole "Push one button to run, jump, climb, cook dinner, etc" formula. A particular move in here includes a 'double' jump that adds an extra layer of precision on top of the semi-automated parkour. While it may not sound like much, it adds a dynamic that makes you feel like you're doing something engaging, rather than just holding forward and spacebar.
A variety of new moves were added that creates extremely satisfying moments, like aerial bow sharpshooting, which looks awesome and feels awesome to do. While there are a ton of extra additions, there are some caveats that I feel we're almost a regression in a way. The execution move is no longer tied directly to your combo meter. Instead, you have to build up a second bar called "Wrath", which then allows you to unlock the ability to execute. While I understand the mentality most likely was to prevent spamming executions, the Orcs now can adapt to moves you use repeatedly, so is it not redundant to throttle them? It's not a horrible change, just a questionable one.
The map is separated into sections, cutting off the somewhat open-world aspect that we saw in the previous title, but this is, in my opinion, better. Free roam games have taken the market by storm lately, but lack the substance and variety you'd find in games such as this. While it is free roam, it isn't just one giant map that some bloke made in Blender out of a plane using some topology tools. The different areas that are presented to us include a wide variety of environments, making each one feel refreshing when you travel to them. Also, the new fast travel locations are spread about thoughtfully, yet sparingly around the map. You won't always be able to fast travel directly next to your destination, but hey, that's why you spent your skill points on those movement perks, right? Maybe brand some Captains on the way there? A little bit of travel time isn't an issue in this game.
Seeing the reception for this one is a strange one for me. I feel the game looks great (Note: I haven't tried out the HD texture pack as of writing this). I have seen a few complaints about recycled animations and whatnot, but it seems like nitpicking at best, whining at worst. Yes, some animations were present in the first game, but we're also playing as the same character as before. What, are Talion and Celebrimbor going to completely change their attacks just because of a new game? That's like saying Goku shouldn't use the Kamehameha for more than one episode.😅 The animations never looks bad, to begin with, so it's definitely not the issue everyone makes it out to be.
Also, watching all the characters interact with each other, from Graug's duking it out with each other to Captains having a scuffle, it all looks very organic. The animations are fluid and quite honestly sets the bar for how seamless characters should interact with each other visually.
I can't say a lot about the story, as I do not like to spoil stuff. Play the game yourself, as the story is really good. But what i can say is that the story is absolutely a step above its predecessor.
Micro transactions - Yes, we need to talk about this!
If you are seriously so upset about the fact you can pay to speed up game progress in a primarily single player game, you need to get your priorities straight. During my time playing, I never found the microtransactions to be overly intrusive, and have not myself taken part in them. Is it a questionable business tactic? Sure. Want to make a statement? Don't complain and moan about it, just don't buy anything from the store. It shouldn't be your reason for disliking this amazing game, as some people have been doing. 😒
Framerate wise, the game has run perfectly at 60fps for me on Ultra, however, I did have a rather strange issue. When I first booted up the game the cutscenes and audio were all playing as if they were an old VHS tape on fast forward. After some tinkering with my audio setting,s I found the solution was to drop the quality of your primary audio device down to 48000 Hz. I don't notice a difference in quality, and the game now works properly, so that's something I don't particularly have positive or negative feelings for. Seems odd to have the issue, but it's not impossible to fix.
Overall I would give this game a 7/10
And as I said in my short review,
If you like LOTR and AC, you will definitely enjoy this game as well.
The game is great and I feel like it was money well spent at full price.
And that's it for Middle-earth: Shadow of War!
I really enjoyed making this review, and I have put a lot of work into this, so...!
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