Every year there should be a great hack and slash video game. That’s just a fact! After all, some days we just have to kill things and hack them to death. Shadows of War, the sequel to Shadows of Mordor is our hack and slash game of the year. And after two weeks of playing it, I have to admit it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The game isn’t perfect and I have some minor complaints, but overall it’s a great sequel to its predecessor.

The basic story follows Talion who is still infused with the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor as they travel to Mount Doom where they will Forge a new ring of power free of sauron’s corruption. During the journey, Talion will travel to Minas Ithil and immediately comes at odds with the celebrimbor. Along the way he will help the fellow Gondorians and fight the Orcs who have taken over the Fortress. This is where the main battle action happens because you are trying to rid the Orcs of their stronghold. Since Shadows of Mordor introduced the Nemesis system when it came to RPG’s , Shadows of War expanded upon that system and did it in a lot of ways

Here are some of the new things Shadow War brought to the series. First, there’s room for more Orcs which means there will be more encounters and more opportunities for drama to unfold. Second, there’s more superficial or variety. The game is more expansive and there’s more areas to cover so of course you’re going to have a lot more variety when interacting with Orcs so that it doesn’t feel so repetitive. This is a good thing. Plus the orc traits are more varied. Third, there’s more domination interactions with the orc such as Talion can only recruit orcs are at his level or lower. Fourth, and my personal favorite touch to the game is  Orc relationships are more complex.  The Orcs aren’t just standing around waiting to kill our main character, they forge relationships and help trap you, making it harder to kill everybody and giving the player more of a challenge.  Orcs conform rivalries and there’s unique dialogue that comes with that especially when they’re adding you on to fight. This makes it very interesting when you’re targeting one org and then you have to stop and fight another one who may be a comrade of swords and defeat them. It’s fantastic gameplay, but it also leads to some of my complaints.

It’s true, as Gamers we like a different Challenge and not to have to feel like we’ve played this game before. And in that regard, I feel like Shadows of War does a good job, but great hack and slash game where you just want to kill things and not always have to worry about the challenge. When your Orcs are setting traps and making it hard to complete your task and can get annoying very quickly especially when it’s hard to kill them. While I like a bit of strategy, sometimes I just want to kill things and I should be able to stand above and kill them with arrows which I can’t in this game. Sure, it seems like it’s a small complaint, but some days you don’t want to have to worry about all the strategy and you just want to h to kill things. That’s where I think For Honor got it right. However Shadows of War is a grander story so That’s the difference between just a straight hack and slash game compared to a full role playing game with lots of action. With Shadows of War you get the best of both worlds.

While I do complain a little bit about the strategy and being able to kill some of these Orcs even on the easy level, it doesn’t mean that the gameplay isn’t great. It does force you to rethink your strategy a little bit. Sometimes it’s annoying, but most of the time that’s a good thing in a game.  Shadows of War is very much like its predecessor where the gameplay is fantastic and handles itself very well. They definitely have improved upon the Nemesis system. It’s a gorgeous game, especially when Gondor is under siege, which might be a weird thing to say, but the overall look has a cinematic feel to it.

This game is not perfect, but my complaints shouldn’t deter fans of this series from buying it. We always ask ourselves if the game is worth $60…Shadows of war is definitely worth the price and it’s not a game that will not be completed very easily or quickly. It’s a great game, a great combat system, it will give you the Hack and Slash fighting game that you’re looking for,  and most importantly gives you a rich story especially if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan.  This is one of my favorite games of the year. The last 2 weeks I’ve certainly been fun. So I know what you’re wondering, should you go out and buy this game…yes.

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