There's big trouble in big Mordor again as Middle-earth: Shadow of War continues the struggle of Talion and the ghostly wraith Celebrimbor against the Dark Lord.
The game's official announcement was made just last month but already it's got fans of the original Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor very excited. One of the key reasons Monolith Productions' creation has done so well is because of the Nemesis system.
North America - August 22nd, 2017
Europe - August 25th, 2017
Middle-earth: Shadow of War launches on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Taking place just after the conclusion of the original game, Talion is now deep behind enemy lines in Mordor having fought his way to Mount Doom with the wraith Celebrimbor to forge a new Ring of Power. Now the former captain of Gondor will be raising his own army from within the ranks of the Dark Lord Sauron's own subjects to combat his plans of conquest beyond the Black Gate.
"Go behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer Fortresses and dominate Mordor from within. Experience how the award-winning Nemesis System creates unique personal stories with every enemy and follower, and confront the full power of the Dark Lord Sauron and his Ringwraiths in this epic new story of Middle-earth."
A big shake-up for the sequel is the inclusion of lootable gear with some fancy armour sets available by defeating key foes. An example would be the Rohirrim Armor earned from killing Thrak Storm-Bringer in the 16 minute gameplay walkthrough shown below. We'll get to customise Talion a lot more with superior gear. In Shadow of Mordor the emphasis was on upgrading Talion's weapons with runes.
Much like the original game, Shadow of War mixes visceral and gore-heavy combat with special abilities Talion possesses because of his unique aversion to staying dead. You gradually improve what special moves and combos you can unleash on foes as your increase in levels and unlock new skills. Certain enemies are resistant to specific attacks or styles of approach and require you to adapt to exploit a weakness or fear.
Mounted combat plays a bigger role thanks to the huge changes in Shadow of War where it's not just Talion storming into fortifications and taking on the big egos of Warchiefs but actually leading an army of his own. Counter attacks and dodging still play a large role in the minute-to-minute hacking through orc ranks, coupled with your wraith abilities.
We'll also get to fly thanks to mountable drakes (dragons) and possibly other creatures. Sauron's Ringwraiths are going to be a major force to contend with so it makes sense we can battle them in the skies.
Nemesis - Foes & Friends
The burning hatred and even mockery your foes would develop for you depending on your actions, successes and failures against them returns but even bigger than before. Instead of just applying to major figures within Sauron's army, the Nemesis system has been expanded to include Fortresses. Shadow of War is about conquering Mordor to stop the Dark Lord's rise so major battles (like those in the films) now feature throughout.
The Nemesis system also has a flip-side where it determines what our followers are actually like and even what type of relationship they develop with Talion. They can even betray and turn into a deadly foe. When a Fortress falls to our invasion than we also start promoting within a separate hierarchy that answers to us. We must also take care to bolster defences against a counter-attack. We still get the awesome breakdown of our foes and now friends too of what their strengths and weaknesses are, as well as enjoy their sometimes utterly ridiculous names.
The orcs now also develop relationships amongst themselves. While this was explored a little in the original game - usually expressed through two rivals duelling to increase their standing - they now have the option of more positive dispositions. Monolith are investing a lot more in these orcs having their own stories, crafted from the events that befall them and your actions. They want them to have their own personalities and quirks.
Mordor And Fortresses
The world of Mordor has been greatly expanded to house all these hostile zones and their Fortresses. We no longer only get to adventure in some of the outskirts but across the entire region and even some areas in the lands of Gondor.
Monolith has designed the Fortresses to be unique to every player and aren't even set in the same layout each time. Depending on who occupies key positions of defence will determine what you'll face trying to break into these Fortresses and how it's all decorated. Overlord's sit upon their thrones as the final battle for control of zones. Our followers can actually assist in major battles or dealings with foes.
We can pick and choose which of our followers to take along on these huge battles and we'd be wise to consider those choices carefully because certain followers can counter enemy warchiefs better. A heavily armed troll for example would be great for smashing down defences and wreaking terror in enemy ranks, as would armoured mounts for dealing with fire-heavy defences.
Over 16 minutes of Alpha gameplay footage has been released showcasing the new Nemesis and Fortress system.