Thinking With Hot Ice: Middle Earth Shadow of War

Hello there, you magnificent bastards. I don’t know what you’ve been up to, but I’ve been sinking time into Middle Earth: Shadow of War. There’s been some sayings of nay about this game, and I feel the need to have my thoughts out there, because they are the correct ones. The others are wrong….and stupid.

The biggest complaint I’ve seen comes from people who enjoyed the first for a while, then say it got too “repetitive”. I’m sorry, did you want it to turn into an FPS halfway through? What game isn’t repetitive? If you mean the AESTHETICS got repetitive, I will grudgingly agree….to an extent. That game concentrated in the bowels of Mordor, which is a sparse, dark, and desolate place. The area was boring, true, but there’s kind of a reason for it. You aren’t going to get an environment resplendent with flora and fauna. BUT, if this is what you are whining about, rest assured this iteration is completely different. Not only do you have gigantic architecture in cities and fortresses, but you can run around in jungles, mountains, grassland, swamps, and other places I probably haven’t found…yet.

Another thing I’ve seen pig ignorant fucktards say is that it should be called Assassin’s Creed: Middle Earth. Way to oversimplify it, but even so, THAT WOULD BE FUCKING AWESOME. However, you’re missing so many aspects to the game it makes me think you haven’t played it for more than a few minutes. Riding dragons, meeting hot spider ladies, befriending elf assassins, becoming the god damn Bright Lord, yep just so bland, huh?

I haven’t even started on one of the greatest pieces of game design of the last few years: the Nemesis system. If the first game was groundbreaking, this one is earth-shattering. I can’t even begin to describe the cool moments that can happen with this system. It makes the game challenging and rewarding in the same breath. An orc can go from a nobody to top captain just because he killed you. Then you have a second chance to kill you and get even greater rewards. That’s right. Sometimes it’s in your best interest to be bludgeoned to death. It opens up yet another way to play: customization.

The customization goes hand in hand with leveling your character. While you unlock skill points to be able to do things like ride a fucking dragon, you get fat lootz to make your stabby things even more stabby. There’s even challenges that go along with the gear to unlock their full potential: like killing a high level captain with one arrow, or murdering 20 orcs while riding a caragor.

I know some people say the story was lacking in the first game, and while I agree it wasn’t fleshed out very well, I can also say this game goes above and beyond to give you a better narrative. There’s so many memorable moments in only the first few hours of gameplay that I don’t even want to spoil any of them. On the other hand, I can see why some people would say the main character is a bit dry. Talion is voiced by Troy Baker and has an ethereal elf king possessing him, so I don’t agree, but that’s not my point. You’re missing out on the ACTUAL characters of the game: the supporting cast.

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I’ll be honest here. I play this game for the orcs. Some of them are so god damn hilarious that I die during combat because I was laughing. Others are fucking terrifying with skulls and fire surrounding them. Either way, THEY are the most interesting aspect to this game, especially when you have one that seems dead set on being your nemesis. But did I mention the hot spider lady? Yes, Shelob is here, and there is a reason she appears the way she does. Then you have the literal incarnation of Mother Nature that speaks with an accent and scares the hell out of me. And let’s not forget my favorite character so far: Bruz the Choppa. He’s the first orc captain you recruit to your army, and he acts as a sort of tutorial to how your army works. He’s also crazy and murderous and I love him.

I really can’t say enough about this game. I’m enjoying the hell out of it. If you were hesitant to try it, please give it a shot. I want more games like this in the future instead of another god damn Call of Duty. “But the game doesn’t follow the lore WAAAHHHHH”. Eat a dick.

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