When news that Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was going to be afollow-upp to 2014's smash hit Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Tolkien fans the world over went absolutely ape. They longed for more Uruk slaying, brutal Wraith abilities, and the rich universe that has commanded the attention of fantasy fans for some fifty odd years. Except, they'll be getting none of that, because Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War is going to suck. Royally suck actually, much like the first installment in the series.
Although many gamers found it to be one of the greatest games they had ever played, a short two years later Shadow of Mordor already seems dated. It was a poorly designed, convoluted, and clunky mess that was a chore to play through. Now, Monolith is adding, even more, crap to an already craptastic series, so expect that "fresh manure" smell when you crack open the game case. Don't believe me? Just scroll down for Fifteen Reasons That Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War Is Going To Suck more than a hobbit working over an order of chicken wings.
15 Mount Combat Looks Rough
The gameplay footage at E3 showed Talion mounting a Caragor and riding it into the heat of battle, except that didn’t happen at all. Instead, the Caragor got stuck on a doorframe, a pile of rubble, and pretty much every other conceivable object that was present on the battlefield. When it finally did make its way into a circle of foes, the combat looked repetitive at best.
Literally, the same four attacks over and over, with the Caragor eating someone every blue moon. I don’t know about you, but the mounted combat seems especially lacking in light of the promise that Monolith seems to be making. If I wanted to mash the same button endlessly, I’d pick up a fighting game.
14 The Stealth Will Be Lackluster
If Shadow of War’s stealth is anything like Shadow of Mordor’s, you can expect it to disappoint. Can we get past the days of slinking around and hiding in bushes? Especially for something in the Tolkien universe, you’d expect the stealth gameplay to be a bit more creative.
Sure, a few of the Wraith abilities may have helped to freshen it up, but in the end, you’re still just moving from bush to bush, like John Holmes at the height of his career. I doubt that Shadow of War will really do much to change the way their stealth system works, with all the bribed critics giving it glowing accolades.
13 The Weapons Suck
It’s touching that in addition to his own sword, Talion uses the broken blade of his dead son’s sword to carry out most of his stealth attacks. In addition, he can also fire his ghost elf friend’s wraith bow. And…that’s it, really. In this day and age, even a lackluster series like Assassin’s Creed gives us multiple weapons to play with. Giving us a sword and a half and a semi-transparent bow is just plain unacceptable, regardless of any sentimental value.
Judging by the in-game footage from E3, it looks like Talion is using the same arsenal, although he now has an elven spear that he can use on the back of Cargors and randomly in wraith mode. With combat that sucks as bad as the Shadow of Mordor series, it really wouldn’t matter what kind of weapons they’re going to throw in, it’ll still be a shallow experience.
12 It’ll Be Too Busy To Be Enjoyable
Watching the half hour or so of footage that has been released of Shadow of War may have excited some gamers to the point of frenzy; explosions, swordplay, and more Uruks than you can shake your dead son’s broken sword at. But I beg the question: how the hell can you tell what’s going on?
Seriously, there was so much going on in that gameplay that I had serious trouble trying to keep track of the underdeveloped protagonist(s). A glitch fight between two NPCs over there, a random explosion that sends enemies scattering before forming up in the same circle, and lengthy dialogues with all the Uruks and Orcs that were being introduced mid-combat made the footage seem like a college freshman’s attempt at being artsy. It just didn’t make any damn sense. With all the meaningless crap going on, it’ll be a wonder if there’s actually any gameplay in Shadow of War that doesn’t feel like an overly busy migraine.
11 The Loot System Will Be A Joke
During the E3 footage of Shadow of War, the developer on hand briefly mentioned that the loot system would have more depth to it than the previous entry. So…you mean that the game will actually have a loot system? From what I remember, Shadow of Mordor literally had the most minimal of “loot” systems. Essentially, random crap could be picked up and used to add points to your two swords, a bow, and a bunch of other stuff that you didn’t want to use.
Now, loot will be color-coded and have quotes that correspond to whatever enhancement said item gives your weapons. Basically, it’s the same as before, except with meaningless crap to accompany it? If you’re going to have a loot system, make it a loot system. Not a shallow upgrade system under the guise of “you’re picking up new equipment!” You’re not, and you never will.
10 The Combat Will Be A Wooden Mess
Shadow of Mordor’s combat sucked. I said it, and I mean it. Its combat was a tangled, awkward mess that made the game no fun to play. If your game is going to be based around combat, please, make the combat somewhat fun as opposed to making the player feel like a one legged man trying to skateboard.
Watching the E3 footage of Shadow of War in action makes me fear the worst; they’re not changing the combat system at all, meaning that it is going to be as rough as the previous entry. Monolith, if you’re going to try and polish a turd, the least you could do is admit that it’s a turd in the first place.
9 Warner Bros. Will (Probably) Bribe Reviewers Again
Yeah, so this totally happened. I knew there was a reason I wasn’t particularly thrilled with this game when the rest of the world was flipping cars and lighting fires in the street like the Vancouver Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup finals again.
Warner Bros. offered free copies of the game and monetary compensation to youtubers who gave the game positive reviews without disclosing that they had been compensated. It all erupted into an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission that ended with Warner Bros. getting smacked for being shady butts. Let's hope that Warner Bros. can keep themselves on the legal side of the line when asking youtube personalities to give their opinions on Shadow Of War. Then maybe we all won’t end up with a subpar action game taking up shelf space in our libraries.
8 The Assault System Looks Meh
One of the main features that Monolith showed off at E3 was Talion and pals assaulting a large, industrial base full of pissed off Uruks. It looked pretty neat in the early few minutes of the trailer; Talion stands in the throng of his own forces, the war chief emerges spouting pre-battle rhetoric, and the assault starts with fiery explosions and carnage. Then, Talion actually assaults the base, and it looks to hold all the excitement of a fourth-grade birthday party.
After breaching the main gates, Talion storms in with his troops (who do a lot of nothing), and proceeds to move from circle of enemies to circle of enemies before he ends up in the final circle, where he kills the war chief. Seriously, all he did was bounce from combat circle to combat circle, brandishing the same moves and finishers. Besides a moment where he rides a drake (very clumsily I may add), that was all it is. So basically, there is no variety in the gameplay; it’ll just be a circle of enemies you need to chop through on repeat.
7 The Army System Looks Lame
In Shadow of War, Talion will be able to convert enemies to his side in an attempt to form his own army and better his chances of raiding particularly well-defended strongholds. There are a variety of Ogres, Orcs, and Uruks that will fight along side you and help bring even the most fearsome war chiefs to their knees. Sounds cool right? Well, if the E3 footage is to be believed, it’ll be a clunky mess.
Why? Because your allies get there own Nemesis style screen that shows their relationships to you and whatever else. You can assign members as bodyguards, give them promotions after they perform admirably in a battle, and assign them to different posts and titles. Sound kind of boring? It will be, and probably as convoluted as the actual Nemesis screen. When will I actually get to play if I’m too busy comparing Nemesis flow charts?
6 The Annoying Wraith Mechanics
When Talion originally merged with Celebrimbor to take on Sauron’s Orc army, I was excited that I was going to get to use some badass Elf Lord powers to take down all my foes (if they didn’t take down each other first). And then I got to use them, and promptly stopped using them as much as I could. Of course, there are some cool abilities, but overall, they’re pretty meh.
The bow is annoying as hell, most abilities are spotty at best, and most you don’t have to use many to actually play the game. Not that abilities have to be essential to the gameplay, but they should be integral to having fun within the game. Unfortunately, being able to face palm Uruks is not my definition of fun. It looks like that clunky mechanic will be making a comeback, as well as new abilities, like teleporting around the environment, so you can facepalm enemies that are farther away.
5 Story Will Be Uninspired
I know that the Tolkien universe is absolutely massive with subplots, non-essential (but beloved) characters, and different beasts and baddies that seem to crawl out of every crevice. I know that it would be quite impossible to include everything, no, a quarter of everything into one game that spanned 40 hours. It just isn’t possible for the amount of material.
But watching Captain of Gondor Talion and his ghostly elf friend Celebrimbor in their quest to decapitate as many of Sauron’s Orcs as possible (again) is weak-sauce. I couldn’t bring myself to care about Talion and his transparent elf buddy the first time around, why do you think that slapping him in front of his own Orc army will make any difference? Also, branch out a little. There are so many different types of characters and beasts you could utilize from a rich universe. Instead, Monolith picked a few, reskinned them multiple ways with accessories, and called it a day.
4 The Controls Will Be Clunky
When I jumped into the Shadow of Mordor, I was awe struck; the environment was beautiful, the Uruks were fiercely disgusting, and Talion seemed like an awesome Orc slaying machine. I set out on my grand adventure…and quickly realized that Talion controlled like a drunken tree stump on roller skates. Seriously, the man moves like his robes were dipped in cement.
Just moving around the world shouldn’t feel this bad. On multiple occasions I pounded buttons, cursing as Talion smacked squarely into a wall instead of scrambling up it. If you’re going to make a poor man’s Assassin’s Creed, at least try to make the climbing system a step above broken. Watching the Shadow of War gameplay trailers, I immediately recognized Talion’s awkward shuffle as he did his best to maneuver through an enemy fortress. Trust me —he’s still going to control like his shoes are full of thumbtacks.
3 The Nemesis System Will Be Convoluted (Again!)
A lot of players and critics gushed about the Nemesis system in Shadow Of Mordor, citing the complex interactions between the different war chiefs and the like gave depth to finding and fighting the game’s many adversaries. The only thing I found it to be is a damn nuisance.
Sure, the concept is cool, “Look! The Orcs and Uruks are so unruly that they’ll kill each other for power!” But it started to become extremely bothersome after a point. I’d be chugging my way towards a chief when all the sudden, a rival would cut him down. All right, fair enough. So, I’d start heading out in search of my next target, only to have them be assassinated by a rival. Are you kidding me? If I wanted a walking simulator, I would have bought Dear Esther. Shadow Of War is upping the ante, making the Nemesis System even more convoluted and game breaking. I hope you like watching Orcs, Uruks, and Ogres fight amongst themselves; I have a feeling you’ll be playing little part in it.
2 The Enemies Talk Too Damn Much
Before Talion laid siege to the massive stronghold in the E3 playthrough, the war chief came out and delivered a lengthy rhetoric to his troops. By lengthy, I mean that it lasted a solid two minutes. In game time, that can feel like an eternity, especially if you’re watching some dude strut back and forth and talk a bunch of nonsense.During combat, every time that Talion would come across another Orc of mention, they had their own dialogue that he’d have to listen to. As in, the combat, the thing that you bought the game to take part in, was happening all around you while you listened to some Orc talk about the finer points of never flossing. The representative for Monolith mentioned that this time around, the Orc and Uruk diatribe would be even longer. He claims it added “personality.” I think it adds useless narrative padding to a crappy game.
1 It Will Be The Same As The First Game
After numerous accusations that most of the mechanics in Shadow of Mordor were borrowed from Assassin’s Creed, the game was released anyway, and it received critical acclaim from gamers and critics alike. Except that it deserved no praise, because quite like the Assassin’s Creed games, Shadow Of Mordor and it’s largely unchanged sequel Shadow of War, will be mediocre third person action games.
That’s right, I said it. In fact, Shadow of War will probably be so mediocre that it will actually get accurate reviews this time around instead of the positive ones Warner Bros. bribed critics for. Oh wait, you didn’t know?