Ok so per the usual a few words before I dive in. I put around 20 or so hours into this game, and this was nowhere near enough to complete it, I only got to act 3 of 4. So truthfully I did not complete the game but I did do my research and watched videos of what happens past the point that I stopped. I will not speak much on the story because their is a whole lot of it and in my opinion none of it was really that gripping. However please continue reading because I’m going to explain why I stopped.
So the game opened with a pretty good recap of what happened in the previous game, and to my delight it actually wasn’t that bad looking:
Now I know when looking at this screenshot it doesn’t have much context but honestly this is probably as pretty as the game gets, i’ll show what the bad stuff looks like later. But anyways after the opening cutscene you see a few new faces, but I’m not really sure since it has been years since I last played the first installment.
Even though it had been a long time since I played the first game there were definitely a few things that I did remember. One was that I still don’t really understand the whole importance behind the ring stuff, like yes I understand that it is powerful but I don’t know it just never really hooked me. I’ve seen the LOTR and Hobbit movies, played Shadow of Mordor, and even tried to read the Hobbit book, I think it’s safe to say this particular high fantasy series just isn’t for me. Another thing that carried over from the first game is how boring Talion looks:
Look at that face, jeez he could be a stunt double for a caveman. At one point you meet this spider lady named Shelob, and as usual I have a few questions with the way things flow in games and movies. This time in a cutscene she literally just takes the ring that Talion was wearing and just automatically knows how to use it, again I know this is fantasy but how do people just understand how to use these super powerful and mystic items. To be honest I don’t think things work like that, i’m a windows user and if I had to all of the sudden use a mac, there would be a lot I wouldn’t know how to do instantly, and there is nothing mystic about that.
The game goes into a piss poor tutorial that was literally probably more of a waste of dev time that they could have been used better in maybe tweaking Talion’s face. As some time goes by, you find out that the game is broken up into act, and how to progress to the next act is a mystery to me so I just decided to do all the missions because it didn’t really signify what was important to the main plot and what wasn’t. One thing that I do have to say is that stealth feels really good and is smooth for the most part, of coarse outside the typical open world jank:
Now maybe you can’t tell from this image but is it just me, or is that grass not thick enough to hide me? And I know that yes you kind of turn translucent when it says your hidden but from my understanding only certain characters can see when Talion is using Celebrimbor powers outside of attacks. So in essence the normal Uruks (orcs) should be able to see him, oh yea the Ururks are this games grunt enemy. Plus that person i’m with that has the blue highlight over her head, her name is Idril, it says she is hidden but clearly she is standing in the open literally next to an enemy( the normal open world stuff).
Oh yeah, before I forget my worst enemy has appeared yet again, I don’t understand why it just won’t leave me alone, I don’t want any trouble:
What is that?? It my fine folks is a TOWER and what is that tower used for? It’s used to take a look at the map however this time you get to use some sort of scope to see all the wonderful useful collectables that you should totally collect because they are vital to the experience. I really just can’t seem to escape the dreaded towers.
Speaking on the collectibles there are multiple different kinds such as hidden words, spider memories, and umm idk other ones that could be something similar to coins. The spider memories are used to piece together Shelob’s story, but when you collect the spider tokens you have to do this little puzzle by rotating this glass chandelier type object, and you have line up the broken glass shards to reveal the picture. When that happens it unlocks a silent movie that doesn’t really have context to it (Applause) absolute genius design. But that isn’t even the worst part, some of the pictures your supposed to rotate and align might be something like a picture of flames, do you people even understand how hard it is to see what is going on when that happens. Eventually you just start randomly rotating the image and try to find where the vibration is strongest.
That goes into my next point, the visuals in this game are down right kind of ugly sometimes:
This game came out in 2017, why is it so ugly.
Now let me get into the meat of the game which is the nemesis system. This part of the game is the component that will consume most of your play time. You fight Uruks to take over and command that patch of land that you are currently in. The Uruks are structured in something similar to military rankings and you are supposed to work your way through all of them until you reach who I think is called the warchief, he is like the big bad of the area. You work your way through the Uruks by either killing them or dominating them, killing them makes them drop upgrades but drops are pretty much worthless unless you kill an Epic or a Legendary enemy who from what I could tell are somewhat rare. This is what a special version of the Uruks called Olog-Hai look like:
The Nemesis system you can definitely tell is where a very large portion of the dev time went because these guys literally have more personality that any of the characters in the cutscenes/story stuff. This system is actually pretty deep, if you wanted to put in the time and effort, you won’t be disappointed if that is your thing.
Lastly I will hit on a few things that I didn’t like or didn’t think was needed:
- Outside of the warchiefs in the story missions you have to gain intel on them first to find their locations or just randomly run into them as you traverse the world.
- I really don’t like this combat style, it’s just more batman
- Again Uruks have really cool personalities
- Camera is absolutely stupid sometimes
- Why did there need to be so many collectibles
- The in-game move set doesn’t match what you can do in the cutscenes
- Taking over forts, means taking over the area and is time consuming
- Siege battles are pretty cool but kind of repetitive
- You can only dominate Uruks that are your level and under, if they aren’t you shame them so they can come back to rematch you at a lower level or you out right kill them
- Missions are pretty bland but quick
- Some missions are locked behind requirements to pad the gameplay
Ok so back to what I stated at the beginning of this review, I didn’t finish this game even after putting so much time into it, it to me was extremely boring. And pretty tedious, the game even mocked itself a few times saying stuff like, “oh they have more armor now, this is just tedious.” I don’t like the combat and that is pretty much what your doing all game, and this game is down right ugly sometimes. I think i’m going to take a break from open world games for awhile.