Developer Monolith has released a good chunk of gameplay for their new game, Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Shadow of War is the sequel to 2014's Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and is based on the Tolkien fantasy epic.
Shadow of War continues the story of Talion and his elf-spirit friend Celebrimbor, the forger of the One Ring of Sauron. The game is set between the time of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings novels. This time around, the gist is that Celebrimbor and Talion forge a new ring of power in order to fight Sauron. Surely that will go well.
In the gameplay we get, it looks like Monolith has greatly expanded on the excellent Nemesis System from the previous game. What made Shadow of Mordor so unique was the way in which different players crafted their own personal stories into the game. An Orc captain would kill Talion, or he would kill them, or one of them would get away, and those actions were remembered, making for a more immersive experience in this particular fantasy landscape.
The Nemesis System in Shadow of War has been totally revamped. In the video, taking place late into the game, Talion is attacking a fortress, with an Orc army at his side. The beginning of the video also showcases many regions ripe for takeover by Talion and his army, but it's not entirely clear whether it's truly open world.
Talion's goal is to kill the lord of the fortress, Ur-Hakon. Both he and Talion have a range of Orc captains under their command. And their abilities come in handy for the resulting siege.
Another way the Nemesis System has been revamped is the fact that Orcs can betray their leaders. At the beginning of the siege, we see an Orc captain, Thrak, on Ur-Hakon's side who betrayed Talion, and is now imbued with dark power by Sauron.
In order to take the fortress, the player has to capture certain points, the first of which is the gatehouse, after Talion defeats his former captain. It looks like a new teleportation ability (used with Celebrimbor) is showcased here as well. There are also strategic locations such as walls, which can be blown up so that Talion's allies can progress further into the fortress.
One of the highlights of the video is where Thrak, the former ally that Talion defeated comes back, and is sniped by another of Talion's allies, Dead-eye. This is a new function of the Nemesis System. In rescuing Talion, Dead-eye has just created a new story within the game. To boot, Thrak gets hit with a headshot.
Later, Talion gets to ride a dragon. A dragon. Havoc is wreaked on the fortress. The fun can't last forever, as the dragon is soon killed by a giant troll.
Afterward, Talion bends another war chief to his will, and proceeds to Ur-Hakon. The boss fight is pretty epic. There are fire pits, a ton of orcs, and Ur-Hakon is one big orc, and he wields a flamethrower.
Just when Talion is about to get torched, he summons another of his allies, Ragdug Iron Mount, comes to save the day with his trusty caragore. Talion then gets a chance to dismember Ur-Hakon.
After taking over the base, Talion selects a new chief to overlook it. He chooses Ragdug. I wonder if this will create new rivalries in his own army? Each fortress overlord brings new perks to the area that they take over.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War releases August 22nd, 2017.
You can watch the full video below: