Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was one of 2014's absolute best games. Even though it was set in the Lord of the Rings universe, it was designed in such a way that anyone who enjoyed a good action game could appreciate it. It was a solid title with amazing AI, a great fighting system, and a fantastic setting. We should be so excited that Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is on the way. We're going to get more of something that whet our appetite for something more.
But why would you want more Shadow of Mordor? If you're someone who missed out on the original game, you may be wondering why there's such a fuss over Shadow of War. That's why I'm here to help. I'm going to explain exactly why you should be rejoicing like the rest of us.
It all starts with the Nemesis System. That was Monolith Production's name for the feature that turned what could have been ordinary mid-boss or boss fights into something special. The Uruks you fight are more intelligent than standard enemies. They have their own ranking system. You might have to research them before rushing off to fight a leader. If you defeat one of these leaders completely, you'll weaken Sauron's army. If one of them survives an encounter with you, they'll be stronger next time and want to take revenge on you for the events of the last fight. Should they defeat you, they'll receive a promotion and be stronger the next time you encounter them.
Each fight in Shadow of Mordor gets a little more personal. These characters remember you. You could even brand some Uruk leaders to trigger infighting in the army that you can exploit. You'll remember people who went after you or survived. One of the most famous official examples mentioned how disfiguring an Uruk leader in a fight with fire would lead to him seeking you out for leaving that permanent scar. These characters, who would have been nameless and forgettable mooks in other games, matter here. And they'll matter in Shadow of War too.
The fact that there will be a new kind of NPC makes Shadow of War even more exciting. In addition to the Nemesis System, there will be one for characters known as Followers. Think about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and your followers there. How much did these people mean to you? Did their personalities touch you? Shadow of War will have a new sort of reactive character. It almost sounds like they'll be the opposite of a Nemesis. Instead of being opposed to your actions and want to hunt you down, a Follower might ingratiate and further define him or herself as an ally over time.
This could also mean an opportunity to improve on Shadow of Mordor's heroes, Talion and Celebrimbor. While the lore found throughout the game was interesting, there were more than a few times when Talion and Celebrimbor's story was the weakest part. Not to mention, it ended on a pretty big cliffhanger. Shadow of War is an opportunity to improve. Loose ends will hopefully be tied up and resolved.
Shadow of War is an opportunity to see a great game grow and evolve. Shadow of Mordor was this engaging adventure that just appeared out of nowhere and gripped anyone who gave it a chance. The Nemesis System was something entirely new, and we're going to see it blossom even further. We're going to get Followers who could show similar levels of intelligence. Talion and Celebrimbor's story might even finally be resolved. This is a game that will help make 2017 a wonderful year.