SUMMARY: (3 of 5 stars) It’s an open-world, non-canon, slash-and-stab, role-playing game with a weak story and repetitive action. I enjoyed the first game even though it has some of the same weaknesses, but that game had the self-respect to wrap up quickly before I got sick of it.

Where to begin?

If you played Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, then you pretty much already know what it’s like to play this game.  That’s not an insult. I enjoyed the first game quite a bit.  Here’s what I liked about it:

  • It has an open world, so I can run around doing whatever I want.
  • It’s a third-person POV. (I hate first-person)
  • You have super powers that you can level up as you progress and gain experience.
  • There missions are variable enough to accommodate different styles of game play. I like to sneak around and cause mayhem and it was fun for that.

And this game has all of those things.

They also introduced this mechanism by which you can conquer forts and then defend them. That was pretty cool the first, oh, eight or nine times that I did it, but after that it got boring.

They also introduce some different style enemies.  And they change up the skill tree a bit in a way that I think is clever. Oh! And you can ride around on dragons! That’s neat in theory, but I found it to be generally useless and tiresome.  But fun idea!

So, for the duration of the main story, I really enjoyed this second game.  It had most everything I liked about the first game added a few fun things.

Here’s what I did not like about this second game.

Mainly, it goes on for WAY too long!  I finished the main story and the side stories, and now there’s these “Shadow War” stages where all you do is run around and defend/reconquer all your forts.  I googled and learned that there is some kind of cut scene after you make it past Stage 10, but I’m at Stage 5 now and I just don’t think I have it in me to finish.

The controls can sometimes act really weird.  The whole last-minute-save-defense thing is as lame as it was in the first game.  There’s still absolutely no real finesse to the controls. You can get by just mashing the buttons, really.

The story is really lame.  I can’t even with how lame it was.  And the resolution to the storylines as far as I saw them is so weak that one of the reasons I googled for a walkthrough was to see if I had actually seen the end of them!

If you’re a LOTR superfan, then you’ll probably also hate this game because it goes WAY outside of canon.  It’s basically not the same universe at all.

I don’t want to spend more time complaining about this game.  It was good until it got too boring to continue. And that is about six hours of gameplay before you see all the main content. That’s the biggest problem I had with it.

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