Bludgeoned by orcs: What it’s like to die repeatedly in Shadow of WarEnlarge / Like my father always said, it’s always easier to climb a tower while riding a fire-breathing beast. (credit: WB Interactive / Monolith)
LOS ANGELES—Having played a fair amount of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, I thought I knew what I was in for with its upcoming sequel, Shadow of War.

The badass, “slay orcs all around” hero of the first game, Talion, returns with some supernatural twists. You’ll use his new slate of dark superpowers against an even tougher crowd of Tolkien-inspired monsters.
At recent Shadow of War preview events, the series’ developers at Monolith have loudly hinted at one of the game’s major new concepts: leadership. Now that your ranger hero is infused with former rival Celebrimbor’s dark-elf powers, he can dominate orcs and conscript them to his own army. You’ll need the monsters’ help to invade and overthrow evil war chiefs at various fortresses and camps.

These battlegrounds are packed full of powerful orc foes who remember you, and this idea builds upon SoM‘s “nemesis” system of persistent enemies.
But only last week did Monolith let a particular cat (or orc?) out of the bag: how bleedin’ hard this Lord of the Rings adventure game’s sequel will be.
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