Review of the Middle-Earth: Shadows of War

It is a well-known fact in the video game industry that movies made after video games are often impossible to watch. A lot of legendary game franchises became so popular that it was only a matter of time before they would be shown in cinemas–and turned out to be complete disappointments. If you google the ratings of such movies as “Mortal Kombat,”Resident Evil,Doom,BloodRayne,” “Hitman: Agent 47, Assassin’s Creed  and a whole lot of other titles, you will be amazed by how bad those movies can be.

The contrary is true as well: games made after a famous movie, novel, or another source are equally bad. Usually, such games follow up anticipated movies, and their primary (and perhaps only) goal is to earn additional money while the hype train is still there. “Transformers,” “Harry Potter” series of games (oh boy, how bad they were), “The Evil Dead,” “The Matrix,” and many other video game titles could not live up to the quality of the source films. There are only rare exceptions when a game is as good–or even better–than the movie it is based upon. For example, I liked the “Aliens Vs. Predators 2” game much more than I liked the movie (to be honest, I hated it, but the game is a masterpiece). I liked “Star Wars: Battlefront” although I am not a fan of Star Wars in general. And I especially liked the “shadowy” dilogy about Middle-Earth: “Shadows of Mordor,” and the most recent “Shadows of War.” Of the latter, I would like to speak about in more detail.

However, before I proceed to the actual review of “Middle-Earth: Shadows of War,” I feel I need to make a short footnote here. I abstained from buying “Shadows of War” for about a year from the time of its release. The reason I did this was simple: loot-boxes and microtransactions. I am usually okay with both, until they obstruct the gameplay. For example, in my favorite “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided,” you could purchase upgrades for your character for real money. Some people raged about it in their reviews, but the truth is that you can enjoy Deus Ex in its entirety without donating after purchase. Gameplay and game mechanics are constructed in such a way that a player can experience everything the game has to offer, whereas paid upgrades remain a completely voluntary option.

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