My favourite Middle-earth: Shadow Of War nemesis story isn’t my own, but one I found on Reddit. It was about a musician Orc who the player mercilessly humiliated time and time again, until his mind had broken and all he could do was murmur about how he’d “lost his song”. It’s tragic stuff, and while the new behaviours added in today’s patch might not generate the same heart-wrenching tales, they should mix things up if you’ve found those encounters have grown stale.
The Blade Of Galadriel expansion is also out today, and lets you step into the Elven shoes of Eltariel, one of Talion’s sidekicks from the main game. She’s better known as the Blade Of Galadriel, so expect to run around stabbing Nazguls in the name of freedom, justice, or whatever it is that Galadriel actually stands for. Bright white lights, maybe.
There are plenty of bug fixes and UI improvements in the free update – though I suspect you’ll be more interested in the additions to the nemesis system. They’ve added a bunch of new traits and behaviours for the captains, including “Tunnel Rat” Orcs that “burrow into the ground and summon Ghûls”, and “Tremor” Ologs that “pound the earth with tremendous force, staggering nearby threats and heavily damaging structures”.
While those are welcome additions, the nemesis system really shines when novel abilities are attached to an interesting and surprising personality. I’m thinking of the dude with venom attacks who has a chance of appearing when you poison some grog, indignant at you stealing his job, or the bard that can ambush you with a song who then tries to bash your head in with his lute. These new behaviours sound like they’ll add some more variety to the combat, but it’ll take more than that for me to reinstall. You can find the full patch notes here.
Here’s the trailer for the expansion, though avert your eyes now if you don’t want the main game spoiled:
I’m glad we get to see more of Nazgalion. While they got a tad repetitive, I did end up invested in the story missions from the main game. Talion’s fall into the dark side (sorry, wrong morally dualistic mega-franchise) felt convincing after all that callous orc slaughter, and how Isildur’s ring ends up further twisting him could be fertile territory to explore. I’m sure more committed Tolkien fans than me will disagree, but it feels authentically Lord of the Rings-ey. Sexy lady Shelob is nowhere in sight, which helps.
Middle-earth: Shadow Of War – The Blade Of Galadriel is out now on Steam for £11.99/$14.99/€14.99.