Middle-earth: Shadow of War, As Told By Steam Reviews

Now that the dust from launch week has settled, how exactly have those loot crates gone down?

Judging by the reaction from users, not as bad as some might have thought. The follow-up to Monolith's Shadow of Mordor, Shadow of War continues the war against Sauron by adding in more orcs to dominate, more open-world areas to defile, and of course: loot boxes.

Middle-earth: Shadow Of War: The Kotaku Review

When Shadow of Mordor released in 2014, its "nemesis system" was brilliant enough that many people hoped it would define a new generation of games. Years later, that vision of industry-wide character hierarchies that learn, evolve, and remember the player never came to pass.

Read more

On the whole, the reception from users has been pretty positive. The game's sitting at a 81% user rating from just over 3500 reviews, with the main criticisms amongst reviews targeting the progression system and the design of the end game, rather than the loot crates themselves.

Positive reviews have praised the game's extension of the Nemesis system, the expansion of the in-game world, variety of the Orcs and general improvements from the original.

The main criticisms from users included the repetition of the game's final act, the frequent interruptions later in the game when multiple Orcs are being introduced, mediocre AI and issues with performance and bugs.

Here's what users are saying about Shadow of War:


    Waring to anyone wanting to purchase a physical version for PC. Retail copies are just a download code for steam. Not an actual disc. So you are better off just buying the game on steam.

      Except if you buy in store you get some additional "preorder" DLC. Or at least I did from EBGames. I was a bit pissed off to find that out though - Wanted to avoid a 100gig download.

        The local EB i go to gives me the pre order content codes when i buy on release day. I ask them if they have any left and 99% of the time they give me one. Like with Forza 7 Ultimate edition for example. They told me they had sold barely any pre orders for it so they gave me a code for the Pre order dlc.

    I paid for some in game credits because I got a free copy and after ten minutes one of the legendaries I got out of a blue box decided to rebel, I think this is a good example of why loot boxes are not appropriate. Everything in the game feels like a consumable, microtransactions have no place in a full priced game.

    I'm about 25 hrs in. Hasn't felt like a grind so far. Enjoying every minute like the first. Looks great on the ps4pro with 4K cut scene pack.

      Didn't even know there was a 4k cutscene pack.

      Downloading that tonight.

      Thanks for the heads up, sir.

    The review that claims there's only 10 hours of gameplay to act 4 is full of shit. The only way I could see that being the case is if the main story missions are exclusively rushed and not a single other thing is done.

      eh its actually less than that to be honest, i just completed act 4 and it was 10 rounds of fortress defences in 4 regions. with each stage just upping the level of the orcs that attack. theres no time limit on completeing the defences either. the assaults can last anywhere between 10 to 20min depending on how good you are.

      However the bulk of the time for me was taken up leveling my orcs in the fight pits ( i never used the Micro transactions). all this was done on normal and i only had to recapture 2 forts due my own fuck up of pressing the wrong button during a last chance.

      My Strat was simple, if the orc was my level or below and didn have the Iron Will Trait or the Unbreakable Trait, then id just brand them and add them to the defence of the fort.

        Sorry, my phrasing was off. The review is claiming there's only 10 hours of gameplay prior to act 4, which is not the case.

    Two words I am sick of hearing about this week. Loot Boxes and Grind. The 'grind' in which so many of these people talk about is actually just playing the game. They want a game to last a while, so they can get their monies worth but then they complain about the grind. Yes there is an element of futility to the game, kill one captain and another takes his place etc (which was there in the first game as well) but grind is wholly subjective, a developer cant protect their game to be free of grind because it only exists in a individuals mind. People complaining about grind in something like this make me think of impatient children who want their treats NOW. Not in two days or two hours, NOW.

    As for loot boxes they are a scourge on the gaming world and should never exist, however too often too much is made of them, like complaining about it being hot on a summers day, I am about 70 hours in and havent even remotely needed them. in fact I have like 25,000 coins saved up. Too often stream reviews review the fact that a game contains loot boxes and not the game itself. One is made by the publisher, the other made by game developers.

      I agree with you apart your statement that too much is made of loot boxes.

      We need to make more statements about them. How much we don't like them. How we didn't buy your game because of them. Otherwise they will add more and more and more and more.

      Then in 5 years we will want to complain but it will be too late.

      It's an extreme example, but it's a bit like the kick off to WW2, Germany to Europe "Oh that, don't worry everyone it will only be Poland"

        Wow comparing WW2 to goddamn loot boxes. Your being completely ridiculous and pretty damn offensive.

          It wasn't really a comparison. More a comment on the escalation of a situation.

      They want a game to last a while, by which they mean they want it to contain enough gameplay to keep them interested for a while. Clearly they don't find the core gameplay loop sufficiently interesting to hold their attention for 40hrs, and I can see their point - I'm maybe 15-20hrs in, and am hoping new activities start to appear beyond the raid/execution/confrontation/trials/fighting pits because the first four feel identical, and the last one is a cinematic. There doesn't seem to be any variation to the gameplay/missions, so it's starting to wear thin.

      Re the loot boxes - I have yet to bother with them, but every time I pick up silver, it gets prominently displayed in the very centre of the screen, it feels like the game is advertising them, reminding me that they exist every five minutes. I don't appreciate being advertised to in a full-price release, let alone a single-player game.

    I have been loving the game.I've averaged around 12 hours a day since release and achieved 90% completion.I'm not sure where I'm up to but I'm defending forts for the second or third time for some reason.I spent yesterday in the Pits choosing and leveling Orcs.I've only seen opportunities to receive 600 gold in the daily challenges and the loot boxes are not a problem for me.I won't spend a cent on this game,but I can see the insidious design strategy aimed at peeps who want max lv Orcs and forts.Also,Zog is pissing me off now...

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