"Middle-Earth: Shadow of War" is here, and it's a massive game with a scope that can only be described as epic. Players new to the series will do just fine to take it one step at a time and enjoy the ride.
The story both ties in to and sidesteps the "Lord of the Rings" volumes at the same time. Players take on the mantle of Talion, a human ranger keeping guard at the Black Gate of Mordor.
He and his family die before the game even properly begins. At that point, he is found by the ghost of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor, as Polygon recaps. With Talion's prowess with his blades and Celebrimbor's wraith abilities, the unlikely pair begins their journey to mess up Sauron's forces.
With the story set up, the player is encouraged to take a step back and take stock of the situation. The story is as straightforward as they come, and players have other things to worry about, as Kotaku notes.
For one thing, there's no learning stage where Talion unlocks his abilities one by one, like in the previous "Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor." Almost all abilities are up and ready to use from the get-go, and it could be intimidating.
That said, mastering the Parry, Block and Dodge moves take priority this time. The game's multitude of enemies will present a challenge to even the most practiced veterans of the series, and it pays to be patient and careful.
Every death matters, after all, especially Talion's. Orcs that kill the main character gets stronger and get new abilities, and there's no save to reload to undo that, either. Skills that keep Talion alive is a must, and the wraith skills are perfect for that.
The video below shows the official launch trailer for the sprawling new title developed by Monolith. "Middle-Earth: Shadow of War" is already out and available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro, as well as Windows 10 PCs via Microsoft's Windows Store or Steam.