Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 69 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 69
  2. Negative: 0 out of 69
Buy On
  1. Oct 5, 2017
    100
    Everything about this game outdoes the first, and with the expanded Nemesis System, superb combat, and epic story, you'll be immersed for a long time.
  2. 95
    An expanded Nemesis System creates fascinatingly interesting player stories, and the amount of freedom afforded to the player is staggering for a game of this scope.
  3. Oct 5, 2017
    95
    Shadow of War fulfills the promise of its predecessor, completing a dark and violent lost tale set within the world of The Lord of the Rings. I was initially frustrated by the liberties that Monolith takes with this beloved fiction (which are plentiful), but I eventually abandoned myself to the insanity, and fell down the rabbit hole into a superb fantasy adventure. Monolith captures the thrill of power with aplomb; the way it simultaneously speaks of its dangers and corrupting potential is the real magic.
  4. Oct 5, 2017
    95
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a massive and ambitious action game that delivers an epic sense of scale. From single stealthy murders up to the never-ending fortress battles available via online play, Shadow of War is a blast.
  5. Oct 5, 2017
    94
    Shadow of War improves upon its predecessor in nearly every conceivable way. The story is more engaging and full of fascinating characters, the Nemesis System has been fleshed out to feel deeper and less formulaic, and all the additions to combat and progression are more than welcome. It may not be canon, but this is without a doubt the best game to take place in Tolkien’s expansive universe.
  6. Oct 5, 2017
    93
    Middle-Earth: Shadow of War made us wait a little longer than we expected, but it was worth it. This new chapter brings more maps, more missions, refined gameplay and graphics in a huge, multifaceted experience that's not going to let you down.
  7. Games Master UK
    Nov 2, 2017
    90
    Builds on the best bits of the original to become a ruthless, compelling machine of orc conflict. [Nov 2017, p.60]
  8. Oct 19, 2017
    90
    At first glance, you might think that there is not much difference between Shadow of War and its predecessor, but as you progress in the game, you’ll notice that it improved almost on every aspect. The world is really huge and with the help of nemesis system, you’ll experience some epic battles that you’ll not forget anytime soon.
  9. Oct 18, 2017
    90
    A sprawling action-filled epic adventure with a compelling story and a living, breathing world that creates real consequences for your actions and failures. Its post-game Shadow Wars content is understandably polarizing but that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying the core experience.
  10. Oct 18, 2017
    90
    With Peter Jackson-quality production values, combat that remains engaging over dozens of hours, and a meaningful story that stays reasonably related to its beloved source material, Middle Earth: Shadow of War is a rare sequel that improves on just about every aspect of the original. Odious micro-transactions and a pace that might be too focused on constant action aside, Shadow of War will please both the fans of Shadow of Mordor and anyone who enjoys quality action games.
  11. Oct 16, 2017
    90
    With a wealth of new environments and a decent storyline to boot, Middle-earth: Shadow of War doesn’t feel like a forced entry but a great expansion on the original concept. It’s rather funny, too.
  12. Oct 14, 2017
    90
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War addressed nearly every flaw of the original game, and its enormous environments help to make the emergent encounters and Nemesis system even more engaging. While its story stumbles early on, the unique stories you’ll get from pressing against your nemeses will keep you coming back to the game for dozens of hours. Even after killing and enslaving countless orcs, we can’t wait to keep making those stories.
  13. Oct 13, 2017
    90
    Monolith Productions managed to deliver a magnificent sequel to Shadow of Mordor. Allowing the players to recruit several types of different orcs that display unpredictable behavior thanks to the Nemesis system is a great experience. Overall, it has improved almost every single area over its predecessor, and the possibility of using dragons as a tool for war is welcomed.
  14. Oct 5, 2017
    90
    Shadow of War is rich in many ways and surprising again. A game that improves upon Shadow of Mordor enhancing its Nemesis system and the storytelling side.
  15. Oct 5, 2017
    90
    The visuals and the unnecessary endgame are the only bad things in a sequel that improves everything from the first game: the combat has been refined, the Nemesis System provides infinite stories, and the sieges contain all the epic (and more) that you'd expect from a product based in Tolkien's Legendarium.
  16. Oct 5, 2017
    90
    Shadow of War brings the video game to epic: it's an exciting tale in Middle-earth, less rich than Christian Cantamessa did with the first one, but at the same time throbbing.
  17. Oct 5, 2017
    90
    Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is Lord of the Rings turned up to 11. Improving on nearly every idea from the original Shadow of Mordor game, it’s a gargantuan sequel in both size and scope.
  18. Oct 5, 2017
    90
    A huge Lord of the Rings experience that’s always enjoyable, although its scale leaves it straining at the seams at times.
  19. Oct 5, 2017
    90
    Similar to the way Batman: Arkham City built on the foundation of Arkham Asylum, Middle-earth: Shadow of War is bigger and more ambitious in scope than Shadow of Mordor, with great results. The way it expands the Nemesis system with far greater variety and fortress sieges makes even better use of the stand-out generated characters, and its battles with memorable uruk captains remain challenging all the way through the campaign and into the clever asynchronous multiplayer beyond.
  20. Oct 5, 2017
    89
    Building upon the accomplishments of its predecessor and wielding the influence of The New Ring, Middle-earth: Shadow of War should be remembered as Talion's greatest adventure to date.
  21. Nov 7, 2017
    88
    If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings mythology, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Middle-earth games don’t compliment the lore of the books. Spawned from a series of epic fantasy novels, this loud, insane, adrenaline-filled open-world adventure certainly isn’t true to the works of author J.R.R. Tolkien. Perhaps you might slap your forehead in dismay by the goofy plot or looseness to the source material but what’s undeniable is, that Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a lot of fun.
  22. Oct 27, 2017
    88
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War is great for veterans and tough for newcomers, but a joy to play for either party once you get a hang of the mechanics. It gets tedious at times, and there are missed opportunities here and there, but the Nemesis System that was a beacon of success in the first game has come back bigger and better than ever. It’s definitely a return to Middle-earth that is worth the play, and an homage to Tolkien’s works that everyone can appreciate.
  23. Oct 16, 2017
    88
    Middle-earth Shadow of War is a perfect sequel to Shadow of Mordor. It doubles down on the strengths with a better Nemesis-system, excellent combat system and new areas. The story is not the best out there, but if you liked SoM, you'll love this.
  24. Oct 5, 2017
    88
    A title with strong elements of originality, a sumptuous eye-catcher and a nice and dynamic combat system, to be counted among the big ones in this dense video game season.
  25. Oct 12, 2017
    87
    They’re standing on the edge of greatness now, and I hope the next game will fulfill the destiny of making Talion’s story a part of the Tolkien canon.
  26. Oct 5, 2017
    86
    Shadows of War is a step forward in pretty much every aspect of the game, and it still is an adventure that knows how to keep you entertained. Yes, later in the game grinding will draw your attention towards lootboxes, but you don't really need to use real money to finish the game.
  27. Oct 5, 2017
    86
    Shadow of War acts as a perfect expansion for everything that Shadow of Mordor rocked. Flawless combat, stealth as a friendly friend and the awesome re-imagining of Middle Earth will just appeal to everyone who enjoyed the first game. The conflict has grown, the gameplay is still there, and that´s good news indeed.
  28. Oct 16, 2017
    85
    The first three parts of Shadow of War are very enjoyable. The game is like its predecessor, but better. There is a lot more story to enjoy and the locations are a lot more interesting. The best part is the improved Nemesis system which fits a lot better in the game now.
  29. Oct 15, 2017
    85
    Middle-Earth: Shadow of War adds a lot more to what was successful in its previous installment but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Nonetheless, it still remains a great experience for RPG fans.
  30. Oct 7, 2017
    85
    Shadow of War is one of the best action-RPGs of the year with an awesome combat system and an incredible amount of content which guarantees hours of quality entertainment. A must play for Tolkien fans.
  31. Oct 6, 2017
    85
    Despite a lacking story, the Nemesis System is still the coolest gameplay mechanic I have ever seen in a game. Fans of Shadow of Mordor will find lots to love about Shadow of War, and new fans will surely enjoy the addictive and impressive gameplay. Just don’t go in expecting a canon Tolkien story.
  32. Oct 5, 2017
    85
    Monolith has refined the Nemesis System and offer a great amount of content that guarantees many hours of fun. However, its repetitive gameplay and microtransactions will delight those who enjoyed Shadow of Mordor, but will not lure newcomers. Shadow of War is a great game, but has a main character that lacks charisma that can't be in the spotlight of a Tolkien tale.
  33. Oct 5, 2017
    85
    Shadow of War finds its success in perfectly expanding upon everything that made Shadow of Mordor so great. Despite the game’s slow start, once you get into the weeds of Shadow of War’s systems, you’ll find yourself engrossed and addicted to its satisfying gameplay loop for hours on end. This increased depth along with the much larger scale of the world and battles within Shadow of War make it a far better game from top to bottom than that of its predecessor.
  34. Oct 19, 2017
    83
    Monolith set itself a goal to make Middle-earth: Shadow of War a lot bigger and more expansive than its predecessor, Shadow of Mordor, in which they definitely succeeded. Too bad they didn't tweak or beautify the three years older forebear, and that they actually went a bit too far with the amount of content on offer.
  35. Oct 5, 2017
    83
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a good sequel to Shadow of Mordor. Fortress sieges are a nice introduction, but in the long run things could get a little bit repetitive.
  36. CD-Action
    Dec 19, 2017
    80
    I was annoyed by various flaws (both technical and design-related) and tedious, dragged out final stages of the campaign, but overall I enjoyed the ride. It looks like the developers wanted to stuff the game with all the best elements Middle-earth has to offer. Shadow of War’s atmosphere is terrific and watching Talion rise in power is surprisingly addictive. [12/2017, p.62]
  37. Nov 10, 2017
    80
    Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a massive game that feels a lot like its predecessor, but now it’s filled with even more things to collect and more missions to finish. But when does a game contain too much? As I reached the end of the campaign, the good times I had turned into a series of chores. Luckily, players can avoid most of the busywork by not worrying about the online conquests or the endgame, but for those that do? Be prepared to grind for it.
  38. Oct 30, 2017
    80
    A hell of a lot of game for your money and for the most part a ton of fun, sadly it outstays its welcome leading to total fatigue as you enter the overly long unnecessary home stretch.
  39. Oct 18, 2017
    80
    Upgrading a formula can sometimes break it, and Shadow of War comes quite close to being such a product. Yet despite all of the upgrades that pour like rain that you're trying to dodge; at its core, this is still an amazingly entertaining game. Just be prepared for some grinding, if you are not into microtransactions...
  40. Oct 16, 2017
    80
    Its vast environments, spine-tinglingly satisfying movement and combat, and its deep and engaging Nemesis system all come together to make a game that manages to blow its almost-perfect predecessor out of the water. Even if you have no prior experience of Lord of the Rings (I sure don’t), you owe it to yourself to spend a bit of time knee-deep in Orc entrails.
  41. Oct 16, 2017
    80
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a lot like its predecessor, but that's not a bad thing. Everything is bigger this time around, with more maps to explore, more missions to undertake and more unique orcs to kill and dominate. It's all great fun (albeit a little repetitive after 40 hours). A more cohesive and memorable main story would've helped the game stand out even more.
  42. Oct 5, 2017
    80
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War can best be described as Shadow of Mordor with extra of everything. Just like the first one, it's ambitious, addictive and easy to pick up. The gameplay tends to be a bit repetitive, but in every other way Shadow of War is a nearly perfect action game.
  43. Oct 5, 2017
    80
    Shadow of War does stumble into a bit of a grind in the latter part of the game and the Chests system could be tuned much better. As it stands now, it's transparent in wanting you to open your wallet and buy a bit of Gold. Those issues are what keep Shadow of War from being an absolutely amazing game, instead of just a great one.
  44. Oct 5, 2017
    80
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War is massive, yet at the same time a prime example of a sequel that’s bigger, but not necessarily any better than the original. Once again the Nemesis system shines, allowing players to forge their own unique stories, even if the game tries to do too much with it at times. Getting caught in its tangle of new systems and features can be frustrating, but there’s still a great open world game here.
  45. Oct 5, 2017
    80
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War is stellar sequel to a surprisingly great game. The Nemesis System remains the real star of the show in all of its expanded glory, and while its dynamic brilliance threatens to make the main story missions seem boring by comparison, there's enough heft to the overall package that you can look past its shortcomings. In the barrage of blockbusters hitting PS4 over the next few months, Shadow of War should not be missed.
  46. 80
    The sequel boxes are generally ticked off with Shadow of War, it’s bigger, better, and a touch more ambitious than Shadow of Mordor was, but there are aspects that feel somewhat dated now, and there’s a lack of polish to certain controls that dilutes the fun just a smidgen. The Nemesis system remains the star, and with the addition of sieges and tribes, it’s a star that burns brighter than ever.
  47. Oct 18, 2017
    79
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War’s extensive orc variety and improved nemesis system blends extremely well with its hectic combat. While the story is better than the original, the implementation of quests is poor. Attacking and defending forts is great, although overused in the already lengthy campaign.
  48. Nov 2, 2017
    75
    SoW is a great game, until it isn’t. And it’s such a shame, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think you’d all enjoy it. If you want an open world fantasy adventure, excellent and enjoyable combat, personal grudges with a variety of excellent uruk friends, and like spidery women, angst, and Gollum cameos, play it. But, like Brad Pitt, you don’t want what’s in the box.
  49. Oct 19, 2017
    75
    An improvement over the original in almost every way, though the focus on micro-transactions does take a lot of the fun out of it.
  50. Oct 12, 2017
    75
    Middle Earth: Shadow of War can be defined as “The game Shadow of Mordor should have been.” The game is good and fun on the one hand, its new and improved Nemesis and Gear systems are wonderful and make its epic combats even better, especially the siege battles. On the other hand, the game suffers from a bad narrative and wrong division to acts, despite its great plot, and the many side missions begin to feel repetitive at some point.
  51. Oct 10, 2017
    75
    The Nemesis system is the best part of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, but the rest of the game is overwhelmed with pointless grinding.
  52. 75
    The Shadow of War offers a solid gameplay, a compelling concept and a much more varied setting than the previous episode, with excellent production values and an awesome soundtrack. The sequel is bigger, better and stronger, but somehow caged in a repetitive framework. The game is full of good ideas and potential, that cannot be truly fulfilled due to a storytelling without personality and a huge but boring endgame.
  53. Oct 5, 2017
    75
    If you can get past the microtransactions, Shadow Wars seems set to provide a much meatier extended playtime than Shadow of Mordor ever offered. But more than anything, that’s my biggest disappointment with Middle-earth: Shadow of War: Everything about it seems to come with a caveat, some small annoyance or two that you need to dig past to get to the still-very-fun game underneath. The Nemesis System is still a wonder that has yet to be replicated. The movement and combat are thrilling.
  54. Nov 26, 2017
    70
    A handful of issues, some much more annoying than others, do not negate how solid of an action RPG Middle-earth: Shadow of War is. A tremendous achievement for the team at Monolith Productions, this is an exciting, if not sometimes slow, and too often unfair, title that manages to be as impressively fun as it is big.
  55. 70
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War still has a great mechanic in the Nemesis System but struggles to find the perfect game to fit around it. The missions are straightforward and repetitive and the fortress attacking and defending is stretched to breaking point. It just about manages to keep you entertained, but if every element was up to the quality of the Nemesis System then it would be amazing. Instead it's just good.
  56. If you like Tolkien fantasy and all you really care about is finely crafted and gratifying combat, then you’re bound to have a ton of fun. Buy with abandon. You’re in for dozens of hours of bloody and gruesome entertainment. If, however, you want a fantasy role-playing game with a little more story, a more thoughtfully designed world that’s a pleasure to explore, and a pace of play that allows for more time engaged in activities outside of battle, then keep shopping. Middle-earth: Shadow of War won’t be for you.
  57. Oct 14, 2017
    70
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War aims for the spectacle of the films, but falls short with a directionless, lore-breaking campaign.
  58. Oct 11, 2017
    70
    Middle-earth: Shadow of War has a lot of fluff that attempts to sabotage it, but the game succeeds in its effort to make its world worth roaming around and killing things in. Although I wasn't enthralled by the silly story beats that try to dance around telling an actual epic and somber tale, the ability to create my own stories with an expanded level of depth was more than sufficient to call this a step up.
  59. Oct 9, 2017
    70
    Many of the best moments in Shadow of War come from elements returning from the first game, along with a few squabbles between Celebrimbor and Talion that begin to give them some identity. Otherwise, orcs always take center stage. The combat isn’t terribly difficult, but it’s a lot of fun to rip enemies apart. The story isn’t very satisfying, but it’s amusing to assemble a cast of murderous Captains. Shadow of War is a successful update to a smart formula, but it lacks enough depth and diversity to keep us enthralled.
  60. Oct 5, 2017
    70
    Things like the storefront and the menus and loot system don't make the game terrible, it just would've been better without them. It tries to be larger than its predecessor, there are more abilities, more weapons, more Orcs, yet it leaves you wanting less. But at its core, it's a fun experience with brilliant moments that provide fascinating insight into some of the untold stories of Middle-earth. I just wish it had known when to stop.
  61. Oct 21, 2017
    65
    Middle-Earth Shadow of War has its spectacular moments, but it is tormented by odd design choices.
  62. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Nov 20, 2017
    60
    Big, brutal, and - alas - bloated, Shadow of War is a disappointing follow-up, conjuring battles of grand scale and then deadening their impact through grinding repetition. [December 2017, p.79]
  63. Edge Magazine
    Nov 9, 2017
    60
    A game of this size may please those who equate volume with value, but despite a handful of sensational moments, Shadow of War mostly proves that more can be so much less. [Christmas 2017, p.112]
  64. At its core Shadow of War is a tremendous amount of fun, but its good mechanical parts are under constant threat of suffocation from its gormless framework. The player's own story of an endless struggle against (and alongside) powerful orcs is enthralling, but the game's actual narrative is a boring trudge. The loop of killing powerful enemies for new loot is a great motivator, and building your army piece by piece to take strongholds seems like a perfect fit for this game, until you hit a wall and are faced with its app-style payed-for incentives.
  65. 60
    It’s addictive fun even with the paper-thin story, because the battling is so good.
  66. Oct 22, 2017
    60
    This core action and the complex systems that underpin it are fun enough to play around with that it's a real shame that so many issues exist around the edges of this package, because those issues eventually started to diminish my enjoyment of the game's good parts.
  67. Oct 14, 2017
    60
    If Talion is supposed to represent a better future for Middle-earth, Shadow of War is the first time Middle-earth has seemed better off left to the orcs.
  68. Oct 26, 2017
    50
    Shadow of War is an inconsistent mess of repetitive gameplay, really bad implemented fighting system, gameplay exploits and an indifferent and lacking respect for the original material story. The presentation is reminiscent of the 360 era and hastiness is a common feature for every aspect of the game.
  69. 50
    The whole experience feels so utterly soulless it’s hard to really care about any of it. It feels like a game that has been carefully pieced together with every feature, bit of narrative and gameplay moment structured out of commercial desire, rather than any love or respect for the Lord of the Rings franchise. And as far as I'm concerned, for a game that's quite explicitly a Lord of the Rings game, that's a fail.
This publication does not provide a score for their reviews.
This publication has not posted a final review score yet.
These unscored reviews do not factor into the Metascore calculation.
  1. Oct 5, 2017
    A greatly expanded and improved action game let down by a dreadful story.
  2. Oct 5, 2017
    Despite my criticisms, Shadow of War’s purgatory is seductive. Technically, it is the only game doing the nemesis system these days, and so there’s nowhere else to get this stuff, even as grimly executed as it is, anywhere else. When the game informed me that there would be no turning back after the final mission, I took stock of the nemesis board. I stopped and dominated more even more orcs. I didn’t need them. By this point, I was drowning in orcs. But like a Ring of Power whispering in my ear, I just couldn’t let go.
  3. Oct 11, 2017
    The game has been affected by the loot box system...The game is compulsively playable.
  4. Oct 14, 2017
    There are times when Shadow of War’s increased scope is a good thing — when you’re fighting off towering lava monsters or giant fire-breathing dragons, for instance — but many of the additions actually take away from the experience. It’s big for the sake of big. And that makes it harder to truly hate an orc.
User Score
4.4

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 1352 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Oct 10, 2017
    1
    Decent game but what's with the loot crates? I pay for game full prize so why should I pay more? Nope. Do not buy. I'm boycotting this kind ofDecent game but what's with the loot crates? I pay for game full prize so why should I pay more? Nope. Do not buy. I'm boycotting this kind of marketing. Here and in Battlefront. Full Review »
  2. Oct 10, 2017
    10
    WTF Man, all people are absolutely stupid who whining and complaining about Microtransaction on games if they love games and enjoying games soWTF Man, all people are absolutely stupid who whining and complaining about Microtransaction on games if they love games and enjoying games so far.. just ignore it and don't bother pay Microtransactions if they don't like pay for anything that interesting them. SMH. this game is hell fantastic game ever i playing on my PS4 Pro.. graphic look great but not better than AC Origins. gameplay is great. Story is very interesting. i having alot fun playing this for 4 hours now. Full Review »
  3. Oct 10, 2017
    0
    From an AC-alike game to a Lineage clone. Griiiinding, griiiinding, griiiinding! And then a little bit of grinding, again! Or... it isFrom an AC-alike game to a Lineage clone. Griiiinding, griiiinding, griiiinding! And then a little bit of grinding, again! Or... it is pay-to-win! Actual game ending is hiding on the other side of "loot-boxes-wall" wich requires either or dontaing hundreds of dollars to get legendary orcs (they are NOT availible via in-game drop, maximum that you can get are epics ones) - or dozens of hours of mindless grinding via orc hunting or abusing the nemesis system. Which, in it's case, is really merciless to even smallest mistakes in the process of raising your perfect orc. I would say that this game poisonoed lootbox system - but lootbox system itself poisoned microtransaction system a couple of years ago. Full Review »