16 October 2017 | desrocchi
A few steps back from the first game
(I won't mention the loot-box debacle and I didn't count it in the review)
tl;dr: they added a lot of things but all unfun
As much as I liked Shadow of Mordor I expected this game to introduce more *fun* mechanics, instead they went a few steps backwards transforming what was pretty much a flawless fighting mechanic to a mess.
First of all every action from Talion takes way too much time, so much that it's very improbable to have him complete one without being interrupted by some other attack. This is also because there are too many enemies at a time attacking you from all sides: being that every single action can be interrupted by any attack and that many enemies have uncounterable attacks you are pretty much engaging in a hit and run fighting style that if very far from being epic. The auto targeting system also cannot understand which enemy you actually want to attack and sometimes you can see Talion doing a 180 and waste an execution on a minion instead of the boss you were aiming for.
Secondarily they overdid it with a uselessly bloated ability "tree": every ability can only have one modifier, no matter how many skill points you pour in it. This makes the progression useless since once you unlock a modifier you are pretty much set, you won't gain any more power by leveling more. Sure, you can choose a more suitable set of modifications for each encounter: but it just means spending more time in the selection menu than actually playing the game.
The loot, even the legendary one, has such poor choice of affixes that some of the requirements needed to unlock them makes you say, "eff it, I'll just throw it away." "Gain 4 elf shot when killing someone while mounting a karagor"? "Increase crit damage of 29% against enemies on fire"? "Gain 0.7 points of might when killing a frozen enemy"? Oh please, don't let me have too much power! -.-
"Land 5 headshots on poisoned enemies", "kill 5 enemies while you are poisoned"... and I should do this so I can have a 22% chance to poison an enemy hit by a headshot? No thanks.
Lastly, they created all these new enemy abilities but did not check to see if some of those were overpowered when added together.
The second warlord I had to face was pretty much invulnerable to any kind of attack from the front, he could not be vaulted or disrupted or frozen, arrow immune, he sticked with his back to the wall so that I could not run behind him, all the while an infinite horde of minions kept coming at me and archers rained arrows from the balconies.
The only weakness he had was that he was vulnerable to executions, so I had to build up enough might to perform one and run like a headless chicken towards the boss hoping no arrow and no ranged attack from his 8 archers and 4 hunters would hit me before finally landing a hit that would take about 20% off of his life.
Once I finally did it I did not feel like I overcame a challenge, I felt like I had to cheat through a badly implemented mechanic.