Spoilers. Does that even really matter though? There’s no way that this is legit canon.
I fought a forest god who transformed into a cat, a giant, and a dragon. I took it down with 4 arrows per transform. Then a Balrog was summoned and I shot arrows at its fire back to make it run away. Then I jumped on the forest god (in all 3 forms) to attack the Balrog, who eventually fell through the ice and froze in the water. I am trying to find an adequate analogy to this…sort of like a squirrel taking down Superman. It makes no sense.
Did you know that Isildur, the guy who cut of Sauron’s hand to get the ring, was turned into a Nazgul? I learned that. Oh, he can summon drakes at will too. (had 4 at once in one battle)
Didja know that Celebrimbor (the forger of most of the rings with Sauron) nearly possessed Sauron to take over the world? Cause Celebrimbor forged another ring (perfect) without Sauron?
Didja know that Shelob used to sleep with Sauron? That she can tell the future? That she’s actually pro-human? Ya know, Ungoliant’s kid, the one that brought darkness to the entire world.
I mentioned in the previous post on this game that lore was out the door. It was a fun fantasy pitch to start. By the end, it’s parallel-universe logic being applied. I like the LOTR lore and I consider myself well-versed. This makes no sense.
Most of it works and works well. There are skills that are way more powerful than others. Fire explosions seem to clear entire armies. Graug summons clear maps. Dragons are powerful but hit too many people. Stealth attacks, in particular chain attacks, are amazing. Freezing captains is the way to go. Groups of captains with competing strengths make combat different enough.
Items, those work a bit less. Stats on everything but Legendaries are randomized. This results in god-rolls. I have a particular set of items that applies Curse, Poison and Fire on critical hits. Others that increase that damage (which is much higher than weapon damage). And a bow that fill focus when I hit something, making it for near infinite focus while I have arrows. Actual damage or health increases are meaningless when you have these kinds of passive stats. Getting more damage from beasts is useless compared to setting every captain on fire/poison/curse with 2 swords hits (or a headshot).
Gems don’t make a lot of sense. There are 5 tiers. It takes 3 gems of one tier to move to the next. I get the basic tier most often, with maybe 10% on the 2nd. After all my time playing (level 40, all side missions, all keeps taken, all outposts cleared…) I have 1 max level gem that I don’t even use.
The quests are solid and fit the story. The flashback missions all work to perfect a given skill, and in 90% of the cases you can 3 star it in a few tries. There are a few where you need to be extremely lucky/timely, and that final reward is relatively useless (gems). There just seems to always be something neat to do.
But that doesn’t really matter much, as most of the game is the minute-to-minute movement through the world, the randomness of the orcs, and the feel of control in combat. All of that, without exception, is amazing. It’s just plain fun to play. The sum of the parts is so much more here than the pieces.
After the first game, I thought we’d see more of the nemesis system in other games. Bits and pieces show up in the rogue-likes, but nothing that took it to the next level. It’s a stronger system here. I’ve yet to see any duplicates and no one is impossible. The next thing to see will be enemy adaptation – machine learning. Skynet anyone?
All told, highly recommended.