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Middle Earth: Shadow of War Fan Review

Shadow of War continues the narrative from Shadow of Mordor, following Talion who is still infused with the spirit of the elf lord Celebrimbor. Talion and Celebrimbor travel to Mt. Doom, where they forge a new Ring of Power free of Sauron’s corruption. However, once the Ring is complete, Celebrimbor is abducted and held hostage by Shelob, who asks Talion to hand over the Ring in exchange for Celebrimbor. Talion reluctantly agrees and gives the Ring to Shelob, who claims they have a common enemy in Sauron. She uses the Ring to see into the future and directs Talion to the last Gondorian stronghold in Mordor, Minas Ithil, which is under siege by Sauron’s forces due to the city’s possession of a valuable Palantir. The Palantir would allow whoever possesses it to see anything they wish, making it a valuable tool for Celebrimbor and a dangerous weapon for Sauron.

Talion travels to Minas Ithil and quickly comes to odds with Celebrimbor. Talion wants to help his fellow Gondorians, while Celebrimbor believes the city is already lost and the retrieval of the Palantir must take priority. Talion reasons that protecting Minas Ithil will also protect the Palantir and he meets up with the city’s defenders: General Castamir, his daughter Idril, and his lieutenant Baranor. Together, they sabotage Orcish efforts to break into the city until Castamir betrays them, allowing the Orcs to breach the gates and handing over the Palantir to the Witch King of Angmar in return for sparing Idril. Castamir is killed by the Witch-King and Talion is barely able to escape thanks to the help of Eltariel, an Elven assassin working on Galadriel’s behalf. The Witch King seizes Minas Ithil, renaming it Minas Morgul. With the Palantir, Sauron realizes that Shelob is holding Celebrimbor’s Ring and sends the Nazgûl to attack her. Talion is able to save Shelob, who returns the Ring to him and tells him that the fate of Middle Earth is in his hands.

With the Ring back in his possession, Talion begins to use its power to dominate Orcs and build his army. During this time, he assists Idril and Baranor in rescuing Gondorian survivors, helps the forest god Carnen defeat the Balrog Tar Goroth and the necromancer Zog, is betrayed by one of his followers, and hunts the Nazgûl alongside Eltariel. Eventually, Talion builds up enough strength to assault Sauron’s fortress directly. During the battle, Talion faces Isildur, now corrupted into a Nazgûl. Talion manages to defeat Isildur, but upon seeing his memories of how he was corrupted by the One Ring, decides to destroy Isildur and release his spirit rather than dominate him. Celebrimbor remarks angrily that Isildur would have been a valuable asset to their cause, leading Talion to realize that Celebrimbor wishes to replace Sauron by dominating him rather than destroying him. Talion refuses to follow Celebrimbor’s orders any more, causing the wraith to abandon him and possess Eltariel instead.

Without Celebrimbor or the ring, Talion begins to die, but is visited by Shelob in a vision. Shelob informs him that if Talion had gone on to fight Sauron, they’d have succeeded and Celebrimbor would have enslaved Sauron and marched on the rest of Middle Earth. She implores Talion to continue to fight to contain the darkness within Mordor. Deciding to put his fate in his own hands, Talion picks up the Ring of Power Isildur was wearing to preserve his own life. He then uses the power of Isildur’s Ring to assault and seize Minas Morgul, defeating the Witch King in the process. Talion then takes possession of the Palantir and observes Celebrimbor and Eltariel making their assault on Sauron. The two manage to gain the upper hand and Celebrimbor attempts to dominate Sauron, only for Sauron to cut off Eltariel’s ring finger and merge himself with Celebrimbor. As a result, Sauron and Celebrimbor remain trapped in Sauron’s tower in the form of a flaming eye as their spirits continue to battle for dominance. Talion decides to use Minas Morgul as a fortress to keep Sauron’s forces contained in Mordor.

Decades later, Talion eventually succumbs to the corruption of Isildur’s Ring, and joins Sauron’s forces as a Nazgûl, where he goes with the others to hunt Frodo and the One Ring. However, with the destruction of Sauron and the One Ring, Talion dies with the rest of the Nazgûl and his spirit is freed. He is last seen in the afterlife discarding his weapons and armor as he walks off into the sunrise.

Fan Review : 43% Excellent
Good: 43% | Average: 7% | Poor: 7%

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