Aragorn was right. A day may come when the courage of men fail but it is not THIS day.

Warriors of all shapes and sizes gathered at the Longboat Hall in downtown Toronto for the launch of Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

To everyone’s surprise, a couple of orcs showed up too but they were the friendly type, perhaps under the influence of a Charm Monster spell? If so, we may never know.

As the mead flowed freely and animal meats were roasted and devoured, Culture of Gaming managed to have a little one-on-one time with Shadow of War.

As Talion, we flew on a massive dragon over a village and then a castle, breathing fire down onto orcs as they scattered in every direction. We disembarked, slicing and dicing the rest of the orcs in the castle.

Once the ground combat took over we could see that maybe there has been a clear shift away from the stealth action of Shadow of Mordor. Attacking fortresses with your army and then defeating the bosses is definitely a challenge as is defeating enemy forces with trolls and all manner of siege machines at their beck and call.

Shadow of War is definitely a bigger combat canvass that paints a broader picture. It is massive force colliding against massive force, while as Talion engage in more personal one-on-one battles.

If the stealth portion has indeed been removed, I won’t really miss it. In the Lord of the Rings universe where the clashes were always one party or one force against another, the stealth system really out of place in Shadow of Mordor.

Our interest has been piqued and we cannot wait to dive into the larger adventure.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War will be released on October 10th on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Gallery Photos by John Powell and Di Gallo.

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