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Brilliant, unique open world game Shadow of War is now just $3

Middle earth Shadow of War is the cheapest it has ever been on Steam, netting you the revolutionary Nemesis system for 95% off right now.

Middle-Earth Shadow of War Steam summer sale: a man with long brown hair

One incredible mechanic can make an entire game worthy of your time. The time loop of Outer Wilds, the social interaction of Dark Souls, and the titular portals of Portal are all incredible ideas pushed to their limit. A singular design objective is the centerpiece of the experience, letting everything else revolve around it. Middle-earth: Shadow of War’s phenomenal Nemesis system is exactly that, turning a solid open-world fantasy adventure into an unforgettable one – and it’s currently less than $3.

On the surface, Middle-earth: Shadow of War is your typical open-world game. You explore multiple regions, liberate towers and outposts, and use a blend of stealth and fluid third-person combat in your approach. If you’ve played any Ubisoft game since Assassin’s Creed 2, you’re already familiar with how Shadow of Mordor works.

The Nemesis system sets it apart, though, turning the overworld into a living, breathing place where every enemy is unpredictable. You’re taking on an army of orcs, but instead of every single ugly mug bouncing off you like rubber cannon fodder, a procedural generation system gives the high-ranking officials unique, reactive personalities. You never know what’s going to happen.

If an orc kills you they might get a promotion, or if you force them to retreat they might come back stronger and covered in scars. The orcs’ own hierarchy is fluid, so you need to extract intelligence from the officers, avoid ambushes, and study their strengths and weaknesses. No one strategy works either, as built-in artificial intelligence helps the orcs counteract the strategies you keep spamming most, so you always want to remain one step ahead.

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That’s not where Shadow of War’s Nemesis system ends though, as you need to recruit orcs to your side too. These orcs infiltrate fortresses, work side by side with others only to betray them, call upon their forces to act as reinforcements, and can sometimes even save your life at the last second. There’s so much dynamism to the Nemesis system, and it turns a static open world into one where anything can happen at any moment. Player choice becomes exponentially more reactive, and Shadow of War is elevated because of that.

It’s a shame then that Warner Bros. patented the Nemesis system, preventing any studios not owned by WB from using the mechanic. Shadow of Mordor developer Monolith Productions is making a Wonder Woman game with the Nemesis system, but we still don’t have a release date for that game yet.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is at a new historical low on Steam for 95% off until Thursday July 11, so expect to pay just $2.49 / £1.74. Alternatively, the complete edition with all the DLC is 90% off at $5.99 / £3.99 right here. There’s also a free demo for you to try before you buy.

There are plenty of fantasy games to get lost in alongside the realms of Lord of the Rings, and loads of RPGs with dense systems and stories as well.

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