When Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was released, many reviews compared the game to Assassin’s Creed. Its stealth and combat gameplay seemed to be heavily inspired by Ubisoft’s hit action-adventure series, so much so that some even accused developer Monolith Productions of ripping off that franchise.
Monolith seems to be taking those accusations and comparisons in its stride though, fully embracing them with the sequel, Middle-earth Shadow of War. The game releases next week on PC and consoles and critics testing out the game have already discovered an Assassin’s Creed Easter egg. As protagonist Talion roams through the world, he may hear an NPC remark “I’m an assassin” to which their buddy replies with “we’re all assassins, it’s like a creed!”
Reviews note that Middle-earth: Shadow of War is filled to the brim with little NPC conversations like this. And while this conversation at the orc outpost seems to be the only one with a funny Easter egg so far, more may be uncovered as players steadily make their way through the game. It should also be noted that comedian Kumil Nanjiani voices an orc in the game. As such, even if the other orc conversations don’t have Easter eggs, they are still worth listening to.
Moreover, as Shadow of War‘s open-world is much bigger than that of Shadow of Mordor, it stands to reason that the world itself (outside of NPC dialogue) contains some interesting Easter eggs as well. Monolith also described the setting as “unique”, “varied” and more “dynamic” which are buzzwords that essentially means that the new game both looks and feels better than its predecessor.
Although fans will welcome the improved game world and all of its secrets and hidden wonders, it’s unclear whether this will be enough to bring doubters back into the fray. The game may be called Middle-earth: Shadow of War but it’s the controversy surrounding the game’s loot boxes that has really cast a shadow over the new release. Many prospective players have voiced their concern over the mechanic, questioning whether that sort of business model is really necessary for a premium priced game.
The allure of funny orcs, fantasy RPG mechanics and Assassin’s Creed-like movement, may prevail, though, seeing millions of players pick up the game and join the hunt for more Easter eggs. But only time will tell.