Middle Earth: Shadow of War had a rather controversial launch, with gamers criticizing the lootboxes and the repetitive gameplay. However, the game got a warm reception from the critics who praised the expanded nemesis system and it also won multiple awards. Now that the dust has settled, Monolith has released the Blade of Galadriel story expansion pack.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers regarding the base game, so if you haven’t completed Shadow of War and plan to do so, stop reading. You have been warned.
Blade of Galadriel
Blade of Galadriel sees the player take control of the enigmatic Eltariel, an assassin working for Lady Galadriel sent to Mordor to hunt down the Nazghul. In the aftermath of Shadow of War’s story, after Celebrimbor left him to die, Talion managed to survive by taking Isildur’s ring. However, the ring has started to corrupt the ranger and now Eltariel has been sent to stop him.
The gameplay doesn’t change much due to the transition from Talion to Eltariel as the player character. She is more agile and faster but lacks Talion’s brute strength. Furthermore, she is also equipped with Lady Galadriel’s light, which can blind enemies allowing easier executions. Lastly, a few moves have been swapped to make the movement more fluid. Nothing significant, but it serves the purpose.
Blade of Galadriel is supposed to be an expansion pack, but it didn’t take me more than 3-4 hours to complete the campaign, excluding the grindy side quests. Speaking of the side quests, Blade of Galadriel suffers from the same repetitiveness as the base game. The side quests involve killing a captain or a buffed up orc to gain lost elven artifacts. Almost all of them feel the same, find a captain, kill him, take gear, repeat. At least the half a dozen that I played sure did.
The campaign in Blade of Galadriel isn’t anything special either. To be honest, there aren’t many story missions, and roughly half of them task the player with conquering the forts, just like in the base game (again). It isn’t that grindy fortunately. There are a few amusing missions in between though, featuring some interesting orcs. The rest of them are basically Nazghul boss fights and a window into Talion’s days before he falls to the Dark Lord’s ring.
So is it worth buying?
The answer is quite simple. If you played Shadow of War and you liked it, then I would certainly recommend this expansion pack. In fact, Blade of Galadriel is priced at 15$ on the Steam store and 20$ on PSN. Not much in this day and age for an expansion pack. I mean these days publishers sell them for at least half the price of the base game, sometimes even more (EA, looking at you). However, if Shadow of War was too dull and boring for you due to the lack of variety, I’d suggest looking elsewhere as Blade of Galadriel offers more of the same, just in a different skin.