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Shadow Of War Makes Collecting Collectibles A Bit More Bearable
A problem with open world games that we have seen so much is how they handle collectables. There are games that make use of it brilliantly. Just look at good 3D platformers- it either serves as a goal and a reward for achieving some feats, or a trail to follow and guide the player through a path. Bad collectibles are when they are placed with no rhyme or reason, scattered way too randomly and offer meagre rewards for the effort.
Shadow Of War isn’t ticking all those boxes, but at least its collectibles are a bit more bearable to get.
There are three main collectibles in Shadow Of War- two of them returns from Shadow Of Mordor but with some changes: Ithildin, Artifacts and Shelob’s Memory. The former two now have different gimmicks this time- you just collect the Artifacts this time, no need to rotate to find extra lore, while Ithildin now are words that are parts of a poem, completing it will open a secret door in each region. Shelob’s Memory also serves as another lore dispenser, and here you have to rotate the right image. Then there’s the three Haedir towers in each region you have to climb and reveal all these collectables.
Why it feels more manageable to collect these is due to the fact they are all separated in various regions, and each region map is easy enough to navigate from one edge of it to another. Thus, it makes the collectible count seem smaller. You can also put a tracker and see its exact location once discovered from the tower, making it more bearable to collect.
Having it be engaging also makes them less than just to tick checkboxes. Some can be a chore- highlighting all the collectibles from a tower could have been a horrible pixel hunt game like Dragon Age Inquisition, but there’s helpful radar pings that will point you in the right direction. Collecting Ithildin is a matter of going in Wraith mode, grabbing it and twirling the analog sticks a bit to make the word clear. Shelob’s Memory involves you lining up mirror pieces to form an image by rotating the view. The most boring has to be the Artifacts, since it’s just a straight-up collectible this time, but at least the voice-over for the lore bytes are well delivered.
The Ithildin has to be the best one. After collecting all the words in a region, you can then unlock a door to get part of a Legendary gear set. But you have to solve a puzzle first. That is fill in the blanks with the correct words. Finally, all those primary school English questions appear in video game form! This could be seen as a tacky puzzle minigame in vein of Mass Effect Andromeda’s sudoku puzzles, but given that the world is inspired by literature, it sort of make sense that you need to complete poems.
Each collectible will net you extra skill points once you’ve cleared them all per region, with a special skill unlocked after clearing them all, which is worth doing if you want to explore all the options you can have. And given how easy, but still engaging the collectibles are, it should not be a problem for most people to get them all.
A full review for Shadow Of War will be ready soon.