When comparing Dark Souls III vs Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the Slant community recommends Dark Souls III for most people. In the question“What are the best singleplayer games on Steam?” Dark Souls III is ranked 69th while Middle-earth: Shadow of War is ranked 81st. The most important reason people chose Dark Souls III is:
There's tons of lore everywhere for you to discover, but it isn't necessarily told through a conventional story. Weapons, armor, spells, and items you acquire have descriptions on them that tell you where in the game world they came from, any prominent characters they're associated with, and a bunch of other relevant and interesting information. So when you find examples of the lore scattered around the game, like bosses wearing a style of armor you read about, or an obscure NPC mentioned in a sword's description, you know the history behind the design and their purpose without that boss or character needing to explain anything to you. Even though the actual story in Dark Souls III is very thin, there's a lot to find under the surface if you're willing to look for it.
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Pro Extensive lore that's presented in unconventional ways
There's tons of lore everywhere for you to discover, but it isn't necessarily told through a conventional story.
Weapons, armor, spells, and items you acquire have descriptions on them that tell you where in the game world they came from, any prominent characters they're associated with, and a bunch of other relevant and interesting information. So when you find examples of the lore scattered around the game, like bosses wearing a style of armor you read about, or an obscure NPC mentioned in a sword's description, you know the history behind the design and their purpose without that boss or character needing to explain anything to you.
Even though the actual story in Dark Souls III is very thin, there's a lot to find under the surface if you're willing to look for it.
Pro Stunning environments
The world of Dark Souls 3 looks amazing, so you may often feel the need to stop and take in the beautiful sights. This can be the sheer size of structures, mountains, or caves. It can also be the decorations, inscriptions, or details in a room. There's always so much to look at, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in its world.
Pro Can give a great feeling of accomplishment
The Dark Souls series is known for its difficulty and Dark Souls 3 is no exception. It's filled with difficult enemies and tough boss battles, able to cause you grief on more than one occasion. However, every time you progress to the next safe spot or defeat a boss you'll often be filled with a mix of joy and relief. Beating this game will almost certainly feel like an achievement.
Pro Unpredictable boss battles
The boss battles in Dark Souls 3 consist of several phases, changing up how the bosses fight over the course of the battle. They will gain new abilities, become more aggressive, or reveal various nasty surprises. This creates an enjoyable experience that is different from most modern games where bosses are just glorified pincushions.
Pro A great variety of equipment for almost any playstyle
You'll be finding new pieces of equipment quite often, giving you many options to choose from. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to pick the equipment that best suits your playstyle.
For example, heavy armor will make you move slower, but you'll be better protected. Greatswords have a wide reach, but you swing them really slow. Conversely a dagger is very fast but it has a horrible reach.
Pro Solid controls
This game feels and plays really well. Your character responds to button inputs immediately and it almost never feels like you're losing control over it. The control scheme can also be customized, giving you the option of a more personalized experience.
Pro Great combat system
Dark Souls 3 is a very fast-paced game but it's not just about having quick reflexes. A lot of the combat comes down to exploiting your enemies. To do that, you have to learn their patterns and attack the moment they pause or perform a telegraphed attack. This creates a combat system, which rewards awareness and patience, and is satisfying to master, even if you don't have extraordinary reflexes.
Pro Character connections make for a compelling experience
Shadow of War uses the Nemesis system to create a more immersive and alive-feeling world. Thanks to it, orc leaders have names, ranks, titles, tribes they belong to, and most importantly, connections to other orc leaders.
For example, an orc leader might be at war with another orc leader. This conflict won't end until one of them dies. There are also orcs that are considered blood brothers, having unwavering loyalty to each other. Because of this, don't be too surprised if you ever get betrayed by one of your followers that's trying to do right by his blood brother.
Additionally, the leaders you fight will also develop connections with you. Orcs that you've killed or spared, may come back with scars, recalling your previous encounter and vowing to exact vengeance. Orcs that you've escaped from will mock you for being a chicken, and so forth. The gradual creation of this web of connections is very enjoyable and sometimes even more compelling than the game's main story.
Pro Addictive gear collection fuels your thirst for orc blood
As you kill orc leaders, they'll drop random quality gear items, ranging from common rarity every-orc weapons/armor to legendary rarity artifacts with unique names. Each item serves to improve your character, providing various stat increases and damage bonuses. You can also upgrade gear with gems or via challenges that usually involve killing orcs, bolstering your strength even further. On top of that, there are set bonuses for legendary items, giving you special abilities such as your hits applying explosive poison on regular enemies. It's very exciting seeing what gear piece an orc leader will drop once you lob his head off, causing you to constantly seek out new victims.
Pro Satisfying combat
Shadow of War gives one of the better feeling combat systems in recent times, allowing you to be either stealthy or go for direct confrontations.
If you choose to be stealthy, you can skewer unsuspecting orcs from behind with your dagger, drop onto them from a building while impaling them with your sword, or just pierce them from afar with your bow.
If you choose a direct confrontation, it's a really quick-paced and brutal showdown against your enemies with your chosen melee weapon. You weave combos against enemies, dodging, parrying, and countering enemy attacks, which ends in a devastating finishing move, resulting in a mutilated or decapitated orc.
Whichever method you choose, the combat flows really well and you always feel like a force to be reckoned with.
Pro You can lead an orc army and expand your own dominion
As part of the Nemesis system, you can recruit orc leaders after you've bested them in combat. Each one has his own unique strengths and weaknesses, so making the best possible army for conquering enemy territories might take a while.
For example, an orc leader can be completely immune to ranged attacks, but can take increased damage from explosions. You should take such an orc leader on assaults against fortresses filled with archers but be wary of the slightest hints of any bombs.
Once you've finished building a sizeable force, you can assault a fortresses. If you succeed in the assault, you'll take over a territory, allowing you to install your own orc leader as the ruler. With enough effort you'll gradually take over Mordor and its surrounding lands.
Shadow of War makes you feel like a recruiter, general, and a ruler, which is very empowering and a lot of fun.
Con Poorly tuned dynamic visiblity
You may notice some texture pop in while sharply turning the camera. It can be somewhat distracting if you notice it, but most of the time you won't because it happens in the distance.
Con Occasional performance issues
There are portions of the game that will have noticeable framerate drops, which can negatively affect the gameplay. Most of the fault lies with the game engine, so getting better hardware won't help that much.
Con It's hard
You should try avoiding the trap of great review scores since most of them fail to mention the difficulty. It's simply put - hard. A lot of the combat requires quick reflexes, good mechanics, and the mental fortitude to carry on after failing for hours. If you're new to the Souls-like genre or simply want to enjoy a relaxing evening playing a video game, you most likely won't enjoy Dark Souls III.
Con Poor support for mouse+keyboard control
The default DS3 key/button bindings actually prevent full use of certain weapons by requiring the shift key to be pressed and not-pressed simultaneously. Rebinding is possible, but limited by issues like the left mouse button overriding all others and certain bindings not actually working in game (e.g. Shift+MiddleClick).
Con Can get repetitive
The overall gameplay formula doesn't change much over the course of the game. You fight orcs, take over strongholds, upgrade your character, and collect blips on the world map. After a while it can start feeling like a grind, especially during long play sessions. This is made worse in the final stretch of the game where you have to fight through 20 consecutive stronghold battles without any story segments or exposition.
Con Unskippable cutscenes disrupt the flow of the gameplay
Every time an orc leader enters the screen, there is an unskippable cutscene where he rambles a bit, focusing the camera on him and halting combat until the cutscene ends. This usually happens as you're fighting another enemy, potentially disrupting your rhythm, which can be really frustrating, especially if mess up your combo or take an unnecessary hit after the cutscene.