Parents' Guide to

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Brutally violent fantasy focused on pop culture franchise.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 15 parent reviews

age 13+


I've read some comments, and I know from owning both games that Shadow of War ≠ Shadow of Mordor. It is different. The game you are reviewing currently is Shadow of War. This, unlike Shadow of Mordor, has Uruk slaves. (Half-Orc) It does not have human slaves. This, in my opinion, was because they believed that human slaves was not what they wanted. The true reason, again in my opinion, that they rated the game M, was because it is frustrating at times. You need a certain level of maturity that other kids and early teens don't possess. I would know I'm 14. Other than that it teaches the lessons of: You can't always trust everyone's word. There is the maturity level again this does not say "Don't trust the people you love." or "Everyone is a backstabber." Another lesson it teaches is you sometimes have to make sacrifices for the greater good and that you will sometimes find great allies in "Your enemies". Overall, it is a great game with lots of good features.
age 14+

Very violent, but nothing a teen can't handle

My 15 and 14 year old sons have both played this game since the launch day, and they both are very into Lord of the Rings, which is why they wanted it so badly. They have other M games, like Halo:MCC or Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and they seem to be able to handle the game. The character fights orcs, not humans, and as long as your kid can distinguish between the real and world and fantasy, they should be able to handle it. It is an amazing game!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (15 ):
Kids say (26 ):

Monolith Productions' fantasy-action RPG sequel is fun but falls just short of being truly great. Middle-earth: Shadow of War manages to re-create the atmosphere of the films (if not the books) that inspired it. Its generic fantasy story isn't that compelling, but characters like the mysterious spider woman Shelob and the likable shield maiden Idril capture the magic of the novels. And the beautifully animated brawling combat, though it gradually grows repetitive, can be an absolute blast, making it seem believable that one man possessed of an elf spirit could counter and carve his way through endless orc armies. The Nemesis system -- which gives many powerful orcs distinct personalities and makes each fight against them a challenging grudge match -- has been subtly refined, forcing players to be even more strategic in preparing for and choosing their battles against the most bloodthirsty foes. And the process of building Talion's group of followers to hold back the forces of Sauron is both complex and rewarding.

All of this said, the sequel carries over some problems from the original -- and introduces a couple of new ones. The world lacks the detail and personality of similar games, such as those in the Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham series. And movement through the environment -- including climbing and leaping -- isn't as fluid and natural as it is in those games. It's easy to miss a precision jump onto a suspended line, or accidentally climb up a tower at the wrong angle. The presence of microtransactions serving as progression aids was also a misstep at launch, though this feature was removed months after release following player complaints. There's a ton of fun to be had wading into armies of orcs, and if that's all you're looking for, then Middle-earth: Shadow of War could be one of the most entertaining games you play all year, especially if the designers keep making further tweaks to sand off the game's rougher edges.

Game Details

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