• Jim Sterling

Metabombed: Shadow Of War ‘Should Be Quarantined And Destroyed’


Don’t even pretend you didn’t see this coming a mile away.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of War has become more famous for its boundary-pushing loot box system than anything else – and that’s a good thing, because any game designed to fleece its customers and exploit those with addictive personalities deserves to be known for nothing else.


While most professional critics glossed over the microtransactions – which, for all their defenders, really have had a dire impact on the game’s entire structure – many others have voiced extreme displeasure at this gacha simulator passing itself off as a “AAA” game.


And you know what means… it’s time for a METABOMB.

The PS4 version got off lightest, with an average user review score of 3.5. The Xbox One version has an average of 2.8 while the PC alternative brings up the rear with 2.6. Check ’em out for yourself if you’re brave.


Common criticisms are exactly what one might expect – the microtransactions and other DLC shenanigans are well documented, while others complain about the (quite related) grind enforced upon players.


As always, I’ve scoured the wastes of Mordor to bring you the funniest, strangest, brightest and bestest user reviews Metacritic has to offer.


ConnorMak kicks things off, but is adamant their score isn’t about the microtransactions (though personally I’d say that the grind is inherently tied to them).

No, the low score is not because of the infamous micro transactions. It’s because the game is a frustrating and boring grind. Wait until after Xmas and pick it up for under $20. $10 if you wait longer. (4/10)

Some reviews are… unique… in their critical approach. Here’s Valtazarkane with a sizzlingly hot take.

A strong middle-aged man. A strong middle-aged man.A strong middle-aged man.A strong middle-aged man.A strong middle-aged man.A strong middle-aged man.A strong middle-aged man. (5/10)

IonStorm delivers some simple truth.

The game would have been great if it wasn’t made intentionally grindy so that I pay real money for what is essentially cheat codes also known as loot boxes. These people have no shame. (0/10)

Meanwhile, ryxerg is an adamant defender of the game’s economy, sadly parroting the propaganda utilized to make microtransactions sound okay.

All the microtransactions are LIES! you can purchase every item in the game via daily mission, and the grinding system are Middle-Earth WAY, if you don’t like it just don’t buy the game! The story are a little bit linear but its good anyway, the main reason you want to buy this game is about the gameplay not the story. The gameplay looks nice, but the control of the main char are not too good, i play it on my ps4 slim and the main char sometimes do something that i don’t want him to do. Overall the game is good but need some improvement at graphic and controlling (7/10)

Sure, the game’s grind and repetitiveness can fuck off, but Ubisoft comparisons are a bit harsh, axel64701. Actually no, they’re very apt. Carry on, even if your review reads like a “presidential” tweet.

Wow , this is like a ubisoft game, it’s so boring,so repetitive ,so grindy..and ACT 4 is a disgrace to us all, just to take some bucks from microtransactions… very very low game, we have to discourage this type of games. (0/10)

See, xavla91 gets it.

“You don’t need lootboxes and can play through the whole game without a problem” that is if you are willing to grind your ass off with repetitive battles to slowly raise your level… The beginning is fun and progressing as expected, but after leaving Minas Tirith you are suddenly stuck with endless grinding and meaningless story missions on the side…. Thanks to the proper early phase it does not get ZERO points as it deserves for being a greedy **** (3/10)

I’m going to truncate hollday_hawk’s giant unbroken block of text, but I need to post highlights because this attitude is a major problem. Here, the reviewer claims microtransactions have NO impact on the game, but then complains about all the ways the game’s design – which has been built entirely to make microtransactions enticing – has impacted their experience.

The disconnect people have between these two things is an issue that needs rectifying.

I’d like to start by saying that micro-transactions have almost no affect on the game. I’m one trophy away from beating the game while platinuming it on PS4 and have not spent a cent on the game. If today’s gaming community is foolish enough to buy them then I can’t blame the developers for putting them in. With that said, Shadow of War is one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had in a while… … There are far too many collectables, far too many missions for each faction, and the end-game fortress capture is horrible. I can’t believe that when this game was playtested (and it’s polished enough that I know it was well playtested) no one said “doing the same type of mission four times isn’t fun, how about making fewer, but more memorable missions.”… … I’ll just say that the final chapter of the game requires to defend your forts over and over again, each fort multiple times. This mechanic goes from amazing to beyond annoying so quickly. I found myself tired of it before the final act… … The developers should have left it a short, fun romp leaving you wanting more instead of a long, drawn out process leaving you wishing it was over. (6/10)

Others, like nLcouou, see the grind for what it really is.

An otherwise good game ruined by loot-boxes, micro-transactions, pre-order bonuses and different editions. I advise anyone to boycott this game and all other games with these anti-consumer business strategies. Even just buying the game but not the scummy stuff still shows the publisher that you’re okay paying for a game where it is in it, regardless of if you use it or not. They will intentionally make the game more tedious and/or difficult if you don’t buy their greddy sh!!t to encourage you to buy it. Want an example? Just look at GTA V Online. While it might not seem too devastating now, If we allow this stuff to happen, it will only get worse over time. If you pay for a AAA priced game you should get the full experience, no excuses (real expansions made afterwards is an exception, of course). (0/10)

Oh my God… did this person just say that people who dislike Shadow of War are fucking TERRORISTS? Uh, samadhi2016, my friend, what drugs do you have and can I have some of your drugs?

I consider that metacritic should take urgent action against people who put zero (0) to a game causing great damage, many will be haters and other terrorist companies, a game is a play and however bad it may be may lead a 4 or 5 of note, but zero ?, I hope metacritic take this orientation pages as 3d games and are taking with the people hater, this game is a good game, in history, playability and fulfills its mission (9/10)

GoddamnVIctor almost gets it, but again their disconnect suggests maybe I need to do a video about how microtransactions actually change the way games work.

A sad thing about this game is that the lootbox controversy is completely taking attention away from how much this game is lacking in creativity as a sequel, the story is great for Tolkien fans but there is just SO MUCH GRIND to go thru, and there are so little improvements to core gameplay, graphics look the same, menus are still ugly as hell (I think they are the same of the past game even). The game deserves a hall of fame place on how little improvement they have made, it is the laziest sequel I have played ever and would really like my TIME back (0/10)

Basicbic is being hyperbolic with much of this, but the word “predatory” is one that can’t get used enough. That’s exactly what any system based on making money from “whales” is. It’s pure predation, plain n’ simple.

Full of predatory forced in-game purchases. This game developer lacks the integrity required to get your business. Avoid this game and any other game released by Warner Bros. at all costs. (0/10)

DeadlyLemming brings up something I don’t see mentioned enough. As bad as it is that the loot boxes are in the game, the process of using them is terribly implemented and a total drag.

Amazing underlying gameplay which makes it all the more heartbreaking that they leave a large amount of fun items and orcs exclusively for people who pay extra real money. Its like they tried to make the normal game as underwhelming as possible (for a game with such potential) so that you would have to buy golden/mithril chests just to have unique loot with any amount of flair. Sadly the loot/market system itself is also so cumbersome it is undoubted the game would be better off without it. (4/10)

I can’t find much wrong with Asallah’s interpretation. The skills part is relatable the more I play – I’m at a point in the game now where I keep gaining skill points but can’t even be bothered to spend them – there’s nothing I want anymore.

Huge fan of the first one, I bought this one day one. It was a huge mistake: -It’s exactly the same game -It’s full of bugs (character stuck, bugged quests,…) -It’s super repetitive -90% of skills are useless -Can’t skip Orcs’ speech (trust me after several hours you CAN’T stand it anymore) -Graphics are very meh -I’m ok with lore “twists” but here the story is super basic and poorly written -And the cherry on the cake: microtransactions, it’s totally UNACCEPTABLE -Secondary characters are super cliche If you don’t pay, either use a cheat engine to finish it or stop midway and watch the real end on youtube. It’s litteraly dozens of hours of grinding. (4/10)

As always, some of the 10/10 reviews act as aggressive marketing. Here’s Veronus chatting utter bullshit about the game. Trust you? I think not, friend.

Haven’t spent a penny on micro-transactions. This game rules them all and it’s easily a 10. Such a great job making this game EPIC and addictive. Unfortunately too many people have seen that you can buy orcs and items (if you choose) and assume that it’s a pay to win. Simply put that is dead wrong. Nothing is going to make this game EASIER, and while it might be nice to have some extra gear or orcs around they are not required, simple jump off the tower go recruit and don’t spend $$. A great job of giving players a choice has blown back in Monolith’s face because of a fickle demographic. Don’t miss out on this game because of cosmetics. Trust Me. (10/10)

theplayer23 keeps it concise.

Although the game looks very good – MT MT MT – oh and MT MT and than some more MT – i am blessed that waited till my friend buy this game. now I know I will never buy it. (4/10)

I’m adding Abdul701’s review because they’re the first person outside of me to suggest Warner Bros. Interactive is as bad as the rest of ’em.

I don’t normally write reviews, but I think this has to be said: don’t buy this game. If you buy this game, you are supporting one of the largest anti-consumer companies I’ve ever seen. I’d say that at this point, WB Games is even worse than EA. The only reward for the grind is more grind, lootboxes are unnescessary. Also microtranactions for loot things really? (0/10)

Exactly, Chronos1. Exactly.

Not acceptable to make a awesome game and then load it up with greedy MT and lootcrates.. sure you don’t have to buy them but it was clear they made the game extremely grindy towards the end in order to try to get lazy people to pay $$ for lootcrates.. this is why your game fails and guess what?? BF II will fail also because you **** never learn. (0/10)

CuteHat’s plan to “quarantine and destroy” games like Shadow of War absolutely delights me.

I shouldn’t have to pay full-price for a game with microtransactions, especially one with some awful lootbox casino. These games need to be destroyed, they should never exist. OpenCritic has the right of it, making a separate category for games with lootbox gambling, because they are indeed not games, they don’t exist to entertain, they’re worthless and stupid and need to be quarantined and destroyed, and the freaks who made this game need to be punished and ruined for it. (0/10)

I have no fucking idea what game easterfields played.

Anything less than a 9 for this masterpiece is a crime against gaming! This whole package is a masterpiece. People whining and wetting themselves over the loot feature havent even played the fantastic story mode. Buy this game and appreciate it for what it is, one of the most fun adventures (and best looking) around. Warning though! The AI, aka Nemesis System, is scary good. (10/10)

Sadly, GuerillaTaktics, this is where the “it’s just cosmetic” argument led us. As I’ve said a dozen times, you give publishers an inch and they take everything.

Can we stop with the microtransactions already? This is a single player only game and they still managed to throw in a loot box mechanic, the only games where microtransactions are a good thing is when they are purely cosmetic. (0/10)

That nun from Game of Thrones reviews games? And calls herself PsychedelicRA? Mindblowing!

Shame Shame Shame ! I’m very disappointed. Down with the micro-transactions !!! This is a real shame. I wait so long to get this money starving machine. (0/10)

When you’re done reading Dimitris29’s review, why not book yourself a trip to a beautiful little town called Stepford?

All the people are hating just cause of the microtransactions… They AREN’T required to complete the game. Stop b****ing and just enjoy the game. I’ve played for 5 hours so far and enjoyed every second. Story is good, gameplay is great, Nemesis system is fantastic. You complaining about the microtransactions isn’t gonna change anything. Just play the game without them. Everything about SoW is great! (10/10)

Well, I’ll give Wallasuko some points for effort. Delivery could’ve been better.

“I’m starvin. We aint had nothin’ but maggoty fans for three stinking years!” “Mmmyeah! why cant we haves some money!… what about microtransactions? they’re fresh!” “THEY ARE NOT FOR SELLING!” “What about loot boxes? they need those! Aww they look tasty!” “LOOKS LIKE SCAMS BACK ON THE MENU BOYS! RAAAAAHHHHH!” (0/10)

When I see reviews like ArchibaldDuke’s, I like to think The Jimquisition is rubbing off on people. No wonder GameStop’s sick of me.

Micro-transactions in $60 single player games. $60 single player games with premium editions. With gold editions. With.. well, you understand. The greed obviously knows no limits. (0/10)

Jesus Leenat40, I agree they’re bad, but you make even me look reserved about it.

Cancer cancer cancer cancer! Loot boxes are cancer and this game is cancer. Please do not buy it, if you don’t want to support trash like this. We need to put a foot down and say: NO. (0/10)

The nun’s back, and she’s changed her name to Celestinos.

they finished the game doing these microtransactions to be able to continue in the history, this is a shame! the gamer community has to come together for this kind of thing not to invade the consoles. shame, shame, shame! (0/10)

CccyrussS’ contribution just makes me giggle a lot.

I don’t dislike this game because of microtransactions. I hate this game because I hate the stupid Orcs jabbering at you for 5 minutes before and after you get killed by them. I just can’t stand it. Also the fighting is ridiculous dumb compared to something like Dark Souls. I just got the game yesterday and I’m bored to Tears by it and I almost threw my controller at my TV to try to get the Orcs to shut up and that’s not a good sign. (1/10)

That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them, Lgit!

This microtransaction crap has to stop. For God’s sake. It’s a 60$ singleplayer game. We already paid for the game. If you buy this, you encourage the companies to put more of this crap into next games. And don’t tell me this **** “you don’t have to pay for microtransactions” Are you really so naive thinking that the game won’t be designed in a specific way to make you pay for it sooner or later? Endless grind and other ****? No, thanks. DON”T BUY THIS. (0/10)

epistm87 even brought up the Shexy Shelob, though I’m not sure “wea2boos” would be the target demographic here, whatever they are.

making a giant spider a sex figure for wea2boos. Microtransactions in single game. this is not cheapy mobile game. dont buy this game in full price . (0/10)

Typh is doing the “sarcastic review” thing, not realizing that a score of 0 is still a score of 0, regardless of intent. Not that user reviews matter. Not that anything matters.

Absolutely brilliant gameplay! So addictive, and I’m probably shooting myself in the foot for saying this, but best game I’ve played since I could remember. They’ve made improvements to literally everything that made Shadow of Mordor shine, which I thought would be impossible. This will surely resonate in me for future nostalgia. Rating it a 0 however, because it has microtransactions…still not sure what they are, but apparently they make a game unplayable I’ve heard. (0/10)

I’m gonna leave us with Midirataj who… in a MASSIVE TWIST… is the nun from Game of Thrones!

SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! I don’t write reviews. A lot of people do that for living and passion. I am more of a introvert. I always took refugee in games. I found acceptance and friends there. It allowed me to feel able and free, unlike in real world. Once you are in the game you are not ugly, stupid or poor, or pretty, smart and rich. We are all adventurers. We are all EQUAL. We are all what we want to be, commit our time and effort to excel in what we believe in. We had to earn everything with our bare mouse and keyboard and gamepad. Microtransactions is killing the heart and soul of gaming. Wanna be more powerful? Pay up! Wanna look cool? Pay up! Don’t worry we made your beloved game a piece of grindy mobile dumpster. And Publishers say it is for your own freedom of choice. A testament to greed and falsehood. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME! (0/10)

© 2019 Jimquisition. I don't really know what else to write down here. Why are you even reading down here? Are you bored? I'm bored, so I don't really know how I'm going to help you with that. I'm listening to a podcast. You could do that too if you want! It's something to have on at least. Am I hungry? I dunno, it's kinda late. Maybe just a snack...