The gaming expo E3 has shown us demos, exciting new trailers, and a host of other tantalizing previews of games we can look forward to in the coming couple of years. Now, however, with the first part of the week winding down, it’s time to agree that the standout moment of the entire event came during the Xbox press conference on Sunday when Middle-earth: Shadow of War introduced us to a lovable, murderous, green hunk of steel and muscle.
The walkthrough featured a couple of boss battles, naturally, and showcased a few of the game’s new strategic siege mechanics along with what appears to be a series of much more talkative orcs tied into Shadow of War’s updated Nemesis System, which pits players against foes who remember the hero who wronged them grow stronger over time. Among these nemeses was a larger Olog-Hai named Brûz, who we firmly believe is the highlight of E3 this year. Like, just look at him go.
Used by Monolith Productions to highlight the potential behind the dynamic personalities within Shadow of War’s Nemesis System, Brûz the Chopper is found sitting in the middle of a combat arena taking on Flogg the Hatchet. After giving his smaller opponent a lecture on the definition of optimism, Brûz proceeds to rip his head clear off with his hands following a series of quick strikes with his hammer.
Impressed by his abilities and distinctly witty sense of humor, the player then swoops in dominate Brûz and convert him to a leader within the Bright Lord’s larger army. Then, with a long pause of aggressive uncertainty, the massive brute stands up and delivers a hilarious, optimistic take on his current circumstances we couldn’t stop laughing at.
This wonderfully comedic personality continues through the of the 7-minute gameplay trailer while Brûz, Talion, and the rest of the Bright Lord’s army prepare to siege one of the game’s new fortresses — showing a completely different type of character compared to the basic, drone-like enemies found throughout 2014’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Honestly, it’s a welcome change of pace considering how big of a deal the Nemesis System is within Shadow of War’s open world single-player campaign. Now, enemies and allies you dominate aren’t just mindless warriors to do your bidding on occasion, they’re dynamic personalities in an ever-changing world you actually come to respect as members of your own personal army. Naturally, not every enemy you dominate will feature the same elastic personality as Brûz, but it’s good to know there will be plenty of character within Shadow of War this fall.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC October 10.