Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Xbox One X Enhanced Preview

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War was one of the big games that was pushed with the Xbox One X and with that, the update is finally here. What we've been given is two excellent options that make an incredible game even better. These two graphical modes are favor quality or favor performance. For resolution you get a mode that aims to give 4k resolution at higher texture qualities. The second has increased texture details and draw distances. Shadows and lighting also get tweaked for the better. There are more polygons for items and increased vegetation. Finally there's improved ambient occlusion and texture filtering.

It's basically just a much more dense world. I can't believe that one basically just pumps up the resolution whereas the other really branches out the world around you. Either option presents the game with a nice HDR coating and there are 4k cinematics to download from the Xbox Store. It's a rather intense set of choices and it honestly does provide the best way to play the game either way. I noticed right away that the HDR really brightens the world of Mordor within each of the various areas you battle through. The textures on various objects is increased and the details on characters are more apparent. Talion is looking particularly great with so many minor details along his armor, it's rather amazing.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Xbox One X Enhanced Screenshot
The world is already large in scale so with either offering you're getting a more vibrant world. It'll be more detailed, full of the important smaller things and those Orcs look even more gruesome. The taunts are still as long as ever, but the textures and smaller details that make up the characters are greatly improved. The combat feels fluid regardless of which graphic option you choose and I didn't come across anything that wrecked the experience when trying either. This was regardless of the area as I went through each distinct area to see how the game looked or performed.

I didn't stay an extended time, but I took out some remaining enemies for my Shadow Wars journey and thought it would be fun to demote someone all the way through, it was just alright. I could see certain siege situations perhaps causing problems, but all clean thus far. It was an impressive upgrade for the game with it looking better than ever and I almost wish I could start fresh again to experience the entire story once more. For now, I can enjoy finishing up smaller activities or taking out any foes that sit in the way of my goals to rule the late game wars. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is another great example of what the enhanced hardware can do.

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Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner