Hav­ing to take on so many side ac­tiv­i­ties scup­pers the pac­ing of an oth­er­wise ab­sorb­ing story. Hu­man al­lies Idril and Baramor – a cou­ple will­ing to risk their necks to save oth­ers – are like­able, but their ap­pear­ances are of­ten hours apart. Troy Baker puts in a typ­i­cally ro­bust per­for­mance as Talion, pitched some­where be­tween Sean Bean’s turn as the flawed but fun­da­men­tally de­cent Boromir and Viggo Mortensen’s stolidly heroic Aragorn. But at­tempts to paint him as a gruff saviour fig­ure floun­der when ev­ery five min­utes you see him squeeze the head of a ter­ri­fied orc un­til it pops. In­deed, this is one of the most sav­agely, re­lent­lessly vi­o­lent games we’ve ever played. Per­haps it’s in­tended to show how eas­ily we can jus­tify hor­ri­fy­ing means for a noble end, but it makes you feel pretty grotty all the same.

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