Monolith Productions has a long history in the gaming industry, but it’s a safe bet that the studio has never attempted a project more ambitious than Shadow of War. We knew that the sequel to Shadow of Mordor was a deep and involved game before we visited the studio, but after multiple days playing through the near-finished project, the full scope of the new Middle-earth game blew us away. We’ve come away with pages of impressions and explorations, including a look at the new Nazgûl boss fights, and pulled it all together into this month’s cover story. 

Shadow of War doubles down on the intricate Nemesis system that made the previous game so intriguing; this time it expands options for everything from personal bodyguards to epic fortress assaults. The game world is many times the size of the previous game, with five distinct locales filled with mountains, caves, cities, and cavernous pits. Over what appears to be dozens of hours of adventures, players can dig into a deep role-playing system of character and equipment upgrades. And along the way, Monolith has dramatically expanded the depth and breadth of its storytelling, with more cinematics, deep dives into Middle-earth lore, and a conclusion to the tale of Talion and Celebrimbor’s story of domination, vengeance, and conflict against Sauron and the forces of Mordor. We’ve got twelve pages of detail, including new screenshots, looks at the individual Nazgûl, a map of the game world, and more.

Check out our cover by clicking on the image below to open the full front-and-back spread, in which we see Shadow of War’s hero, Talion, along with new ally, Eltariel, as they face off against the combined terror of the ringwraiths. 

As always, in addition to our magazine cover story, you can expect a full month of interviews, videos, and in-depth features highlighting elements of Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Find out what you can expect by watching the coverage trailer below.

We have a lot more to uncover in the new issue of Game Informer. In time to prepare for Halloween, we also have a six-page feature on The Evil Within 2, a round-up of some of the best modern horror games, and some of the best gear and toys for the scariest time of year. Investigate an in-depth look at the psychology behind getting stuck in a game, and a look at the trials and triumphs of Machine Games, the makers of the new Wolfenstein games. Watch for previews of games like Assassin's Creed Origins, Monster Hunter World, and Star Wars: Battlefront II, and our final verdicts on games like Madden NFL 18 and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Finally, we delve into the lost history of the cover story that almost was, way back in early 2007, and provide a look at EA’s unreleased game within The Lord of the Rings universe, entitled The White Council. 

Print subscribers can expect their issues to begin arriving in the next few days. Can’t wait that long? The digital edition of the issue is available later today on PC/MaciOSAndroid, and Google Play. You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on NookKindle, and Zinio starting tomorrow. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here, or to create a new subscription to the digital edition, click here.

To stay up to date with all our Middle-earth: Shadow of War coverage throughout the month, click on the banner below and bookmark our hub. We’ll add new links to the hub every few days over the coming weeks.