Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Review, PC Gameplay And Performance With Orc-Slaying Fun

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Graphics & Benchmarks

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War may not be the visual feast, for which games like The Witcher 3 or Destiny 2 are known. Yet the sum of its moving parts is still impressive eye-candy worth applauding. The added locations bring in more vegetation and lush areas, swamps, jungles, forests, and dilapidated cities to mix things up visually. It’s a welcomed departure from the darker and less varied settings in Shadow of Mordor. The game also features a cool day/night cycle and weather changes which players must contend with. We should also note that Shadow of War also supports NVIDIA Ansel. A hotkey freezes the game and grants full 360 degree movement around the player character to take custom screenshots, providing you have the compatible hardware. Regardless, very cool.

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Middle-Earth: Shadows of War performed incredibly well in our testing, considering all the action occurring on-screen, and scales admirably for midrange systems. It also features its own internal benchmark utility, which mimics real-world performance fairly accurately by comparison. We use Shadow of Mordor here extensively in HotHardware reviews of both GPU, laptops and desktops. We'll likely more to Shadow of War as a testing tool in the future as well. 

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War By The Numbers

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Using this new Middle-Earth title for our testing, we saw excellent performance even with all settings maxed out. Though 4K is only obtainable to those using today's highest performing graphics cards, even then, gamers on a single GPU will need to either dial the settings back slightly or invest in a multi-GPU setup to enjoy framerates north of 60 FPS. Taking the Shadows down a notch or two and tweaking (or turning off) Anti-Aliasing, did push us just over that desired 60 FPS threshold average with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
Shadow of War 1080p Bench

Shadow of War 1440p Benchmark

Shadow of War 4K Bench

As you can see, Shadow of War does perform quite well on a single card with all settings on full-tilt. Here it shows great scalability from mainstream to high-end hardware. Lower-end GPU owners looking for high-res greatness will have to trim the bells and whistles down in the graphics settings, however. We also noticed, however, that the rather wide variance between average and minimum framerates seen at 1440p and above, goes virtually undetected during gameplay. There were no significant spikes or dramatic dips in the framerate through much of our sessions and this game plays butter-smooth on GPUs from both Red and Green camps.

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