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Shadow of War's Talion is the ultimate Lord of the Rings superhero

Most open-world characters are a dime a dozen. Some excel at stealth, others are whizzes when it comes to tinkering with technology, while almost all of them have a PhD in car thievery. Next to Middle-earth: Shadow of War’s rugged Orc-slayer though, heroes in rival sandbox games look positively tame. After all, when you can command legions of Uruk-hai, sprint faster than a Jamaican 100m specialist, and scale cloud-scraping towers faster than the average Hobbit can work through second breakfast, stealing a station wagon isn’t that impressive. 

Starting now until October 16, when you purchase select GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards, systems and laptops at participating retailers you will get your choice of UWP with XBOX PLAY ANYWHERE support or a Steam copy of Middle-earth: Shadow of War. The powerful GTX 10-series GPUs featured in the new bundle also allows you to squeeze the most out of the next-gen sequel’s visuals on PC with its support for 4K HDR as well as NVIDIA Ansel for capturing stunning in-game screenshots in Shadow of War.

1. No Orc Can Resist His Brainwashing Charms 

Talion got into the wrong line of work. Oh sure, he acts as a savior to the free people of Gondor throughout Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Still, if he was just a little more career-orientated, he could take his tradecraft and make an absolute fortune. Just look at his mind-controlling abilities. Thanks to his paranormal pairing with the wraith Celebrimbor, Talion can force Mordor’s armies of Orcs and Uruk-hai to do his war-waging bidding. 

A good thing too, because Talion’s brain-hacking abilities are absolutely crucial when it comes to Shadow of War’s new Nemesis Fortresses. These epic siege battles see Talion try to capture an enemy Orc fortress from the evil clutches of the local Overlord, and to win these sizeable scuffles, he needs the help of hundreds of coerced followers. Luckily, Talion’s Domination power lets him brainwash enemies into fighting for his ever-expanding army, as he looks to thwart Sauron’s forces. Acquire enough extra ugly followers, and those Nemesis Fortresses will soon be yours. 

2. He’s Basically Middle-earth’s Answer to Spider-Man

Viggo Mortensen may have been blessed with the dreamiest cheekbones to ever grace Middle-earth, but not even Aragorn could scurry up tall towers in lightning quick fashion the way Talion can. The ranger is so good at scaling Shadow of War’s array of lofty buildings, steeples and cliffs, he’s basically a Tolkien take on a certain friendly, neighborhood web-slinger. Once you unlock the Elven Agility perk, you’ll be scaling Mordor’s highest vantage points in seconds. 

Unlike the previous adventure, Talion can also effortlessly leap hundreds of feet between structures, all thanks to the Shadow Strider perk. After you earn this nifty double jump, Talion will gracefully vault between buildings with such ease, you’d think the tragic warrior had wings. Eat your handsome heart out, Aragorn. 

3. He has the Fastest Feet in Mordor

Shadow of War’s brooding Orc-killer is crazy fast. You could inject Usain Bolt’s DNA into the Roadrunner, and the ridiculously rapid bird would still be left eating Talion’s dust. The Elven Agility perk isn’t just useful when you want to make Talion scale an Uruk tower in two seconds flat; it also lets the ranger sprint around at preposterous speeds. 

There’s really no other sandbox star who moves quite like the ranger. Once fully upgraded, Talion’s sprint ability allows him to zip about the craggy valleys of Mordor and verdant grasslands of Gondor so quickly, Orcs can’t even spot him. If you couple this innate agility with the right perks from Talion’s skill tree, you can also ensure his steps are completely silent, letting you chain together a series of speedy stealth kills without ever raising an Uruk alarm. 

4. Meet the Ultimate Beast Master

Talion undoubtedly has the best cardio in all of Middle-earth, but really, why risk a hamstring strain when you can tame a host of fiery, flying monsters? Drakes are the undisputed lords of Mordor’s skies, and unlike those whimpy Fell-Beast the Nazgûl ride in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, these terrifying, dragon-like beasts feed on those pesky Great Eagles for breakfast. Literally. According to Shadow of War’s in-game Appendices, there’s no other meal a Drake would rather chow down on than those do-gooder birds of prey.

Handily, Talion can learn to control and mount these deadly creatures, and once he learns the appropriate monster-taming skill, you have an exceedingly useful flying taxi at your disposal… a taxi that can incinerate dozens of Orcs with its extra toasty lava breath. Not only does the Gondorian ranger look badass gliding around on a Drake, but the toothy aerial predators prove massively useful for getting around Shadow of War’s truly colossal map. 

5. Talion’s Wraith Chum Makes him Unstoppable

When you’re trying to stop the Dark Lord of Mordor, having friends in high places really helps… or, in Talion’s case, friends in dead places. Celebrimbor brought the ranger back to life at the beginning of Shadow of Mordor, and since resurrecting Talion, the pair have been the best of friends. Alright, so they’re tenuous allies at best, but their partnership is brutally effective when you’ve got 30 onscreen Orcs baying for your blood. 

In a previous life, Celebrimbor was once a master Elven craftsman of such skill, he actually forged the nine Rings of Power that kicked off the events of a certain book/movie trilogy. Now, he’s obsessed with gaining vengeance on Sauron, after Tolkien’s Big Bad murdered not only him, but his entire family. Thankfully, Celebrimbor has channelled all that rage to help Talion become the ultimate sandbox star. With abilities like the long-range Shadow Strike, which lets the undead elf strike down Talion’s foes from huge distances, or Eleven Rage—a special meter that once activated, creates copies of Celebrimbor that cut down Orcs with lethal efficiency—Talion really couldn’t ask for a more brutal bestie. Ain’t friendship, grand?

If you are looking to upgrade your gaming hardware to get the best possible PC experience with Middle-earth: Shadow of War when it launches worldwide on October 10, check out the official bundle page here.

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