PC gaming is an endeavor without compromise, and when a game like Middle-earth: Shadow of War arrives, it’s just as unthinkable to stalk Tolkien’s lands with shadow quality set to merely ‘high’ as it is to be slain by your stinking Uruk nemesis. But that refusal to compromise isn’t blind stubbornness - it’s because PC offers the chance to savor the details. And in an open-world as rich and brimming with life—and death—as Shadow of War’s, those details are to be preserved at all costs.
If you're looking to get squeeze the best possible graphical fidelity out of Shadow of War's stunningly detailed visuals on PC, there's no better time to do so. From 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 Steam copy of Middle-earth: Shadow of War.
Exhibit A: the environment. Monolith’s predecessor in the series, Shadow of Mordor, didn’t exactly feel pokey or parochial as an open-world game, but in this sequel the sheer explorable space is expanded enormously into a whole raft of different regions, each with their own geography and atmosphere. Osgiliath, Gondor’s ancient capital, is a vast array of crumbling towers and homesteads. Further west in the mountains are Minas Morgul’s ghostly tower and Cirith Ungol, a grim fortress where Bubol Blood-Storm resides. To the south lies a bucolic island where the fortress of Nurnen is built, and to the north a beautiful snowcapped valley, Seragost. They’re dark and beautiful locales however you look at them, but gaming in 4K brings out the spectacle of each region to the fullest. Having that extra pixel density on your side helps to show off not just the grand vistas in Shadow of War, but the incidental details when you’re up close, too—the scratches on each rock, and the wrinkles on every enemy’s gruesome mug.
4K places high demands on a graphics card, of course, and GeForce GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti GPUs are designed to cope with that load while keeping the pace of battle absolutely smooth. Just as well too, since Shadow of War’s cinematic ambitions for combat often place over 100 units on screen at a time. Possessed by the elven Wraith Celebrimbor, Talion’s able to dominate defeated enemies and build an army with their ranks. And that comes in especially handy when laying siege to fortresses, since they’re defended by huge numbers of foes. With half an eye on Peter Jackson’s cinematic Helm’s Deep battle and an expanded combat system that includes melee, ranged, mounted and siege weaponry attacks, it’s an intense experience full of silky-smooth animations, which demands silky-smooth PC performance to match. And since perfectly timed counters can now kill enemies outright, it’s no exaggeration to say that a dropped frame might cost you your life.
For those with a real devotion to perfectly paced frames, G-Sync offers the ideal in-panel solution. By syncing your monitor’s refresh rate exactly to your GPU’s render rate, G-Sync eliminates the annoying stutters and tears that diminish the flow of swordplay in Shadow of War, and let you concentrate on setting your Nemesis on fire while fending off his underlings’s arrows, while simultaneously riding a Caragor and avoiding a drake’s flame-breath.
That’s what makes Shadow of War such an epic game worth experiencing on PC: the control you have in your tech armory to maximize every aspect of the game and experience it without ever falling foul of a performance hiccup.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War launches worldwide starting October 10. Get the game on day one on PC by purchasing the new GeForce GTX 10-series bundle here.
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