You can make orcs fight like Pokémon in Middle-earth: Shadow of War

One of my favorite things about Middle-earth: Shadow of War so far are its variety of mission types. I've just hit Act II and completed my first fortress siege, a multi-stage battle where you bring your loyal (read: magi-psychically dominated into loyalty and subservience) orcs into battle against a powerful overlord, who is served by multiple war chief lieutenants.

To prepare for that big battle, I commanded one of my orcs to fight the bodyguard orc of one of the war chiefs. If your orc defeats this bodyguard, Shadow of War gives them the opportunity to become a spy, and ambush that war chief if and when you go to fight them.

But these "Infiltration" missions have a catch: you can't participate. It's a contest between two orcs to see who's the better fighter, and see who deserves the job of bodyguard more. Now that I've played a little more, I've also discovered an area called the Fight Pits, where you can essentially level-grind your orcs against one another or enemies.

On my first Infiltration mission, I sent in secret agent Stakûga the Molten against an unknown orc in the video above, hoping that his flaming spear and non-flaming shield would be enough. Infiltrations are timed fights, and you can move the camera around a little, but otherwise have zero control over the outcome. I watched with trepidation as Stakûga absorbed a few shield bashes early in the fight, becoming dazed. I don't have kids, but I feel like in this moment I understood why some parents lose their minds at recreational children's sports games. It's stressful to watch your orc fail to plunge his flaming spear into the gut of his enemy, while the flaming spear sits there, aflame and ready to impale. 

Anyway, the Fight Pits and Infiltration missions are a nice break from Shadow of War's otherwise dense list of things to do, as Andy mentions in our review. Below, a PCG editor and Heat Signature dev Tom Francis shares an Infiltration battle much funnier than mine.

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.