I'm a big fan of Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani—he's a very funny actor. But after watching the latest video of him in action as The Agonizer, an orc in Middle Earth: Shadow of War (opens in new tab), I'm not sure how I feel.
The orc he plays, as the name suggests, agonises. He stays up all night writing insults, and then when it comes to the moment of delivery he second guesses himself. Take a look at him in action below:
Clearly there's a lot of effort gone into creating the character, and some of his lines seem genuinely funny. But I'm just not fully sold on the idea. Nanjiani's voice has not been modified at all—there's none of that familiar orcy rasp. It just feels a bit jarring to me.
And while the humour is fine in small doses, I'm not sure if I'll still be laughing the tenth time The Agonizer feels like he has to explain his own joke. I guess I'll have to reserve judgement until I see his whole character.
Still, it's clear that developer Monolith Productions are putting a lot of work into the backstory of the orcs, which is a good thing. Their individual personalities were some of the best bits of Shadow of Mordor, the game that this follows, and I found Ratbag the Coward especially funny.
There's a few other celebs knocking around in Shadow of War: The Walking Dead's Pollyanna McIntosh voices Shelob, (opens in new tab)Troy Baker and Alastair Duncan return as the protagonists Talion (the human ranger) and Celebrimbor (the grumpy elf wraith) respectively, while Laura Bailey returns to play a brand new character in the assassin Eltariel.
What do you make of Nanjiani's character? Am I being too harsh?