Middle-earth: Shadow of War surprised me in myriad ways in pretty much every facet of its existence. The large-scale battles involving giant armies actually felt grand in scale, and the mechanical advancements in Talion's locomotion made the game that much more fun to play when it came to moment-to-moment action.
The narrative bits, while still mostly on the level of a QTE battle with Sauron from the first, were mostly take it or leave it affairs. Just when I thought the concept of the noble Celebrimbor from the source material becoming a greedy wraith obsessed with his own Ring of Power was the worst Monolith could do, in comes sultry Shelob.
It was a weird mix of fanservice and an attempt to create an actual tale that could credibly take place in Middle-earth, but for the most part, the second DLC abandons most of that fluff and moves right into the thick of it.