They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard! Well, not really but I am taking Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor off my list. That’s right, another game has fallen, and I thought I’d tap out a few words on the experience. It’s one of the younger titles on my list, since it was bought for me over Christmas. Why has it taken me years to pick this up? Well I distrusted reviews that said it was better than the PlayStation 2 classic – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Only joking, I missed Shadow of Mordor because there are too many games in the world and not enough time to play them all. With the hoo-ha surrounding the sequel, I thought it’d be a good jumping in point.
What’s it all about?
Set between the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, sees Sauron trying to build his army of Uruks. Meanwhile, you play as Talion. He’s a captain of Gondor and all-round good guy. That is until the Black Hand of Sauron decides to massacre his family. Without giving too much away, Talion is joined by a mysterious Elf that gives our hero a range of wraith-like abilities.
The plot revolves around the revenge story of a ranger getting his own back on the Black Hand. However, like other stories set in Tolkien’s world, the character’s stories and mythos of the world around draws you in. If I’m honest I could have finished the game in half the time, but I wanted to take it all in. If you’re interested in Middle-Earth, play this game.
I try not to look too much into how a game plays. When I look at what to buy, I go off a few trailers and a few spoiler free reviews. If I had to describe Shadow of War it would be Assassin’s Creed meets Middle-Earth. Although I’m sure if anyone at Warner Bros is reading this, they’d have preferred I’d have said the Arkham Games.
In reality, the game is a take on Ubisoft’s Assassin series. The missions appear when you meet a certain set of conditions and weapons are sword and bow based. Not Bat based. The game riffs heavily off ‘Creed that it also brings over one of the most annoying elements. Climbing. You don’t regularly plummet to your demise, but on occasion it can be frustrating to move left and right, for no reason.
I felt missions get repetitive, especially when it comes to learning your weapons. You can level up your sword by killing Uruks. You can level up your bow by killing Uruks. Strangely enough, you level up your dagger in a different way; by extinguishing the lives of the enemy army. Killing Uruks. For all that killing and murdering, you’ll be pleased to know that combat in Middle-Earth is pretty solid. It’s a tad button mashie, but as the game progresses it forces you to get good.
Coupled with combat, is the Nemesis system. This fancy mechanic allows any Uruk that kills you to be promoted within the ranks of Sauron’s Army. They are given a name, short back story, strengths, and weaknesses. Uruk captains will be harder to kill as they’ll remember your previous battles. This makes the game even more interesting as it will allow you to keep playing long after the story has reached the climax.
Closing thoughts on Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor might have negatives in presentation. Climbing is hit and miss, combat is, for the most part, massing a button. However, Monolith Productions have taken care of Tolkien’s world and presented it in such away you can forgive the shortcomings. The main story is a little on the short side but the history and mythos of the world is deep and rich and will keep you playing long after the credits have rolled.
Like what you heard? Why not buy Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor from Amazon UK?