Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™
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Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth.
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Exceptionally unique gamePrimalHunter779 | Jan. 14, 2015 | See all PrimalHunter779's reviews »
Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™ is an open-world action-adventure title set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; many of the more recent games to utilise the Lord of the Rings have been mediocre at best (e.g. Guardians of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest), meaning I am happy to say that Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™ knocked my socks off due to it's innovative mechanics and overrall polish. This is a classic in the making, and is one of the few games of 2014 that is undeniably deserving of your time. The story starts with the ranger Talion, who is stationed at the Black Gate of Mordor, witnessing himself and his family brutally murdered by the Black Hand of Sauron in order to summon the spirit of the elf ringmaker, Celebrimbor. Unexpectedly, the wraith form of Celebrimbor bonds with Talion, saving his life and giving him a second chance at vengeance. You then set out into Mordor to exterminate the orc ranks, discover Celebrimbor's past and obtain revenge for the deaths of your family. I found the story compelling in most parts, due to the personal nature of Talion's quest, and the way the narrative incorporates set pieces from the Lord of the Rings without placing heavy emphasis on them. For example, the appearance of Gollum did not feel like fan service as his presence in the story felt logical and crucial. In short, the narrative component of this game does a good job of standing up on its own without relying too heavily on the source material (this may be good news for gamers who are not die-hard fans of the films or novels). Gameplay-wise, I believe Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™ has the potential to be the best game of 2014. There are two open world maps to explore in Mordor, Udûn and Núrn, each with its own quests and unlockables to complete. Both areas are stunningly realised, with Udûn acting as the traditional barren wasteland we'd expect from a game set in Mordor while Núrn is filled with lush greenery and sweeping plains. It's worth noting that both maps are also substantially large. Scattered throughout these areas are a large number of missions and tasks for the player to complete; the main story missions, various collectables (artifacts which provide memories of characters in Mordor, as well as various wall carvings), side missions which make you develop a specific weapon (ten missions that focus on using the sword, bow and dagger, resulting in 30 missions total), side missions where you have to free captive slaves from orc encapments, and missions where you play a direct role in the manipulation of the orc hierarchy. This orc hierarchy ties directly into the game's most innovative feature, the Nemesis system; this system allowrandom orcs roaming Mordor to become their own captain or warchief. The best thing about this is the number of factors that come in to play for each individual orc, including traits such as relationships with other orcs, relationship with the player based on previous encounters, fighting styles, differing appearances and personalities, ranks and fighting styles. One orc I was unlucky enough to encounter on my play through was named 'Krimp the Butcher'; this Uruk had a nasty habit of killing me every time I encountered him, and the next time I saw him, he'd taunt me with reminders of my mistakes the previous time we had fought. This is incredibly innovative and made the game feel extremely unique to me the entire way through. My only criticism of this game from a gameplay standpoint was the low amount of missions for the main story; however, this didn't affect me too much as I had a great deal of fun fighting villains I had created through my own mistakes, which is easily the best part of the game. From a technical standpoint, this game is polished and superbly made. The music is excellent and really sets the theme for the game; in particular, I love the epic drum beats used when fighting warchiefs in addition to the background chanting. The strong score also complements the more emotional scenes of the game to stunning effect. Also, the graphics of the game are quite effective, and the quality of the visuals helps you understand why the game has demanding requirements. I'd like to add that the PC optimisation for this game is quite excellent, with a great suite of options to tweak as well as exceptional performance across the board. In conclusion, Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™ is a brilliant game and is one of the freshest action games to emerge in recent years. The revolutionary Nemesis system in addition to great gameplay makes this an incredibly exceptional experience that brings in the best elements from the Batman: Arkham games and the Assassin's Creed series. Top notch story, voice acting, music and visuals also adds to the experience and vision of quality. Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™ is a must play and one of the best games you'll play in 2014.
One Game to rule them allAndotpolinar | Jan. 14, 2015 | See all Andotpolinar's reviews »
This is the only game you need if you are an LOTR fan. It combines the dynamic action gameplay of the batman series with the exploration mechanics of assassins creed. Top it all off with the nemesis system and this game easily becomes one of the best there is. If you are still not sold on playing this game, then you are not a fan of the lotr series. Period.
Definitely worth playing if you're a LOTR fanCyberSh3ff | Jan. 13, 2015 | See all CyberSh3ff's reviews »
I was hyped about this game from it's announcement and trailer and in my eyes it did not disappoint. I was sceptical watching the trailers that it wasn't going to live up the hype, especially when they were talking about controlling orcs, making enemies that remember you and such.
The gameplay is great, the assassins creed style climbing and batman fighting is a good mix, done in one of the best franchises I could hope for. I do feel however that the story lacked anything amazing... I liked how they linked it back to the lore of LOTR and introduced us to some familiar faces, but Talion's actual storyline didn't wow me and some of the missions were rather boring. I don't think enough risks were taken with this game and I think they were being too careful...
That didn't stop me from gaining entire orc armies and bringing down warchiefs though. I had lots of fun with that, probably more fun after the storyline when you can just dominate orcs to your hearts content!
Big surpriserunnerx | Jan. 10, 2015 | See all runnerx's reviews »
This game launched without much fanfare with many dismissing it as an assassin's creed/batman:arkham hybrid and with WB delaying the reviews till after the games launch made people very skeptic about this particular title. That said the game shows an impressive amount of polish which is unusual in this day and age for triple A games although against a pretty hefty hardware requirements. The mechanics of the game are rock solid. It emulates the arkham style of combat flawlessly and even shines in some respects better than that but what this game really had to offer was a new interesting mechanic called the nemesis system. What that offers is basically the ability to influence in a dynamic way the hierarchical society of the orks captains and warchiefs. Kill captains, make them fight on your side and help them around pit them against each other. Also when an orc kills you he gets promoted to captain and he will remember you making the whole death mechanic in this game interesting and fresh. The main story is hit or miss i personally found it okay but i guess some tolkien diehards might disagree with it. The story borrows heavily from the silmarillion as opossed to tolkiens more well known works. Voice acting is great to the point that when gollum appears in the game it sounds exactly as the one from the movies despite different actors(at least to my knowledge).
This game surpassed my expectation in every way mainly cause i wasn't hyped as much(stop hyping your games!) and it definitely became my game of 2014.
Worth your time.Inquisitioner | Dec. 29, 2014 | See all Inquisitioner's reviews »
The thing which stands out the most for people seems to be the voice acting, how when it comes to the various captain it's really diverse and you've got your proper Mordor accents and such.
What this seems to be compared to is Assassin's Creed and the Batman games with the addition of the nemesis system which essentially means that the captains struggle for power and by killing you they increase as well as each other.
But the game is incredibly short, small with only two areas to explore and your efforts aren't awarded at all. It has plot holes, a tiny spoiler but here it goes; You start by killing the various captain and chieftains only to find out you can actually later on convert them to your side. Why didn't we do this in the first place? And the game is incomplete as even though if you have every chieftain and captain in both areas under your control the common rabble still attack you and they still enslave humans.
In short, it's a step in the right direction; but due to overusing it's clever unique gameplay. But it's sadly all wasted due to an careful approach of testing the water with it's shortness and tedious tasks. As a drawback to it's success; it won't be able to make a come back without becoming another assassin's creed or call of duty franchise releasing same old thing over and over again with tiny new additions.