Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, was released today and it is tons of gory good fun. As someone who has never been a fan of the Lord of the Rings series, I can say that this has become one of my new favorite games to play on the next generation platform.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is centered around Talion, voiced by renowned voice actor Troy Baker, who is quickly murdered along with his wife and son at the start of the game. Revived with wraith-like abilities and banished from death, Talion must seek out those who took his and his family’s lives and break the curse that binds him to the mortal world, all the while achieving more than a small amount of vengeance. Opposite Troy Baker as Talion is another voice actor great, Nolan North, who voices the ominous and ruthless Black Hand of Sauron. The voice acting is great as is to be expected, and provides a most dramatic and tense story to surround the real star of the game, the gameplay and the unique Nemesis System developed by Monolith.
The Nemesis System responds to the actions of the player as they control Talion and direct his actions against the Uruk Captains. Uruk Captains rise and fall through the ranks as the player seeks to tear them down in his quest for vengeance. For example, an Uruk who battles the player but is able to flee from the player after receiving a severe burn or cut across his face will retain his battle wounds and they will fuel his rage as he awaits a chance to get back at the player. The Nemesis System, combined with the open-world setting and mechanics, allows for a higher level of freedom and replay value to the game. Rather than simply following a linear path of fighting your way to the end, the player can focus on new Uruks and ways to topple them as they progress through the story. If a lowly Uruk kills the player and achieves a promotion because of it, the player can seek out the Uruk and steal away his glory before it is long-lived. This allows for a more individualized experience for the player and ensures that after the credits roll, the game will still continue to garner some use.
While this is certainly a great game, it is not without a few minor faults. Graphically, the game appears to still be made for the previous generation. Certain parts of the game do appear to be less than stellar; however, seeing the Uruk Captain animations up close as they spit curses out you does prove to be pretty cool looking and were some of the better looking animations. After playing for some time, certain elements of the Nemesis System did become slightly predictable, but not enough to make you feel like you were fighting the same guy over and over. These small drawbacks do not hinder the impact or enjoyment of the game. Monolith should certainly be praised for the quality of work they put into the development of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
What about you? What did you think of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor? What are your thoughts on the Nemesis System? Respond in the comments below.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor was released on September 30, 2014 for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game will be released on November 18, 2014. Click here to see about purchasing the game and click here for information about the Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked membership for 20% off on all new games and other great deals.