Any solid nerd knows that the Lord of the Rings franchise is one of the best and most epic franchises to cross our lives. The Books inspired us as children, the Movies Wowed us as Adults and the video games have… well… Sucked balls. Now before you fill my inbox with complains about how “fun” the Lego LOTR games are, let me just stop you right there, they are not, they are a cutesy way for kids to get involved on your nerd love of LOTR. LOTR is about War and killing shit, and no other LOTR game has captured that better than Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor.
Shadow of Mordor takes place in between the Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring (if you care) and focuses on a Man named Talion, who was standing guard at the Black Gate before he was over run by the armies of Sauron. Upon his death he was possessed by an unknown Elven wraith and resurrected as an immortal killing machine. Tasked with getting revenge on those that killed you and your family all while searching for clues as to how to rid yourself of “not dying”. You are stuck in the depths of Mordor and only Millions of Uruks and other monsters stand in your way (one doesn’t simply walk out of Mordor) Don’t worry the story isn’t this games strong point.
Graphics: Ill split Graphics into two different groups for this game; First the environment. Taking place in the depths of Mordor you can expect to see a lot of black, grays and darker colors. True there are two areas in Shadow of Mordor but don’t expect any staggering visuals when it comes to the open world, it just works. Rain in Mordor is quite possibly some of the best looking rain I have ever seen in an open world, on the down side Buildings and floral are decent but lack anything truly groundbreaking, but that’s because they take a second seat to…The Uruks. HOT DAMN the Uruks, ie the bad guys in the game, are CRAZY detailed each looking different and vary based on the class they are. Sure some will start to look the same but as you get closer the details really shine through. Actually character in the game looks absolutely spectacular, besides the humans, humans are all ugly for some reason haha.
Sound: The voice acting is fantastic, any spoken Elvish sounds authentic and as if pulled directly from the movies and the Uruks sound monstrous and sound as evil as they look. Its also awesome that they got more than one voice actor to handle all their voices as each one has a different sounding voice. Music in the game is far and between, normally it is just calm background noise and will peak sometimes in battle but it is mostly forgettable.
Gameplay: Here is the reason this game rocks so much. Shadow of Mordor has created an ingenious battle system where its not juts a matter of how may enemies you kill, its how you kill them. By capturing a weak Uruk you can command them to give you intel on another Warchief or issue a death threat to make become paranoid, shoot you can even make them fight by your side or each other. What makes this all awesome is you control how epic you want to make each battle and all the build up to a boss or WarChief is done by you. When you finally cross swords with the Warchief you have been hunting it is a great feeling, like a long plan coming together. Naturally you can just spend the game just swinging your sword about and you know what, that is fine too, after a small learning curve you will be beheading Urukes left and right. To be honest Shadow of Morder quite honestly the most beheadings I have ever seen. Seriously, heads fly through the air more than birds when you are in the heat of a battle, and once you have leveled up a few times you become the ultimate Uruk Murder machine, dispatching waves of Uruks in the blink of an eye.
Gripes: While the story was enjoyable (especially if you like the lore) I wish it was a little better or followed more of the actual books, you have a lot to do in Mordor but the story missions seem to fall flat, don’t get me wrong they are still fun to play but it felt the main feature of this game was taking down Warcheifs and story was just an add on to some-what explain all the murder.
Outside the Warcheifs there are 3 main boss battles and while 1 is handled like any other fight, the others come down to a more QTE battle than anything else. The game still made the battles feel worth wile but I just wish there was a little more “epic-ness”.
This game is Easy, aside from the first few battles the game becomes crazy easy, you can literally eleport across an area and Behead 5 or 6 guys before anybody even reacts, most “non-warcheif” battles become simple and almost boring at the end of the game.
Aside from a few minor issues this was quite possibly my favorite game so far this year and easily the best LOTR game ever made. I enjoyed it so much I even went all the way to earn the Platinum trophy, Good Uruk Hunting!
I BEAT IT FIRST!