The Lord of the Rings series is by far one of the most popular fantasy novels out there and it has even spawned quite a lot of movies as well. However, most of the games with the action placed in Middle-Earth were quite bad as they didn’t bring justice to a universe with so much lore. Thankfully, Lord of the Rings Shadow of Mordor is the latest title in this series and it successfully manages to bring a one of a kind open world experience that hasn’t been seen before.
In Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor we play the role of Tallion, which is a ranger that’s caught in the middle of the war. Unfortunately, Tallion’s family and even him are caught then killed in the beginning of the game, yet somehow fate manages to provide him a change for revenge, as an ancient wraith will provide him with superhuman powers by binding himself to Tallion’s body. This provides our hero with the best way to seek revenge against the orcs that killed his family. The story in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is quite interesting, as you can see, and even if there are some strange plot turns here and there, the game does manage to deliver one of the best Lord of the Rings stories you have seen in a very long time.
The gameplay in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is very similar to that of Assassin’s Creed, as the title places a lot of emphasis on climbing and using stealth to kill enemies. And since most of these enemies are orcs that usually travel in large numbers, it’s always important to use stealth in order to gain an advantage. Of course, the game also allows you to enter the battles guns blazing, but the overall sequence will be much harder.
Speaking of it, the combat is really refreshing. You can use the wraith powers to conjure a spirit bow that will provide you with an amazing accuracy, or you can use the swords at your disposal to decapitate or kill your enemies at your own pace. Both mechanics work great in the game and combining them does feel really rewarding.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor does have numerous boss battles, and these shine thanks to the Nemesis system, which basically makes each battle feel personal. All the captains in Sauron’s army are included into a garrison filled with bosses. It’s neat that each one of the orc captains can try to fight for a promotion after they kill you. This makes the whole system very personal and taking out all the captains will certainly become a priority, alongside finishing the story mode.
Combat and movement are very fluid, something that we really liked. Jumping from afar, landing on ledges and stealth work great in the game and they simply provide that feeling of immersion into the game world. Combat is very demanding, especially if you don’t want to use the stealth approach, as each enemy has different attack patterns, which keep the title fresh and interesting. As a side note, you get the option to brutalize your enemies in countless ways, with the finishing moves usually being very gory.
Captains and warchiefs are harder to defeat when compared to the other enemies, so you do need to upgrade Tallion’s abilities if you want to get further into the action and story. Each time your character defeats a boss, he will receive a relic which might provide amazing improvements to your battle stats.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a highly resource demanding game, especially if you want to play it on large resolutions and with ultra-textures. It’s one of the best looking games you can find right now on the market, and the amount of detail that went into the creation of this amazing game world is simply stunning. The character animations are nicely done, the kills are gruesome and enemies look very frightening. Overall, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor successfully manages to bring some realistic graphics that definitely draw us in to the world of Mordor.
Voice acting in this game is really good, although there are some minor situations in which a few side characters bring some strange voices. Other than that, voices are really accurate and the soundtrack is very alert as well, even though there are some lower-paced background songs as well.
Shadow of Mordor is by far the best game in the Lord of the Rings series. It successfully manages to bring some of the best open world experiences we can find right now on the market, and with the help of the Nemesis system it really brings a lot of replay value. If you were looking for an excuse to explore Mordor again, then don’t wait and go for it! Lord of the Rings Shadow of Mordor is a masterpiece that will eat up 20-30 or even more hours from your life, but rest assured that it’s well worth it!