Shadows of Mordor has been out for a while and I thought I’d share my thoughts and impressions on it as the title of this article implies.
Shadows of Mordor was developed by Monolith Productions and published by Wander Brothers, set in the Lord of the Rings universe but evoking a more brutal and separate story from the Lord of the Rings films.
Many games incorporate elements from other games. The over-the-shoulder shooting mechanic was taken from Resident Evil 4, Quick time events were taken from God of War and Free-Flowing combat was take by Assassins Creed. They all my not be the exact first ones to do those things but they were the most popular.
Shadows of Mordor instantly feels familiar because of this. The free flowing movement is indicative of Assassins Creed while the combat feels closer to the recent Batman games. But the great thing is that it all works. Every part of the movement and combat feels appropriate to this world.
I love the animation as you turn into Celebrimbor to take shots with your bow. The controls are tight and familiar allowing the challenge of the game on the waves of urks that will be gunning for you.
Most actions games include an upgrade system allowing you to develop your characters skills. The fun thing about Shadow of Mordor is the rune system that rewards you for taking on more powerful enemies with more powerful and rare runes that can give you such raw urk (editors note: according to Denis this is an Orc general) killing power. It gets the whole risk and reward part of gaming so right because of the strength of enemies and how many there are. Every battle you engage in is an opportunity to develop your skills by collecting better upgrades and getting better at fighting.
This has the biggest opportunity to change how enemy AI works in all games from now on. The Nemesis system allows the enemies you face to remember you and learn from your battles.
While its not overly complex since most of you encounters will involve you trying to kill them, it is amazing to have an enemy remember you. Aside from it working well in this game, it is the one feature that I hope makes it way in other games.
Imagine a horror game where the ghost or monster remembers everything you did in you last encounter and learns a better way to make you terrified. That could be amazing.
The first thing that struck me was the mature tone. Its an M rated game not for language or sexual content but for the gore. The one thing Talion will be doing over and over again is decapitating urks. He does it a lot. And it’s great. Really fun and gory. Tonally it all feels mature but it doesn’t get carried away with throwing in crap that doesn’t need to be there.
Shadows or Mordor is a solid game. It’s fun, the combat and stealth is satisfying, developing your character is rewarding and the world is beautiful. I’m not a huge Lord of the Rings guy, but Shadows of Mordor impressed me, I would love to see where Monolith takes it’s new Middle Earth series next.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor was developed by Monolith Productions and Behaviour Interactive (PS3 and Xbox 360 ports) and published by Warner Bros. interactive Entertainment. This review is based upon the PS4 version.