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Shadow of Mordor
Excuse me, there's something on your throat.

Review: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

Not the healing remedy he wanted Mordor
Monolith Productions and Warner Brothers took everyone by surprise earlier this year by announcing Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. As the name suggests, the game is set in the famous Lord of The Rings universe by J.R.R Tolkien. For those who are wondering where the game will be taking the place, it will serve as a bridge between the events of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. The game is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, as for PS3 and Xbox 360, the game will be released on 18th November, later this year.

The revealed game play was impressive and showed a lot of interesting elements of the game. But did it deliver what we were showed and promised? Absolutely. 



The game puts you in the shoes of Talion, a ranger of Gondor. The game opens with a very dark opening. Talion along with his family gets gruesomely executed. After the events of Talion’s death, his spirit gets bounded to an elf ghost who no longer has his memory. The elf who returned to Middle Earth to take vengeance on Sauron’s forces will be playing a vital role throughout the game. If you are a hardcore Tolkien fan, you might not like the story, but it’s good enough to make you enjoy the game. Memorable characters such as Gollum is in the game, so is his iconic ‘my precious’ dialogue.There are other notable characters who aren’t from the universe, but are interesting enough.

One of the finest things about the Shadow of Mordor is that as soon as you start playing it, quickly feel that you are in charge of all the power and you don’t have to fear the fact that there are gruesome, ugly orcs out there looking to kill them. The game is amazingly balanced when it comes to the combat, there is a perfect balance between the difficulty and the arsenal you will be given at your disposal. Enemies aren’t weak and won’t die without putting up a fight, on the other hand, the weapons at your disposal will provide satisfying about of blood, gore and flying limbs. In simple words, decapitating the enemies is the most satisfying thing about the combat, and there are a lot of way you can play the game. Charge on your enemies and take them head on, or sneak your way. The choices are unlimited.

The combat is much similar to the Batman Arkham series, but it is nowhere as easy. If you are early in the game, getting in trouble is really easy. Just let the enemies raise the alarm and things will get ugly. However, as you level up and unlock more skills, things will start to get easier.

Another interesting thing about this game is that despite winning or losing a fight, there is always something intriguing happening around. For instance, fighting an orc captain and defeating him will result in obtaining a rune. Then you can get that ruin and assign it to your weapon, if the ruin is legendary, you’ll get to see drastic changes. However, if you get killed by an enemy, the enemy who slaughtered you gets even more powerful with a new set of armour, there are times when the enemy even gets promoted to a higher rank. All of this adds a real authentic feel to the game and makes you want to be one step ahead of your enemies.

Some of the captains are way too easy to kill, this makes you wonder if it is really worth it. However, in some instances, they end up surviving and later coming back to fight you. When they do, they are scarred in some manner. Speaking of scars, the enemies are finely animated and carry one of the best expressions I’ve seen. Surely, it doesn’t beat L.A Noire but we’re not here interrogating orcs, we are smashing their heads in. Animations are smooth and they give you immense pleasure, whether you are decapitating orcs or just roaming around the beautifully crafted world that tends to change as the game progresses.

The game comes with hierarchy system which spices up the things. It is a pretty basic system when it comes to understanding it. Your enemies, who are called Uruks are going through a struggle for power within their ranks. While you are playing, you can interrupt their feasts, hunts and such events, then you can kill the captain or the higher in command war chief. This is where things get really fun. Each of the captain comes with their specific qualities, their strengths and their weaknesses. This makes every battle feel fresh but if you are over powered, it will be really easy for you to kill the captain or the war chief and be done with it.

Excuse me, there's something on your throat.  Mordor
Excuse me, there’s something on your throat.

As you progress through the game and reach the second half, you will realise Talion can also mind control the enemies. This is a really interesting strength, this way, you can go into the mind of enemies and from there you can start a fight between different Uruks. Then they’ll fight and slaughter each other while you can take pleasure from this. It sounds a bit sadistic but everything is fair when it comes to slaying the ugly orcs. You can also gather intel about Uruk strongholds by mind controlling the enemies and learn how green is the grass is on the other side.

Moving on to the story missions, the game doesn’t have an excellent campaign, but thanks to the amazing combat, beautiful textures and the universe itself, it keeps you hanging in and playing more. If you plan on skimming through the story missions alone, you can end the game in 12 hours or so with a 40 percent completion. However, if you are a true Tolkien fan and you want to know every inch of the game, then it is going to take you more than 48 hours. Note that it is an open world game and there is a plenty of stuff in the game to do.

After playing the game with keen interest, I guess it would be safe to give the game a 9/10.

Final words.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is an impressive game that possess all the qualities of good games. Yes, the campaign itself isn’t interesting, but the rest of the game is so satisfying, you will find yourself not paying attention. Whether you are a Tolkien fan or not, you will find this game amazing. I remember how people raised a question when this was announced and called it a cheap rip-off of Batman Arkham series and Assassin’s Creed series. No, it isn’t a rip off. It is completely different, yes, it does have some borrowed elements but even those elements are tuned with such finesse, you won’t pay attention. In simple words, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of the best games to be released this year.

Pros.

  • Great, immensely satisfying combat.
  • Mind controlling abilities are rad.
  • Hierarchy system is fun once you understand.
  • Beautifully crafted world with tons of things to do.

Cons.

  • Occasional slowdowns.
  • Campaign missions aren’t as exciting as they should have been.

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