First things first.Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will NOT evade comparisions with Ubisoft's heavyweight Assassin's Creed games and even WB's own Batman Arkham series.
After a fairly long 40hour hands-on with this game,I can say its one of the bests this year.
While the game itself draws inspiration from a handful of popular games,Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor has not failed to create its own identity.
[TL;DR Version,Down below]
Starting from the protagonist(s),Talion certainly seems like a good fit for Tolkien's universe,with his stringy shoulder-length hair,his stoic manner,and his three-syllable moniker.The story bits and indentity of a particular "wraith" have been disclosed pre-release and I prefer not to discuss it here,a story that doesn’t make total sense for hardcore Tolkien scholars,but it’s brillantly-acted and paced!
In any case,the Talion/wraith dichotomy leads to some Shadow of Mordor's slickest moments.The ghostly wraith slides out of Talion's body from time to time to talk with him and then dissipates in a vaporous sigh.When the wraith's anger becomes all-consuming,Talion's face melts away to reveal the apparition underneath.
Mordor itself is an engaging open world with a vibrant and grim setting.The burnt orange-brown cliffs and pastures of Nurn are some of the best vistas you will appreciate.They say that the devil is in the details,but in Mordor,the devil is plain to see.It is in the details that you find the glimmers of light,even though you know that no happy ending is nigh.To sum the voice performance,Troy Baker and Alastair Duncan have done an exemplary job bringing Talion and the "Wraith" to life.
The reason this game stands apart from other adventure games is the Nemesis System,which works suprisingly well just as advertised!Think of it as a dynamic AI that puts you in epic encounters with orcs who have studied your behavior and will react accordingly,making each battle personal.If you flee from battling an enemy captain, you’ll hear about your cowardice the next time two of you tango.If you’re defeated by one,you’ll really get raked over the coals at a followup clash.Its a particularly phenomenal concept without which the game could be terribly boring.
Mordor’s close combat involves great,gory decapitation and stabbing animations,and outside of the scripted story missions,there are few distinctly separated stealth and combat areas.
What sets the feel of Mordor’s combat apart from the Batman games is that it’s really easy to get into trouble,especially early on.If you let the uruks raise the alarm in one of their strongholds,or just happen across a few large wandering groups on the densely populated map,you can quickly become overwhelmed by more enemies than you can hope to handle.Picking out the shield bearers and berserkers who are immune to frontal attacks and killing them first becomes tough to do when you’re completely surrounded and it goes downhill from there.
[ONLY FOR TL;DR SPAMMERS]
+Well-realised open world with great art style
+Great characters complete with top-notch voice acting
+Surprisingly challenging combat
+Loads of references for Tolkien scholars.
+Storyline seems intriguing,BUT...
-...the narrative just feels dull at times.
-An utterly disappointing finale.
If you've been burned by one of those big-budget massively hyped games that released recently,come to Mordor and you won't walk away disappointed.
Sure,it isn't a perfect game by all means,it has its share of flaws but it's strengths overweighs those.
A far better and impressive game than many would’ve imagined,not just in terms of its action and LotR authenticity – but in bringing a genuinely new idea to gaming.