Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth.
User reviews: Very Positive (17,555 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 30, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"Would be a competent but unremarkable Arkham-style open world game about killing orcs but made special with the Nemesis system and excellent voice work."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (7)

March 23

Update: Build v1951.11

Stability Fixes:
  • Fixed memory leak when SLI is enabled that could lead to “out of memory” crashes.
  • Fixed crash that could occur when saving if user had >200 uncollected Runes on the map. (Game now only saves 32 best uncollected Runes left on map.)
  • Fixed crash that could occur when closing game on skin selection window.

General Fixes:
  • Fixed an edge-case where Uruks were not re-populating empty spaces in the hierarchy, leading to extremely empty hierarchies.
  • Leaderboards now navigate properly.
  • Improved detection of monitor native resolution.

ːShowdownː

35 comments Read more

February 17

Update: Build v1951.6

New Features:
  • Bright Lord DLC support added. (Note: Bright Lord DLC requires slightly higher system specs than Main Game Campaign. If you’re noticing a loss in performance, please lower system settings.)

Continued PC Improvements:
Stability:
  • Fixed rare crash encountered when going into Skills Menu.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur if blood failed to render.
  • Fixed issue where game would crash after a video card driver crash.
  • Fixed crash related to physics.

Performance:
  • Improved rendering on domination FX to improve framerate.

Save/Load:
  • Fixed issue where users save progress could be lost after watching benchmark to completion.

UI:
  • Added ability to skip Splash Screens after first launch.

General:
  • Steam Achievements not being awarded properly. (Issue 1: Occasionally Achievement wasn’t awarded even though game criteria satisfied. Game now verifies again whether Achievement criteria has already been met and will re-pop. In some cases, it may be required to perform unlock a 2nd time. Issue 2: Some Achievements weren’t being awarded in Challenge Mode even though they should have. This issue should now be resolved.)
  • Fixed issue where player would lose Orc Hunter Rune when restarting Lord of the Hunt DLC.

ːShowdownː

161 comments Read more

Reviews

“AMAZING”
9.3/10 – IGN

“Revolutionary”
5/5 – Joystiq

“Remarkable”
4.5/5 – VideoGamer

Coming to SteamOS/Linux

Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™ will be available on SteamOS and Linux in Spring 2015.

About This Game

Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: 64-bit: Vista SP2, Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1
    • Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4 GHz
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 | AMD Radeon HD 5850
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 25 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: 64-bit: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-3770, 3.4 GHz | AMD FX-8350, 4.0 GHz
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 | AMD Radeon HD 7950
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 40 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
2,053 of 2,175 people (94%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
33.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
Shadow of Mordor is an excellent third person action game that takes the best parts of the Batman Arkham games, places it in Mordor, throws in a little (of the best of) Assassin's Creed and some outstanding voice work and out comes an excellent game.

Here's the tl;dr Pros/Cons:

Pros
+ Looks great. Sounds great.
+ Exceptionally optimized. Don't be fearful of the requirements. I came across no bugs whatsoever.
+ Takes one of the best combat systems in recent gaming history and applies it to a world that it really excels in. Combat animations are brutal (in a good way). Sneaking up on orcs and/or mauling a large pack of orcs is fun throughout the entire game. Some awesome "orc death" animations. The sight of an orc head flying away never gets old.
+ Strong story in a world that is teeming with stories.
+ A TON of stuff to do. Sidequests, hunting, collectibles, challenge modes. Nemesis system essentially creates a neverending enemy hierarchy.
+ Encourages further reading of Tolkien.
+ Stealth is fun and easy to get the hang of.
+ Fun with Carigors! When you hear an orc say "It's a carigor!" Climb up high, and have fun siccing them on orcs.

Cons
- Story can be finished quickly unless you take your time.
- An absolute fart of a final boss fight. Total copout in terms of design.
- A smattering of quicktime events that are annoying and take you out of the immersion.
- Some forgettable supporting characters. Lack of Middle Earth races represented. Mostly just men and orcs.
- Respawning of enemies in areas cleared prior happen almost immediately and is another immersion killer.
- Game map (there are two sections, one opens later in the game) seems small for a game that is a 35 gigabyte download.
- A bit easy. Lack of a choice of skill level hurts replayability.

I'm writing this review shortly after completing the story. According to Steam, I have 20.3 hours invested into it. I did not do everything there is to do and I imagine had I taken more time I could easily have gotten 50 hours into it. However, I found myself into the story and enjoyed the missions a lot, so I kept at it especially after gaining one particular ability. I won't spoil it, but it starts with a "B" and you get it roughly 60-70% of the way into the story and can totally change how you approach any skirmish in the game, big or small. Needless to say "B" is awesome and plays a key role in the lead up to the final confrontations. I am on the fence as to returning to the game to finish the plethora of side missions and I am probably going to wait until story DLC before I do so.

Without going into too much detail of the story, the game is one that grabs you immediately. Put simply, the Shadow of Mordor is a story of revenge and the opening is done so exceptionally well that I was immediately engaged and wanting to destroy orcs within minutes of taking control of the main character, Talion. While the game does a decent job of keeping this interest, I do feel there were some shortcuts taken in almost every respect. The story is not immediately predictable, but does run into some typical cliches that may have been unavoidable. The big bad guys that are your true "targets" (they're not orcs) are more fearful in terms of their look than their bite once you fight them.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the game is what's being termed as "the nemesis system". What this means is that when you are defeated in battle, the orc that defeats you grows in power, remembers you, and you are encouraged to seek him out to exact your revenge. There is almost a neverending limit to orcs that get promoted, so as you kill one, another will take his place in the power hierarchy in essence creating a constant power struggle amongst the orcs of Mordor. They will even fight themselves, plot against one another, and you can essentially push this one way or another by the choices you make. Unfortunately, this system does not have an effect on the story and could almost be considered a meta game as the story missions are mostly unaffected by this system until nearer the end. Despite this, the nemesis system is one that I imagine will be copied and perfected by other games. I am already imagining something like this in a game of political intrigue, or with a terrorist mastermind who becomes stronger via the choices you make. This is an excellent mechanic that deserves to be explored more fully.

QuickTip: Focus on Ranger abilities first. They are integral to strengthening Talion.

Most of the enemies in this game are run of the mill orcs. Some are stronger than others (i.e. Captains) and require some aspect of a mission (kill X number of guys a certain way) before they appear. It is very Arkham-esque in certain respects as most of the foot soldiers are complete pushovers. That said, I found most of this game entirely too easy. The only times I felt truly challenged by my enemies was when they were completely overwhelming or I was stuck in a chokepoint unable to defend myself. You will die, but I guarantee you will feel "cheated" at times regarding your manner of death. The lack of a skill level selection hurts this game's replayability.

QuickTip: Run a benchmark when you first launch the game and experiment with the settings from there. I was able to Ultra everything even if the benchmark put me at high on everything!

All in all, I am extremely impressed by Shadow of Mordor. It's an engaging and fun third person action game in a familar world with great mechanics and some new ones that should be staples in future games. It's technologically sound, and while I felt extremely let down by the final boss "fight", the journey was worth it. I wanted Talion to succeed and that is half the battle in a game like this. When the player cares about the "avatar", you've got yourself a great starting point. If you are at all a fan of this world, you owe it yourself to play this game.

Overall: 8/10
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1,010 of 1,089 people (93%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 3, 2014
The experience that stands out most for me was encountering an Orc named Zakadush The Warrior. This ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ showed up everywhere. He was also immensely terrifying. Not just because of his insane strength, but because of his personality. You see, Zakadush never spoke. He would only breathe heavily, giggle, and scream. There were many times I found myself with the upper hand in an intense combat situation, only to hear heavy breathing from behind -- and BAM -- Mr. Giggles (Zakadush) would ambush me, fling me around (literally), and beat me to a pulp. When I finally bested him during one of his many ambushes, I felt sweet relief and satisfaction. I was finally done with that psychopath.
NOPE.JPEG.
Zakadush somehow found his way back from beyond the grave and hunted me down again. This time, scars covered his face and gave him the look of an all-familiar clown villain from another series we're all familiar with. Mr. Giggles continued to be a pain in the ♥♥♥ for the rest of my game. I finally threw him off a cliff about an hour ago. Since I didn't cut off his head, there's no way to know for sure if that's the last I'll see of him. I want to believe he's dead, but I've learned that this game is cruel.


Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor may be one of the most surprising games of the year. My expectations were hugely surpassed by this gem -- and a shiny gem at that, the game is gorgeous and smooth. The main storyline is alright. The overall plot is interesting, but it feels disconnected between missions and has odd pacing. You can tell it isn't the main focus of the game, which is fine as I spent all 32 some-odd hours crafting my own story.


The combat flows smoothly and is incredibly brutal. There is weight behind every sword swing, stab, leap, throw -- you see where I'm going, it feels good to control. The combat is heavily borrowed from the Batman: Arkham games, but I feel it adds its own flavor to it as well. The animations are amazing through and through and make the combat, movement, and just about everything else feel very immersive and smooth.


The open world exploration is heavily reminiscent of the Assassin's Creed franchise and a bit of the Far Cry series. Movement feels good and climbing is nowhere near as clunky as it is in Assassin's Creed. Climbing isn't without its faults though, there are a few hang ups with the parkouring system, though they aren't big issues and are hardly worth commenting on. The stealth system is a nice mix between what is found in the Batman and Assassin's Creed games -- overall, there is a bit to be desired, but the mechanic is satisfying nonetheless.


I have beaten my enemies and have been bested brutally many times. The game isn't a cakewalk and rewards quick-thinking as well as slow tactic. You can be easily overwhelmed if you're not careful and sometimes you can't bounce back. As you get used to the controls and systems at play, the game naturally gets a bit easier -- especially when leveling up. As a difficulty junkie, I was still experiencing death in the late game, though significantly less often.


Death is satisfying in Mordor -- it's the main way you build stories with your many enemies. The Orcs who slay you will grow in power, they'll taunt you the next time you meet, and they remember every meeting. They'll recall their defeats and your demise. You develop an enemy -- a nemesis. The system is dense.


The nemesis system is probably one of the most dynamic, deep, and satisfying AI tech I've seen in quite awhile. The stories that unfold through the gameplay are amazing -- they're also unique, in that they're YOUR stories and experiences. The replay value is absurd. It's incredibly hard to stress just how great this game is, but it may be one of my all-time favorites now. The potential this game has met, and the systems it has introduced, are immense. I very much look forward to experiencing more of Middle-earth and I'm going to be playing in this world for quite some time.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
350 of 379 people (92%) found this review helpful
12 people found this review funny
14.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 21, 2014
Play this game if you enjoy:
Killing Orcs
Stabbing Orcs
Burning Orcs
Cutting of the Heads of Orcs
Gutting Orcs
Jumping on an Orc from a 20ft high rooftop, pinning him to the ground, then ruthlessly evicerating his thrashing body with a broken sword shank, spraying Orc blood to the wind, and hearing the lamentation of his Orc friends as they flee like cowards.
...
Shooting Orcs in the back as they run from you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
299 of 329 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
47.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
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]

PRESENTATION:
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.

GAMEPLAY:
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]

PROS:
+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.
+Nemesis system
+Storyline seems intriguing,BUT...

CONS:
-...the narrative just feels dull at times.
-An utterly disappointing finale.

VERDICT:
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.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
323 of 386 people (84%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
26.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2014
Took me 24 hours to 100% the game. I'll be brief: the gameplay is pretty solid, fast-paced and brutal, the graphcs is top-class, nemesis system is innovation in game design and I totally fell in love with it, the plot is mature and the final scenes are just masterpiece with no happy-end and no final kiss. For me Shadow of Mordor is among BEST 3rd-person action games of all times. A solid 9/10 and I strongly recommend buying it.
Keep up the good work, Monolith!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
185 of 216 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
38.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 23, 2014
Orc Murder Simulator 2014 is a game that's centered around killing orcs. That's the vast majority of Orc Murder Simulator 2014, and pretty much everything revolves around the Murder of Orcs in this Simulator from 2014.

Jokes aside, this game wound up being surprisingly good. The nemesis system, despite sounding like a gimmick, wound up being an extremely impressive, and occasionally downright personal, part of gameplay. I can tell vast tales of the clashes I've had with other orcs, the battles and attacks that I've suffered and caused, but that would take time away from the review.

Let's just say it's a system that uses randomized orcs, gives them interesting characteristics and has the orcs give you lines depending on how you've interacted with them in the past, how you meet them in the present, and how they expect you in the future. I've had many orcs mock the sheer absurd number of times I've died. There was one who asked if my brains were scrambled, since, and I quote, "Every time you've fought me, you've died!" It's an incredibly deep and impressive system, and one I'd love to see in more games.

Combat-wise, this game is essentially ArkhamAslysassin's Creed, but it does that well, too. The combat is responsive, the bouncing between orcs mid-fight feels incredibly good, the animations are top-notch in quality, and the brutality of the combat lends itself a kind of weight to the fights. It's all really smooth and fun.

In terms of challenge, the game also requires the player not just rush in and fight. It's certainly possible, it's just not a very good idea, and the player WILL be overwhelmed if they don't retreat when he or she needs to. It necessitates proper planning, stealth and scouting. The player can look over the landscape, see if there's a more powerful orc in the midst, and make sure they finish their objective/grab their collectibles/do whatever without being terribly murdered.

Actually, that's something else to discuss. When you die, the game doesn't just reset your progress. The orc that murdered you, if it's a grunt, will get promoted to a captain, and the side-missions will progress without you. It's a great way to give a price to death, and an even better way to have the orcs remember you when you die. Just makes me love the game that much more.

The story is essentially "Middle Fanfiction: Shadow of Headcanon". It's not super-great. The voice-acting and production values are high, but I didn't care too much about Gruffy McGravellyvoice and his Elven Stand. I cared much more about Ratbag (Who was funny up until his face was rearranged) and Torvin, and the ending was kind of garbage. But in the end if you're playing this game for the written-story you're missing the point.

On the technical side of things, I've experienced a few slowdowns but that's probably because my CPU is getting old and needs better cooling. It will set your game to some settings that are optimal for your machine, and I had zero problems running it at 60. There shouldn't be too many issues.

Overall, the game is great. It plays great, it runs pretty damn well, and it has one of the most impressive mission-framing-mechanics I've witnessed. I want more games like this.
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109 of 114 people (96%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
43.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2014
A no-nonsense fantasy action game where you play a dead man possessed by a dead elf and on a mission to create as many dead orcs as is inhumanly possible.

See my full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL_2Q1mmPxI
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459 of 618 people (74%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
10.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 27, 2014
This new installation of Assassin's Creed really brings a new atmosphere. Ezio has gone into witness protection and changed his name to Talion. As a measure of self defense, he trained with Batman to expand his knowledge of combat and martial arts. Occasionally throughout the game, Ezio does an assortment of drugs, causing him to think that he has wraith abilities, such as jumping from extremely high heights and not dying, which in reality, is because of the wagon full of hay that he falls into. Thankfully, we don't have any of the "present day" ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ story that nobody really cares about, so the game does have some improvements on its predecessors.
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131 of 157 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
29.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
Monolith’s first adventure in Middle-earth, Guardians of Middle-earth, was less than stellar, but the developer has rediscovered its mojo. Shadow of Mordor is an excellent game, and it shows.

You take the role of Talion, a Ranger that’s soon thrust into the harsh reality that Mordor and Sauron’s forces aren’t quite as dormant and broken as Gondor has been led to believe all these years. After witnessing the deaths of his son and wife, Talion himself is then slain...only to reawaken later to discover that he is for the most part immortal, and now bound to a particular Elven wraith. The opening moments of the game are, as you’d expect, a tutorial in the guise of introducing you to the Shadow of Mordor. We get a crash course in sneaking, basic combat and are then thrown into the open world of this pre-Lord of the Rings slice of Middle-Earth.

The fairly basic set-up is elevated immensely by some superb performances. Talion’s mission for revenge never feels forced, and the slow revelation of his elven companion's identity and past is genuinely engaging. Even the addition of Gollum fits neatly within the narrative, and gives Shadow of Mordor a solid link to the film adaptations without forcing it and smacking players like they were a fish on a rock.

Never before I have played an open world third-person action game that involved so much running away, but Shadow of Mordor is full of ‘tactical retreat’ moments you’ll be facing, otherwise you’ll just be whisked back up one of the few towers spread throughout the game world for fast travel. Combat itself is inspired by the close-up brawls and acrobatics from the likes of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series, and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. That’s not exactly a problem although Shadow of Mordor can at times become a little unwieldy with enough foes and obstacles surrounding you. Counters to enemy attacks are generally easy to do with a single button, but dodging can run into trouble and those sharp pikes hurt – a lot.

As you keep slaying orcs and uruks in your travels you’ll be accumulating experience which you can eventually spend on new abilities, or some that unlock during specific story missions, so you can begin to see some unique flavours emerge. One of the Wraith abilities will let you use our bow to teleport to a target for instance, helping you get out of a tight spot. Then there’s always covering ground riding a Caragor, or even a mighty Rancor-like Gruag. Talion has multiple upgrade paths available to him. Not only can he upgrade his martial skills, and his ranged and stealth based wraith abilities, he also can modify each of three weapons with runes, which alter their effects when used. Coupled with unlockable skills and combat moves, Shadow of Mordor provides more depth in combat alone than practically any game on the market, and it's all in service of the wholesale slaughter of orcs.

But where Shadow of Mordor really shines...is the Nemesis System. Enemies are for the most part a generic horde you’ll be swinging a blade through or firing an arrow at, but that’s where Monolith’s Nemesis system plays its part. Sure you’ll be wading through the grunts of Mordor but very quickly you’ll find yourself being introduced to the higher echelons of orc and uruk society. Captains aren’t your average grunt as they’re much tougher with greater strengths, and early on they’ll have some debilitating weaknesses to exploit like a crippling fear of being burned.

Each of the captains – all the way to warchief – have their own name and ‘motivations’ to give a sense of what they’re thinking. The more interesting part about this system is how easily the deck can be reshuffled. As you start picking them off lesser uruks and orcs will rise to take their place. This means there’ll always be a command structure for Sauron’s army but it also provides an endless array of more challenging foes, as Monolith attempt to make them ‘unique’. It’s a façade to be sure as they end up spouting the same insults eventually, and the models are recycled with variations, but it’s a neat little trick that does try to keep things appearing fresh. To help the Nemesis feature more is the ‘memory’ these captains will have of previous encounters with Talion, so much so that they could be all bandaged up, their eyes turned milky white, or gloating you’ve yet to beat them at all and instead died by their hands many times. If you think it’s easy to take these guys out then you’ll be rudely awakened. Just because you're a Ranger doesn’t mean battles will be easy. As soon as those uruks start swarming around things get heated fast.

In the latter half of the game things switch up as you no longer have to just slice and dice your way through the uruk hierarchy, but can instead brand them as puppets that’ll do your bidding. It’s definitely a welcome change of pace, tactics and fun than just butchering a load more generated captains. It allows for some pretty interesting power struggles as you effectively ‘gain control’ to a degree.

Exploring the land of Mordor is where the game really shows its quality, and is highly recommended. Collectables, upgrades, side quests, weapon upgrade quests, artefacts, and hunting missions are littered throughout the world. They're a completionist's dream, adding more flavour and some interesting rewards.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a strong foray into the Tolkien universe, backed up by popular combat from other major action series, with its own free-running style to boot. The Nemesis system does keep things a little fresh even if after a while it’s illusion of orc and uruk society does start to break down. The fact these captains are going about their business just as we are helps it feel more chaotic. It is without a doubt the best experience set in Middle-Earth, but also stacks up against any action fantasy adventure, whether with a cape and cowl or haystack diving.

A Must Play

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90 of 100 people (90%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
20.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
(TLDR? This review is also available in video format for your convenience below.)

Middle Earth is a world with no shortage of lore but surprisingly enough hasn't always translated well to video games. It's ironic given the number of high fantasy games that have been strongly influenced by Tolkien's world. Monolith has stepped up to the plate to give us Shadow of Mordor, combining open world action with a few original game mechanics in hopes of giving Middle Earth fans the game experience they have always wanted.

Set entirely in the dark land of Mordor and taking place between the events of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, it acts as a much needed bridge between the two. You play as Talion, a ranger from Gondor who's in charge of defending the black gate. He's killed along with his family in a sudden attack lead by the hand of Sauron but instead of dying, his body is possessed by an elven wraith. This wraith grants him power over death bestowing him with a plethora of different abilities to use, like the ability to fire magical arrows, lightning speed, and increased resilience among others.

The world is a typical sandbox design, feeling very similar to games like Assassin's Creed. There's a relatively small map to wander around in, along with towers that help to reveal the immediate vicinity as well as acting as checkpoints and fast travel stations. These towers are pretty much identical to those you'd find in an Ubisoft game.

Despite having a strong and interesting narrative, there aren't many story quests and there isn't as much content as you’d expect from a game of this genre. It doesn’t take very long to walk from one end of the map to the other, featuring a miniscule sized world compared to Grand Theft Auto V or Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. There are optional missions and challenges to be found though which can provide you with new runes and abilities, however these don’t add much to the gameplay experience.

The saving grace of Shadow of Mordor and the main thing that sets it apart from being just a generic mediocre sandbox game is the nemesis system. This one feature is innovative, addictive and extremely well executed. It single handedly makes the game worth playing. The basis of it is whenever Talion is killed by one of the many Uruk Hai orcs, that orc becomes your rival and is promoted in Sauron’s army. They'll gain access to new weapons and abilities making them all the more formidable when you run into them a second time. Even specific dialogue will play out between Talion and the orc as they will recognize him from last time. If you're killed by just the average orc, he will immediately be promoted to captain and can have a posse of followers the next time you see him. If you're killed by a captain, they will continue to rise in strength and influence as they'll use Talion’s death as a stepping stone on their path to warchief. Each of your nemeses will have their own unique personality along with strengths and weaknesses which can be revealed by interrogating other orcs. For example, a captain could be immune to ranged attacks or become significantly stronger if you kill one of his friends. On the other hand, he could have certain weaknesses such as being afraid of fire or certain beasts. This allows for elements of strategy and planning prior to hunting down one of Talion’s nemeses.

Events will also happen without your intervention, orcs will fight amongst themselves, often killing one another, leaving openings in the army. They will also seek to raise their strength and standing with various trials. The warchiefs can be particularly difficult to hunt since they will often have multiple captains defending them, and sometimes it’ll be better to pick them off one at a time prior. I had so much fun with the nemesis system that I found myself dying on purpose on more than one occasion just to watch an orc rise to power.

The combat in Shadow of Mordor is similar to games like Assassin's Creed and most particularly the Batman Arkham titles. It favors countering your assailants while maintaining a high hit chain with the odd special move thrown in. It's not overly challenging and the game can be completed rather easily with only the odd nemesis being difficult based on the combination of passive abilities he possesses.

The bosses aren't noteworthy, being fairly easy, with the conclusion of the game coming about rather abruptly. Shadow of Mordor could have really benefited from another ten or so hours of content. The DLC from the season pass seems to promise more but I would have definitely preferred if this was included from the get-go.

The game does have RPG elements however they're not really in-depth. There's no Bioware or Witcher style dialogue either if you were hoping for that. The game shouldn't be advertised as an RPG and should have just been marketed as a sandbox game. It has a fairly straight forward talent tree that doesn't add much of anything significant aside from passive bonuses while each of the abilities are usually unlocked as a result of completing a mission. There’s also a rune system where runes can be added to each of Talion’s weapons. These runes give different buffs and are obtained primarily from killing your nemeses, the higher their level, the better the rune generally.

The visuals are well done but I noticed some inconsistencies in the textures and between the orcs. Some orcs are highly detailed, while others appear to be ripped right out of the original xbox title; Call of Cthulhu. I also experienced quite a few bugs, primarily Talion getting stuck somewhere with fast-travel being the only option to rectify the issue. The voice acting is noteworthy with fan favorite Troy Baker voicing Talion among a host of other industry veterans for the supporting cast. The soundtrack is solid and fits the theme but it isn’t nearly as memorable as Howard Shore’s score from the motion pictures.

Ultimately Shadow of Mordor would feel like just another typical sandbox game if not for the nemesis system. This one feature is the game’s saving grace and along with the story are the main reasons to play it. The Nemesis system is most likely a sign of things to come for what we expect games of the future to have. It adds elements of re-playability and does wonders on holding one’s attention and creating an immersive environment. I’m sure it will be improved upon in future releases and that Shadow of Mordor will be remembered as its progenitor.

TLDR? This review is also available in video format:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvrwn_zAk74

Pros:
+ Excellent Narrative
+ Innovative Nemesis System
+ Solid Soundtrack & Voice Acting

Cons:
-Short Length & Small World
-Basic Combat
-Lack of in-depth RPG elements
-A bit buggy at times


If you enjoyed this review, please follow me as a Steam Curator, I'd appreciate it :)

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/AnalogReviewsOfficial#curation
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108 of 126 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
35.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 6, 2014
Despite its initial detractors, J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, The Lord of the Rings, is revered by many fans and is one of the best-selling novels of all time. It's an extraordinary story that has spawned three extraordinary movies, but managed only a few ordinary videogames. Until now.

On the surface, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor owes a lot of its gameplay to the inspiration derived from the successful Batman: Arkham and Assassin's Creed series of games. Players are given an open world setting within Mordor to explore, and innumerable Orcs and Uruk-hai to battle, and it’s these battles that set Shadow of Mordor apart from its influences.

The combat mechanism is a familiar combination of hit and counter, but with an added “last stand” mini-game that allows the character to parry a deathblow to remain in the fight. Winning the mini-game and surviving feels truly epic.

What’s more, Mordor introduces a fascinating "Nemesis" system for players to contend with. Enemy combatants stand to gain promotion (and effectively level up) from defeating you, or from the death of one of their rivals. If you flee from combat, which is a perfectly valid option when faced against a dozen enemies, you will also be taunted should you face the same foes again.

While not perfect--dead Orcs should remain dead--it can be enthralling, especially as more abilities become available.

Outside of the gameplay, there’s also something for the screenshot enthusiasts out there. The most recent update has added a Photo Mode, which is quite fun in and of itself with the options available to tweak shots. Check out the Community Hub for some great examples of the shots being produced from within the game.

It seems like the gaming industry has turned a corner with respect to licensed products. The Batman series is exceptional, and from what I understand, there’s even an Alien game that’s actually very good.

And now, at long last, we’ve got the one Lord of the RIngs game to rule them all.
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150 of 189 people (79%) found this review helpful
26.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 4, 2014
Mordor is very similar to a ac/arkham style combat action game with new mechanics thrown into the twist along with gorgeous graphics, action, gore and plenty of orcs to kill.

The game starts off with you playing as the ranger Talion a ranger from Gondor that guards the gates of Mordor and due to a certain event is now cursed and partnered with a wraith. Together they take on the army of Sauron to exact vengeance while discovering the identity of the wraith himself and to break the curse.

The voice acting is done with care to the characters to bring them to life in this game. From Talion and the Wraith along with all other characters that will is met during the quest to the various evils whom roam the land which includes orcs and creatures alike all have voices that represented them really well as if one was watching them from a lotr movie. The effects and the ambience sounds bring immersion to the game. Weapons, and sound effects were all done skillfully well to the point where you cannot get bored with hearing the sound of clashing swords and orc heads chopped off. The music playing the whole game is expected from this type of game with an epic war feeling to it along with some really adrenaline pumping pieces composed.

The graphics in this gamel looks incredible and absolutely gorgeous. The background aesthetic, the armors and weapons, characters, orcs, and everything else including the mucky grounds itself was very detailed and done really craftully to show an immersive battlefield environment which truly breathes life into the game. There will be ruins, orc buildings and cages throughout the map which takes place in Mordor to give it that very morbid environment. There are also interactable objects in the environment such as explosive pots, explodable campfires, breakable walls, hives, and hanging baits.

The map of the game is decently sized with in two locations. Udun and the Sea of nurnen both full lof orcs of all types of other evils. Ghouls that roam the land when a body is gathers, and rideable caradors and graugs. The maps shows icons in a very organize legend packed with main missions, side missions along with Missions ranging from human rescue missions, kill missions, power struggles, hunting captains, accomplishing timed tasks, Vendetta against captains to avenge other players who died in their game and finding hidden mirian points and bonus items. It was fun when it started thenll feels repetitive after a while and lacking variety.

The game play battle system is similar to the game Arkham and has a nostalgic Ac feel to it. The controls' option menu includes the ability for players to also key bind. Players will be taught how to attack, block, jump, dodge and stealth to dispatch enemies as the basic. As the game progresses Talion will be able to invest in abilities making him stronger. Players will need to master all these down to fight against variety of evil on the battlefield. Some of the skills becomes ridiculously overpowered later.

As Talion levels up he is able to invest point's abilities and acquire a plethora of skills that will aid him such as faster finishes, flurry attacks, dashes, and more all revolving around three weapons, which are the bow, daggers, and sword. There is a total of forty abilities he can invest in. Most of them can only be unlocked by leveling, doing the main quest, or power struggle quests.

The Attributes menu requires mirian points, which had to be invested in order to upgrade health, weapons and rune slots for them. They are divided into resources and weapon's branch, which totals up to 30 total abilities of upgrades. Talion is able to place a divergence of runes into the weapons to upgrade their stats to improve thier function ranging from stronger hits vs certain units in percentage value based on its level for more attack hits, and regenerative functions. There are also epic rated runes. Each weapon can only take a total of five runes once they are upgraded, and runes can range in levels. If extra runes are acquired, they can be destroyed and converted to Mirian's points.

The real meat of the game lies in the nemesis systems in hunting of enemy captains. Enemy captain's fight is a very dynamic system in the game and really adds an interesting fresh mechanic to the game. When meeting a captain, players is greeted by a dialogue if the captain knew Talion or heard of him, including having fought him before. He'll spout all kinds of verbal attacks on Talion some, which are great and other times creepy. They are usually specially ranked orc units in the game that are uncovered when Talion interrogates and kills grunts in the battlefields which can be scouted out to be marked and observed for weaknesses which can aid him in dispatching them quicker or used to call out the war chiefs which is the toughest of the hierarchy.

There are also sub ranks such as veteran, elite, and legendary ranked. They are much harder to kill and usually reside all over the battlefield, including strongholds where the enemies are concentrated. Once they are killed the chain of captains is switched about, and orcs falls around in ranking. The enemies themselves battle each other in a power struggle and rank around by themselves so as time goes along during gameplay or if manually forced they will become harder and level up in power. IF Talion is killed himself, the chain of command is also dynamically changed causing them to get even stronger.

The orcs themselves are dynamic and can be dealt with in a variety of ways, usually when killing one, players can choose to drain them for power or interrogate them to find the captains. By doing so players can work their way up to the chain from hunting down grunts to captains and then to war chiefs, which are the most powerful. Players are also able to kill an orc to use him to scout other orcs in the heiarchy, threaten them so that he increases thier levels, or even take control of them through branding in which he is able to pull out any ranked orcs to the field and there is no way they can counter it therefore breaking orcs difficulty.

The grunts themselves are very dynamic in the field with the dialogue, looks and spout among each other showing interaction on the battlefield. Orcs Ai also can fear the player when low on health or show anger depending on what type of weakness is exposed. In dialogues when players clashes with ranked orcs they will always spout previous encounters and different phrases depending on the events that gives players the immersive feeling the orcs knows them.
Healing is only regenerative in this game through rune skills, leveling up and herbs. Some of the other features such as qte are also unique. The only times you'll see them is when you try to jump on mounts, on the verge of death, or finishing off certain enemies where it'll require certain mouse movements along with button presses which sometimes breaks immersion.
Multiplayer available so far is only avenging players from other games who dies to orc captains and a trial game play and leadership board ranking. No other mode seen thus far. Loses replaybility because offers not much else.

Pros
+ superb graphic
+ Adrenaline pumping music scores
+ Dynamic nemesis system gameplay and battlefield giving orcs variety
+ Variety of pleasing skills
+ Incredible voice acting
+ Ai Interaction on battlefield
+ Solid Stealthplay

Cons -
- Only multiplayer is the trial gameplay where players are scored on a timed based event.
- Battlegrounds is decently sized over 2 maps, feels like many things missing.
- Last boss qte? WTF!
- No difficulty slider.
- Mostly orcs, caradors, ghouls and graugs. No other enemies



Curator search - Stream
YT/Twitch - Kenuty
Youtube Review- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gvokBodK_g&list=PL6GtmLrh3QgEyyl6_Jn08_p
Montage -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGb1fhCs-b4&list=PLDD373318EF5C9420
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131 of 169 people (78%) found this review helpful
19.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 7, 2014
It's like Batman arkham asylum and Assassin's creed had a baby.
If you are a fan of those games, and the Tolkien universe.
Then this is the game for you.

I personally feel like this game lived up to my expectations.
I was a little sceptical at first, because it looked too much like Assassin's creed.
But when you actually play the game, you forget all about it.

Pros:
+ Astonishing graphics
+ Counter Combat system
+ Stealth mode
+ Gollum... Do i need to say more?
+ Detailed environment
+ Wraith mode
+ Photo mode
+ Cape Physics
+ Nemesis system
+ Look mom, i can make a frontflip!

Cons:
- An Uruk threw his spear into a cliff and it killed me, apparently
- I insta killed a warchief with stealth
- Boss fights are way too easy

It's easy to say that this game has slowly become one of my favorite games of 2014.
Apart from the random spear kill, i really loved this game.
I give this title a 8/10 (9/10 if that spear didn't hit me)

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114 of 146 people (78%) found this review helpful
19.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
I played the game for ten hours so I know what it's like. Anyway the game is a great mix of the Batman Arkham games with Assassin's Creed climbing and campaign mission mechanics, which I wish were a little more varied than just following someone. The music is great, the nemesis system is awesome, haven't seen this much innovation in years, also haven't seen Monolith make a game of this Quality since Fear. So welcome back Monolith. Buy this game if you like Lord Of The Rings and if you like Arkham combat.
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164 of 222 people (74%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
77.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
I met an orc. He said no matter what, even if it cost him his life, he would kill me. I then rode a monster and ate him.


12/10 Would buy again
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78 of 93 people (84%) found this review helpful
27.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 20, 2014
This game does not bring a lot of new things to the table, except for the Nemesis system, which makes it really stand out.
All in all, this is a really good action/adventure game and beneficiates from the LOTR Universe.
Feels like an Assassin's Creed game but not as boring in my opinion.

Unfortunately the game is a bit too short and sometimes repetitive, but it's a good game if you want to enjoy some epic action from time to time.

I do not regret buying this game in the slightest, but try to buy it for cheaper than it is right now, because the game is really too short for my tastes.
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70 of 81 people (86%) found this review helpful
23.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
Positives
+ Excellent graphics
+ Combat is fluid and extremely fun, with lots of options
+ Open World
+ Interesting story in the LotR environment
+ Nemesis system is innovative and fun
+ Stealth
+ Very well optimized - I was worried about this, as my graphics card is at the very low end of the system requirements, but the game looked great and game play was extremely smooth

Negatives:
- A few of the side characters could have been fleshed out more
- Melee combat is extremely fun, but I found ranged a bit underwhelming and difficult to use
- While the combat is excellent, it gets a little repetitive after a while
- Caragors are annoying!

Overall:
An extremely fun and enjoyable game. This is my personal game of the year, and one of the best games I've played recently. Highly recommended.

Rating: 9/10
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1,123 of 1,682 people (67%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
27.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
Don't hate me for not recommending. I have my reasons for it.

This is my first review ever. Please read and rate it as a review.



26 hours and 8 minutes, 100% playthrough. 51/51 achievements.

For such a great game, that is too short playtime for 100%. I don't like the idea of games being unfinished when published. Game itself costs 50€ (bought it for half the price) and the rest is unlocked by buying a season pass or buying all the DLCs separatedly.

The game basically has unlimited amount of "boss fights" with the nemesis system. Once you face an enemy captain with a great set of strengths, you're going to be screwed. Cutting casually through hordes of normal enemies is enjoyable up to some point. Facing a boss enemy who can actually kill you with one strike if you mess up gives me the vibes.

The good:
+ Nemesis system.
+ Gameplay is awesomesauce
+ Music
+ Nemesis system.
+ Graphics
+ Worked great with mouse and keyboard while I hated to play Assassin's Creeds without a gamepad.
+ Nemesis system.

The bad:
- Story
- Short main questline (though I wouldn't see that as that bad thing when the story was mediocre)
- Clearly unfinished in my opinion
- The additional stuff starts repeating itself, bonus objectives counter that a little (I think I failed one bonus objective during the whole game)
- Out of lore monsters. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy battling graugs. I'm not 100% sure about this since I've only read the three LotR books and The Hobbit, but I don't think caragors, ghûls and graugs are part of the LotR lore. I had this feeling in the back of my head for the whole duration of the game.
- The final boss fight. MAJOR SPOILER WARNING:
Hit spacebar twice, click Sauron's knee once. Watch cutscene. See credits. LITERALLY.
Were they even trying?

I enjoyed the game. I wouldn't have played it for 26 hours if I didn't. I just wouldn't recommend it (especially for that full price) when the game feels unfinished. This is the first time ever I'm feeling like complaining about DLCs. I've bought Borderlands 2 season pass gladly, I've had premium for BF3 and BF4. Those felt like complete games when I played them. From my point of view DLCs should be supposed to add additional content to the game. Not to finish it or fix it.

In short: Great game, definitely worth playing. Just don't buy it for full price. It's not worth the money.
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102 of 131 people (78%) found this review helpful
35.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 16, 2014
After a neck slit, a direct death accompanies a person. The same doesn't take place with the captain as he finds himself banished from the very existence of death. Greeted by an unknown wraith like, the memories of his wife and boy dying in front of him rush into him. Spirited with revenge, the thought of killing the Uruks who happen to be a higher strata in the class of orcs add to his ethos.

Talion, the ranger, jumps off a forge tower. Mutiple events taking place around him, the Uruks enslaving humans, caragors feasting on Uruks, graugs smashing caragors, captains getting promoted, and suddenly he finds a group of Uruks to test his sword on. Approaching them, he finds his blade swings quite well until he discovers an Uruk trying to flee. Using his ability to shadow strike, he travels half a mile to the Uruk as the second hand moves by an unit. Delivering some slashes, Talion thinks of doing something new. Using his ability to brand, he dominates the Uruk to fight alongside with him against its own kind. This is Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. A worthy addition to open-world action games.

What Shadow of Mordor does very good :
  • An agape world potraying the rawness of Udun and the beauty of Sea of Lithurin.
  • Nemesis system flawlessy built which makes prioritizes every victory equally as it does to death.
  • Side missions while being fun, add to the strength of the protagonist.
  • The tone of the story stays true to its fiction.
  • A bunch of easter eggs which give you a delight on its relation with LoTR and the Hobbit.
  • Memorable soundtracks which add to the esque.
  • A 25-30 hour experience which leaves you with a great lasting appeal.

What Shadow of Mordor doesn't do very good :
  • Lacks autheticity as it borrows various gameplay elements from its fellow action games.
  • Hardly will you find strong moments in the main story, making it occasionally interesting.
  • The real vigour of the combat system is unlocked in the later part of the story.
  • Boss fights are often archaic, sundering the game to anticlimax.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor delivers an excellent gameplay, a ravishing open world while gets inadequate in its ingenuity. It is not by far a bad game but it isn't one of the best games either. Shadow of Mordor is something which you must play but after doing so, it does leave you with a lasting appeal of enjoyment and fun but falls short in delivering something that'll stay close to your heart.

My Rating - "Very good"
Traditional Rating - 8 on 10.
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62 of 72 people (86%) found this review helpful
21.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 2, 2014
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor follows a ranger named Talion stationed at the Black Gate, which soon becomes overrun with orcs as Sauron makes his return. Talion dies in the conflict, but due to a blood ritual is unable to pass on and instead merges with a wraith named Celebrimbor. This "brings him back to life", so to speak, and sets him on a path of vengeance to kill The Black Hand of Sauron for reasons I won't spoil. (It happens right at the beginning, but still!)

The story is not the game's strong point. In fact, Tolkien purists will be mostly upset with it, especially with any events relating to the Second Age, due to the developers taking some ridiculous dramatic liberties with the source material. Gollum is also randomly squeezed in and plays a surprisingly sizeable part in the story. Even Saruman is briefly up to no good with yet another possession of a monarch, though he does not ever appear directly. Both of these sort of scream 'fan service' to me, but whatever, I rolled with it. It's still an enjoyable story, just not as much as it could be.

This is fine, however. Not every game needs a good story if it has the game mechanics to back it up, and Shadow of Mordor has those in spades.

First of all: the Nemesis system. Never have I seen something quite like the Nemesis system in a game of this genre. It is absolutely fantastically designed. It is a dynamic AI system that populates the world with a hierarchy of orc war chiefs and captains who freely roam around the map taking part in their own missions to gain power, and in the case of captains, move further up the hierarchy. Each of them comes with a long list of strengths and weaknesses that change how you fight them completely every single time. One might be resistant to all forms of attack, but has a fear of mounted beasts. So, you mount up atop a caragor beast, which you can find trapped within cages or freely roaming the wilds, and chase that cowardly orc captain down as he runs from you in abject terror. Others require that you kill them with stealth takedowns or combat finishers or any other of the dozen or so options due to most of them having immunities and strengths to counter you.

As you progress further in the game and unlock more abilities, you will find more and more ways to fight your enemy and mess with the system, such as branding war chiefs and captains, commanding them to betray each other or aid you in the assassination of other captains, or instead you can send them death threats which will dramatically increase their power ratings, reducing their weaknesses and increasing their strengths for the chance of better loot. This is almost essential as war chiefs recruit captains to be their personal bodyguards, which will often turn a one on one fight into a one on five, unless you use the Nemesis system to your advantage. You can even brand captains mid-combat to turn them against their war chiefs right in the thick of it, which is something that can quickly turn the tide of a battle that is proving overwhelming (and many of them will).

The war chiefs and captains are captivating. They are ALL fully voiced with their own personalities, names and unique appearances. There is an endless supply of them due to the random generation, but it is so well designed. Every time you run into one, a small cutscene plays as they howl some insult at you or personal challenge in their grotesque yet strangely loveable accents. They also react to and remember past events. If you beat one to near death and he escapes, he will remember the next time you meet and angrily comment on it or any facial scars you gave him.

Another cool feature is the way death is handled. Because you’re a wraith, you can’t truly die, you just revive at a nearby tower. However, if an orc kills you, he will be promoted. This includes the lowly grunts, who will receive promotions to captain if they succeed at finishing you off. This means that with every death, your enemy gets stronger. If you run into a captain or war chief who is too difficult for you, he is just going to keep getting stronger and stronger. This can also turn certain orcs into your nemesis (can also happen if you beat a captain and they survive their injuries), which will power them up even further. They will also actively hunt you down while you’re minding your own business and attempt to kill you. This can be used to your advantage however, as the more power an enemy has, the better and higher level the loot they drop will be.

The combat. It is an identical system to what the Arkham games have, BUT I found it to be an even more satisfying and seamless experience when going from move to move (mostly thanks to being able to cancel any animation at any time), and also better animated, if you can believe that. There are a variety of executions and takedowns that, though I saw them repeating often, I never tired of. Some of these are things of gory beauty. Orc heads flinging all over the place as you blink around with Shadow Strike (a move that allows you to aim your bow and teleport next to your target) executing enemy after enemy, with most of them running in horror before your terrifying wraith powers, becomes a very common and satisfying sight. You are equipped with a sword, a bow and another sword, but with a broken blade which Talion uses as a dagger for stealth kills, and each of them can be upgraded with runes, which provide decent and varied buffs to your attacks. You eventually also unlock throwing knives, which can be used to keep an attack chain going, but are also surprisingly deadly at times. Outside of weapons, there are a surprising number of ways to distract your enemies. You can drop fly nests on top of them which will send them fleeing, explode campfires or barrels, poison containers of grog to kill them or fight amongst themselves, free caragor beasts (wargs) to wreak havoc (and even brand and mount them), stealthily brand enemies and then order them to turn on the others, and more. All of this combined with the fact that there are often dozens upon dozens of enemies on screen at once, with the chance of other wild animals jumping into the action at any time, results in dynamic, chaotic and thrilling battles.

There are a decent number of missions here. The ones related to the story are interesting, but nothing special and the side missions are more like challenges than anything else. However, they all mix in with the Nemesis system in some way or another, which is enough to keep them exciting and worth doing. There are also missions called Power Struggles, which involve orc captains attempting to increase their own power and get promoted, whether it be challenging other captains to duels, finding new recruits for themselves, holding a feast in celebration of their accomplishments or a variety of other things. You have the choice of helping them succeed, to make them more powerful or to help an orc under your control gain a promotion, or intervene to prevent them from becoming a powerful enemy.

Overall, I’d say the game will last you roughly 15 – 20 hours or maybe even 30 hours if you do everything and mess around with the Nemesis system. If you just rush the story and consider yourself done, then it’ll only last 6-10 hours, but I don’t recommend this.

Even without the Nemesis system this would be a great game of mashed up ideas from other franchises, but with it, it becomes something special. Everything is built around this AI system and tied together so well and it provides a near endless cycle of content. Expect to see something similar to it popping up in future titles. It is without a doubt an innovative idea.

For the time being, Shadow of Mordor is my favourite game of the year. I was very sceptical of it at first, but I’m so glad I bought it. It was a crazy ride.

Score: 9/10
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