When looking at Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor the game seems like a mix of Assassin’s Creed and Batman. But it has a lot more to offer.
The story takes place between the Hobbit movies and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the gamer plays a ranger that goes by the name of Talion. His family was killed by Sauron’s soldiers. A classic story about the struggle between good and evil begins.
Unfortunately, the special surprising moments in the story are missing. The plot of the 20 main missions is kept simple and is based on the key elements of the game’s story. The potential of the great Lord of the Rings universe is mostly unused. The best story moments are those where familiar characters like Gollum appear.
The gameplay mechanics are flawless. This is not a big surprise. Most of mechanics like climbing are taken from similar games for instance Assassin’s Creed. The combat mechanics are close to the Batman games. After a successful combo series, we can kill an enemy with a special move. The player collects experience points for every kill and successful completed missions. Through these actions he can unlock more than 30 talents. Therefore we quickly get the feeling of having played it all before. The gameworld is constructed wisely, but the feeling of authenticity is not as strong as it could be.
The new Nemesis system shows the hierarchy of the Orcs. In the beginning of the game random orcs will be created. Each of them has a random name, strengths and weaknesses. To get this information, players need to question other orcs. Then players have to find these mini bosses on the map. Should a player kill one of them, another Orc takes his place in the Nemesis system, if the player gets killed by an Orc, this boss get stronger and rises in rank. However, this system is more static than you think. Players do not care which Orc kills them. Its by far more important to kill as many Orcs as possible and as a result to collect experience points. It is also an interesting aspects to support Orcs in their fight against each other, so that they can rank up. Considering this the player reaches an emotional connection with the Orcs in the Nemesis system. There is much more potential in this system, which sadly is not completely used during the course of this game.
The Middle Earth game is not really a Next-Gen game. The engine has to run on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Unfortunately, players are able to experience this. However, the game looks quite good and runs smoothly. The textures are also looking good from a distance and the wide view is very impressive. The soundtrack is just fine for the game and supports the atmosphere.
The game is a bit emotionless and does not give us the impression to play something unique.
Unfortunately, the developer invested too much in the formula „Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and Batman“. And thats the reason, why the game does not come close to those above. However, the journey through Mordor makes a lot of fun. The individual elements go together perfectly and players definitely will enjoy this game for about 30 hours. For fans of open-world-games, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is recommendable.
Tested and written by Lias Kudla & Marcel Krafczyk