The first thing that came to mind when Shadow of Mordor was released was that I couldn’t believe that they were releasing a game based in the world of Lord the Rings, it turns out that it has become one of my favourite games.
The story kicks off following a soldier of Gondor stationed on the black gate by the name of Talion. He lived there with his family when one day the black gate was attacked by none other than 3 of Sauron’s henchmen, The Hammer of Sauron, The Tower of Sauron and the Black Hand. They killed his family and then proceeded to kill Talion as well, only something happened that no one expected, he was alive again,breathing, all thanks to the ghost of one of the strongest elves to have lived, Celebrimbor. For some reason they are both connected and their connection prevents Talion from ever truly dieing. Because of this Talion decides to set off on a quest of revenge.
The first thing you notice about this game is that for 2014 the graphics were amazing. The physics of the grass waving in the wind, or atleast what was left of the grass in Mordor. Your characters physics and graphics were top notch and all the orcs and beasts you could find all looked amazing. The scenery was fantastic and even with all of this there was still no, or at least very rare drops in frame rate.
Secondly the gameplay takes this game to another level. You have your sword, however in addition to that you also have a broken sword that you use as a knife that you get at the start of the game, and you have a bow, actually more accurately a shadow bow. Combat is rather simple but brilliant and what makes it brilliant is that everything works exactly how it is supposed to and it just moves so smoothly. At the start of the game the combat is in its simplest form however as you move along you are able to improve your different abilities to keep making you stronger. The cool thing is that your weapons take runes, these runes in turn improve your weapons and add special buffs, some are pretty simple however some are incredibly helpful.
Thirdly the way the game is set up is an awesome idea. You, Talion, are trying to get revenge on the three guys who killed you and your family. However to draw them out you need to cause enough trouble and wreak enough mayhem to draw them out. In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie, there are captains and warchiefs that you need to either kill or dominate, mind you, you don’t learn to dominate until later in the game. To begin with you need to start killing captains that are like little bosses that become a little easier as you learn the game. Eventually you have to take on Warchiefs, they are the bosses of the Captains and are harder again. Here is where the system becomes awesome, If you end up getting killed, and I assure you that it will at least happen once. The Captain or Warchief that kills you gains a level and becomes more powerful, and if there are empty spaces in there command “structure” they will be filled. This is a brilliant aspect of the game and one that can be a pain, as I was killed by the same captain four times to the point he was harder to kill then the Warchiefs. Every time you fail, the game proceeds to slightly punish you and make things a little harder, this in turn forces you to take things seriously and try to find the easiest route to killing the captain.
Lastly, but most importantly, the story is absolutely amazing. Following Talion along his quest of revenge, you start to feel for Talion. There are definitely some twist and turns that you learn about as you move along the story. Plus there are some awesome characters added to the game that fight alongside you and help you in your quest for vengeance and teach you much needed skills like hunting Graugs.
This game pulls you in from the very beginning, makes you feel for the main character, and has all the fantastic graphics and gameplay to back it up that make it the spectacular game that it is.
Review by Dillon Van Der Putten