Publisher: Warner Brothers
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 (tested), Xbox One, Xbox 360
Warner Brothers revisit the world of Middle Earth in this new third person open world game, set in the dark corners of Mordor. You play as ranger who has been murdered along with his family by the Black Hand of Sauron. You are resurrected by a mysterious Wraith and become linked together, with the same goal of killing the Black Hand. Its time for you embark on your adventure to destroy Sauron’s army.
The game plays like a ‘best of’ the last generation. The combat of the Arkham games. The gathering and outpost liberation of Far Cry. The stealth mechanics and free running of Assassins Creed. The side quests and openness of GTAV. Everything in this game has been done before, but here its entwined and stitched together wonderfully.
Like Assassins Creed your main aim is to gain access and eliminate the Black Hand, the commander of Sauron’s army. The story follows your ranger, gathering information about your target, and his five war chiefs. You meet a few familiar faces along the way from the films, but largely it stays away from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, which works hugely in its favour.
The main draw and probably the only original part of the game is the nemesis system. This is your way to the Black Hand. You need to kill all five war chiefs to get to the Black Hand and the only way of doing this is infiltrating the army. You can capture and assassinate orcs and uroks, torture them, turn them against each other, even bully them into doing your bidding. Your taught this early on and shown how to take an Orc you rescue and make him into a captain.
Captains and war chiefs have their strengths and weaknesses and you must get this information out of lesser orcs otherwise you’re going to struggle to take them down. Some for instance are immune to ranged attacks, but then are scared of worgs, so to take him down you should release a worg near him so he drops his guard. Then storm in for one of the brutal kill animations and disappear before any other enemies even know you are there.
The world isn’t huge, but it’s populated by numerous enemies, wildlife, people to help out, slaves to rescue and outposts to liberate. You can fast travel around the map by unlock forge towers to save you a few minutes. There are also a huge amount of side missions that will unlock various legendary weapons at the end if each quest line.
Gaining experience from everything you do go towards unlock your abilities. Everything from mocking faster to new executions can be unlocked. You also gain runes for your weapons which enable you to add effects you squander from fallen captains to increase or change the way you fight, some of these are especially handy when taking on a horde of uroks at once.
The back ground and story a filled out and you’ll meet a few characters like Golem as you dance around Mordor. It’s hugely satisfying sneaking through a campsite and excited everyone silently, then riding off on a stolen beast with a trail of freed slaves cheering you on.
Mordor is a huge surprise for me. It didn’t demo particularly great at EGX, but after getting my hands on it I can safely say it is one of my favourite games this year. It’s polished and plays excellently. Also the nemesis system is something that genuinely feels next-gen and I really hope they implement it into future games.