Publisher: Warner Brothers
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Truth be told, I finished this game a while back, but only now have I formulated the right words to how I feel about this game. I like it, I really do – and sorry to go off topic for a while but – they screwed up when they made it available to PS3 and Xbox 360. This game was made for the PS4 and Xbox One, it works great on those systems, it looks great, it feels great, but then there was an outcry from the people who didn’t own the current-gen consoles to keep on producing games for them; the result? A butchered game. The graphics were incredibly downgraded, and they even ripped out the Nemesis system – an awesome feature – just to fit the damn thing for old consoles. Anyways, let’s get on with it, shall we. I knew nothing about this game before the demo’s trailers were released. And soon after watching a dozen or so videos, it became one of my most anticipated games of 2014.
Talion, a Ranger of Gondor, stationed at the Black Gate, is killed along with his family. In the form of a curse, he is banished from the afterlife and bound to a Wraith, for what purpose, he doesn’t know. But the only way to remove the curse is to kill the one who set it upon him; The Black Hand of Sauron.
While Talion’s story and the Wraith’s story is pretty damn awesome – especially when you find out the Wraith’s history – it kind of dulls as it progresses. You know the goal from the start, kill the Black Hand. And while the missions were quite interesting, and some boring, the real fun is in the world itself.
As I said before, the fun is in what you are able to do in Middle Earth. After completing the tutorial missions, the game really opens up to you. It is a sandbox open world, with two decently scaled maps, and a dozen enemy strongholds. Just go crazy, do whatever you want. Brand and Control Orc Captains, kill everything, explore artifacts with Gollum, mess with orcs, hunt, gather, or simply free human captives. I spent most of my gameplay just running around doing whatever I wanted, and it was magnificent.
One thing about the world I didn’t like was the terrain. The first map was kind of just a dull brown, every where I went, a dull brown. And while the second map had a whole lot more green, it felt like exactly the same map. The only thing different was all the green plants.
The main characters were great, but I felt as if there was no real development throughout. You knew exactly who they were, and that never really changed. And the minor characters were kind of just there. They were interesting enough, I guess, but we never really delved deep into any of them. Actually, I loved Torvin, the hunter Dwarf with a haunted past and great sense of humour. He was the best side character that I found, and he taught you a good deal of things.
The Nemesis System:
Now this is what it’s all about: The Nemesis System. It is essentially an enemy virtual intelligence. You have constant access to an enemy captains screen, but all the captains and generals will be blacked out, you unlock them by gaining intel. And as soon as you gain said intel and choose which captain you want to learn about, the Nemesis System will randomly generate a persona, and strengths and weakness of said captain. He could be a veteran, or a coward; he could be scared of fire, or be enraged when you burn him; and he could be invulnerable to stealth attacks or vulnerable to ranged attacks. The possibilities are endless. And it is awesome. If you ever to decide to play a new game, then all captains you encounter would be completely different. The game replay-ability and variation is great.
Then they ripped this out of the old-gen game consoles because they couldn’t fit it. I say it shouldn’t have been made for the old-gen consoles.
The Combat System:
If you have ever played any of the Batman: Arkham games, then you will meet a similar combat system. The combat specializes in mob fighting. So while you can fight normally one on one or in small groups, if you are skilled enough, you can survive fighting a huge mob of 30 enemies. The amount of moves and combos and unlockable skills you have at your disposal keeps things interesting. And randomized runes help things along. Solid combat. The stealth aspect works really well too. Being able to sneak up on tower sentries and backstabbing them, and take down enemies one at a time without them even knowing you are there gives every situation strategy.
+ Nemesis System
– Meh characters
– No nemesis system in older consoles
Julius wrote this review specifically for the Xbox One version, If you would like to read another writers opinion on Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor then why not check out Gareth’s review on the PlayStation 4 by clicking on this link: ME: Shadow Of Mordor PS4 Review