Today we shall look at a fun, but slightly flawed game, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-Earth is an action adventure RPG romp into the universe of the Lord of the Rings. With that established and without further adieu, let’s get this show on the road.
I believe that I have stated on numerous occasions that am not the most picky when it comes to graphics. There are others around here that can talk to you about the difference between 720p vs 880 vs 1080p vs 1080i and frame rates and all that other stuff. For me, it’s a simple question of ‘does it look good?’ and sometimes ‘just how good or bad does it look?’
For instance, the game Dark that I reviewed last year for Xbox 360 looked like something I probably could have played on my PS2. That is not good. On the other side of the graphics coin, Middle-Earth is pretty damn spectacular.
Another thing I’ve usually been pretty lenient on when judging a game is audio. However, I’m not sure if it’s the voice acting or the script, or just the way some of the conversing gets drowned out by sound effects at certain times, but I found myself annoyed at certain points while the the main character was involved in a conversation.
This typically occurred either during the loading screen when I started the game up(I still don’t know what the hell is supposed be talked about during this point, but all the audio is playing from the controller and not the TV) or at the top of a Watch Tower after I die and am reincarnated(so maybe I’ve just annoyed that I’ve died?).
Other than that, cut scene audio is fine and sound effects are good, so I can’t complain too much.
In Shadow of Mordor we take on the role of Talion, a captain with the Rangers of Gondor who guard the Black Gate of Mordor. Everyone and their mother ends up getting killed by Sauron’s armies, including Talion and his family. Talion and his family were ritualistically killed by the Black Hand, one of Sauron’s captains, in order to summon the wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor.
But Celebrimbor merges with Talion, bringing him back from the dead. Celebrimbor doesn’t remember who he was since he is a wraith, so he seeks Talion’s assistance in helping him remember/figure out who he was, all while aiding Talion in his quest for revenge.
The story takes place in between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies. While being a separate story from the other trilogies, there are obviously similarities, and we get to see and interact with Gollum.
It has been said repeatedly that this game is very much like Assassin’s Creed and the recent Batman: Arkham series. That seems pretty accurate. The movements and climbing seem very much like Assassin’s Creed, and from what little I’ve played of the Arkham games, the combat has it’s similarities.
Is strategic button mashing a thing? That comprises a lot of the combat, especially if you get surrounded by a large group of orcs. Mostly you’re hitting one of the two attack buttons, typically the one for a sword attack, but you also have a melee attack. When an orc is about to attack you, a button for a counter shows up over his head prompting you to push it.
My favorite course of action though, is going stealth and sneaking up behind an unsuspecting orc and killing them. Using the wraith bow is also fun, and searching for some of the different relics is a good way to find some easy experience and the currency points used for upgrades.
There’s a lot to like here. Really nice graphics, controls are pretty easy to pick up. Hardest thing to sort out was what exactly I needed to be doing, and that didn’t take long to figure out. This is definitely going onto my list of games that I’m looking forward to picking back up.
On the flip side, there’s not much bad. It gets a little tiring boring to kill orcs all the time. The caragors are very annoying and have killed me far more than any of the orcs. Very fun to ride and charge in to orc camps though, so there’s good and bad there.
It got to the point where I was wondering if I’d ever finish this. Really would be nice if I could win the lottery and just retire to a life of playing video games whenever I wanted, then maybe I could start writing these more on older games like I started out doing. Nevertheless, that’s probably not going to happen, so we’re stuck with my schedule as it stands now.
Anyway, as I said before, there’s a lot to like with this game. I would highly recommend checking this out for any of you that are on the fence, definitely worth a try. Not a lot holding this back, but still not quite a perfect game.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor gets a four out of five: GREAT.