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Published January 20, 2018

Shadow of Mordor: A Review

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a third-person open world action-adventure video game , where the player controls a ranger by the name of Talion who seeks revenge on the forces of Sauron after his family, consisting of his wife and son, are killed by those that lead them. The story focuses on Talion, a Ranger who lives in the Black Gate before the return of Sauron to Mordor – we chronologically between the events of The Hobbit and what will happen in The Lord of the Rings -. When the Dark returns senors, Orcs attack the settlements of men and murder Talion and his family, but this is not the end of the Ranger course.

Onto the gameplay: the gameplay in Shadow of Mordor is rather rewarding to play, and defeating orcs has been refined numerous times. You need to be perfect in timing to pull of certain moves and avoid getting killed, making for a challenging gameplay.

The Shadow of Mordor gameplay is a mix of Assassin’s Creed style traversal and stealth with combat very similar to the Batman: Arkham Series. The standout feature in this game is the Nemesis system, which keeps track of ranked members of Sauron’s army and their advancement through it. It also keeps track of the player’s relationship with them, where the uruks will remember their previous encounters with the player and respond accordingly.

These enemies will continue to do their own jobs and tasks even when they’re off screen; the game progresses in real time even if you do not interfere, and as such an enemy you meet in one gameplay session may suddenly have achieved a higher rank the next time you meet him. I found myself excitedly unlocking new abilities frequently, and each one adds tons of new gameplay possibilities as well as an ever-growing sense of power.

The gameplay foundation of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is very strong, which makes it all the more incredible that it’s also the least exciting thing about the game. The story, gameplay and open world features combine to make it one of the most unique games to play at the moment, while movie tie-ins find themselves resigned to exile.

Gameplay: 10/10

Gameplay is amazing the mechanics are easy to understand. Yet the missions start as challenging and only grow from there. There are plenty of places to sneak, parkor, and play around in. There’s a big emphasis on stealthy, sleek assassin-like gameplay.

Visuals: 10/10

Graphics look great, especially on a 4k display, and gameplay is smooth.

Story: 6/10

The gameplay clashes with story elements but the gameplay would have clashed with just about any story. I usually find a poor story to be a crippling problem for a game, but SoM’s gameplay and presentation is so well conceived and so well executed that it overcomes that handicap triumphantly.

Overall: 8.5/10

It was a very good game aside from a few issues with repetitive missions and gameplay. The core, moment-to-moment gameplay is extremely satisfying. Great game, great gameplay, great content.

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