Shadow of Mordor [Review]: A True Masterpiece

Talion- “Where am I?”

Celebrimbor- “You have been banished from death, cast adrift between the worlds of light and dark.”

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Once in a decade, you get a game that delivers a brilliant story along with a solid gameplay. And this is not just any ordinary story rather let’s say this is a story to which your heart gets attached to. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is exactly that kind of game we are talking about. Based on the universe of The Hobbit as well as LOTR, this game is one among the best action role-playing games made so far.

The story is mainly centered on Talion, a ranger of Gondor who has been strongly fulfilling his duty of guarding the Black Gate of Mordor. Unfortunately, the invasion of Sauron’s armies leads to some tragic events in which his family members get killed. But Talion becomes the only survivor in this mishap as he is punished with something far more worse than death. As he revives, he is joined by Celebrimbor (also a playable character, later revealed to be the greatest smith of the Second age) where the main story begins. If you refer the above two dialogues mentioned in the beginning of this article, you will get to know the theme of the story. I would not like to spill the fun by revealing more about the plot. But if you are really interested then either buy this game or get Sherlock to deduce the events of the storyline 😆

Talion has two sets of skills namely,’ Ranger’ and ‘Wraith’, both of which can be upgraded as you gain xp. His ranger skills solely describe his human abilities like combat finishers, stealth knockdowns, etc. whereas, the possession of wraith due to Celebrimbor, mainly focuses on super-natural Elven skills like archery, deadly blows and strikes, brainwashing enemies, etc. As you proceed further in the story, you will keep on encountering Gollum due to which you will discover facts about Celebrimbor and gradually you will be able to unlock some of your wraith abilities.

The combat system that has been directly inspired from Batman series of games will completely keep you engaged. You can use wraith to stun enemies and finish them using multiple split-second blows in quick succession or wait for some time to directly make a finishing blow using your entire wraith. When your health bar gets completely empty then Talion can easily revive, if you make a well-timed finishing move to strike your opponent. You can also brainwash enemies to bend them to your own will. They can be used to gather intel or assassinate captains and warchiefs. This is an awesome skill which you will really like. And yes, I also forgot to mention the wall climbing feature inspired from Assassin’s Creed which makes this game an interesting combination of incredible gameplay mechanics. In other words, just buy one and you get three. Using wraith vision you can see through walls, identify the location of your target and some objects.

The quests have been divided into three categories: i) Storyline Quests ii) Liberation Quests iii) Power quests. The second and third category of missions mainly focus on rescuing the humans who have been enslaved by Uruks, eliminating captains and warchiefs and lastly weakening Sauron’s armies. There are also many side-missions available which you can complete to gain extra xp to further upgrade your abilities. Eliminating captains and warchiefs is not a simple task. You will have to strongly rely on stealth to storm their base, gather intel to learn their weaknesses, so that you can exploit them, use tactics and also you need to upgrade your combat skills gradually (Otherwise, you won’t be able to survive against waves of enemies while facing a captain or any warchief). You can shoot at bee-hives to create distractions, release caragors (deadly wild beasts) from their pens, poison Uruk drinking vessels (so that, when the Uruks drink from them, they become mad and start to fight amongst themselves) or shoot at oil barrels to create explosions. You have to make use of all these strategies in game to complete these kind of missions. It’s a bit complicated but I ensure that you will have fun doing so. The Nemesis AI system lives upto its expectations. For experimental purposes, I went on a mission to take down a captain who had a fear of caragors. So, I released a caragor from its pen and as predicted, the Captain became ravaged with terror and started retreating and finally escaped. Knowingly, I did not kill him but the next time when I encountered him, he recalled his last experience and the same trick did not work on him.

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The only thing that I did not like is the fact that whenever you kill someone during a mission, after some time they regenerate in most of the cases. I once remember killing an archer but when I was away from where he was located, I still saw him standing over there. But the rest is fine. The game is so good that you may also neglect this limitation that I have mentioned.

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This is a must-buy game not only for LOTR fans but also for all the gamers as they will get highly entertained from the game’s story, stealth and combat mechanics. The Nemesis AI is a unique approach implemented in this game that exhibits a good result as well as performance. The graphics is also decent and has been finely detailed. Hats off to Monolith Productions to develop such a masterpiece game! Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor marks the era of a new franchise in making from which we have lots of expectation.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Story
Gameplay
Concept
Theme
Amlan is a hardcore gaming freak, who is the COO and Editor-in-Chief at Tech Legends. Presently, he is pursuing his B.Tech in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. He is an avid fan of gadgets and always keeps in touch with what's happening around in the tech world. Apart from gaming and technology, he loves to research a lot regarding the culture and geography of various countries, cities, etc. He is also a writer and his first book titled,"A Brief Study of Japan", was published when he was in 9th grade. His motto is, "Keep moving forward and never ever give up".

4 COMMENTS

  1. Honestly I am not really amazed by the game though the game had it’s moments.This may be because I have seen the games evolving from the 8-bit Mario days and been a gamer half my life.
    Game play resembled a great deal with the batman and castlevania franchise.Story beIng inspired from the LOTR my expectations were not met.There was so little to do.No interesting side quests nor too great weapons.At some instances I was hacking and slicing the branded uruks.So there are some shortcomings.
    Now the best parts
    Graphics..plenty of eye candy even on medium settings.
    Sound..music was pure adrenalin.5.1 surround with the music in the backround while riding a caragor..ultimate experience
    Gameplay..shadowkill is best superweapon I have seen in years.Stealth is the best form of combat in the game.And even as the scope is low..there is plenty of variety.The AI is the best I have seen the years.They know when to retreat and when to flee.And trust me they turn olympic runners when they flee,without elvenswiftness its nearly impossible catch them on foot.

    Summing up…for a humongous install size of 45Gb the game does live up to the expectations in terms of graphics,sound and overall content.The biggest shortcomings for me are the combat(sometimes faulty),difficulty(success never guaranteed) and the story(mass effect,amalur,castlevania fans would understand).I dont know why I found many things unnecessary and was left wanting for more at the end.

    • The difficulty level is a bit higher, I agree with you. That’s why you specifically need to complete most of the side quests to ean extra xp and Mirian to upgrade your abilities as well as stats. In fact I also faced the same problem like you, therefore I mainly focused on completing the side quests and power struggles first. I unlocked my skills and enhanced my stats. After that somehow I managed to do well in main missions especially the ones involoving the elimination of warchiefs. It was fun though exploring the world, reading about the culture and analyzing the Envioronment. I loved it. This is a good rpg. The most interesting thing in this game is branding enemies and putting them on your side. That is really awesome. Story may not be upto our expectations but still it was good. The most important thing are the characters. Talion’s background history and his unition with Celebrimbor. Ohhh….that was cool! When you go through his history, you will definitely realise the Talion-Celebrimbor duo is awesome. Ranger skills combined with wraith! You will rule the world when you have that power!!! And yes, you are right, there should have been more weapons made available to the player. But the combo-finishing moves using your sword were splendid! When you stun an enemy using wraith and throw a series of qucik moves at him…..that really feels great. I loved this game though and seriously, I never expected the game to be this good.

  2. When you have played RPGS like Mass Effect Series, Castlevania Series and Kingdoms of Amalur and have liked them its quite evident that the story of the game rules above all aspects of the game in an RPG.Being derived from a bound script its should congenitally have story as its main USP.But what really happens is that you end up slashing and hacking a lot of Uruks for just the sheer portrayal of fashionable killing techniques, control graugs for no real good reason and end up feeling wanting for more .It did not have a destroy all environment like Crysis and other games but still had an install size of 45Gb.Side quests was like learning 101 tricks to kill Uruks just to get the grand prize of 20sec all you can kill(Uruks only!!)difficulty was like what would you do if you had only one sword and you were to face a horde of 30 Uruks at once(more on the way..holy cow) and one captain whom you realize is a combat master (cannot be hurt by a sword directly..can only be stealth killed) and then another two captains join in for no good reason taunting you as they appear.That is just holy crap.Period.See left & right…RUN!!

    Stunning and raining a barrage of sword strikes is an old trick learned from Batman series.Controlling caragors superbly imitated from Castlevania, Hand to Hand Combat again from batman..I could just go on.I have lived the LOTR movies like years in watching time.So an ardent lover of the franchise I had a gripping story as my main demand(though i know it like the back of my hand).Even though a number of new promising aspects were introduced for the first time I would expect the sequel would be more of an RPG game rather than a beat-em-up in the skin of an RPG.This is game is brilliant nonetheless, had potential to dethrone Mass Effect as the best RPG ever but something somewhere went wrong.
    My personal Rating :08/10.Play it if you want to experience the next gen RPGs(~beat em up),but the entire story of the RPG is only a page length at max.

  3. Hmmm…I also faced a lot of difficulties facing a horde of Uruks guarding a group of three captains or something like that but letter when you gain the branding skills, practically and literally you own them. Just combat-brand them and they are at your service. You use their own weapons against them. Ha ha ha…..how ironical. And there is nothing wrong with getting your ideas inspired from any other games. If those features are tweaked, then you should appreciate them. Also, Batman and Shadow of Mordor belong to the same family- WB Games.

    This was not like an excellent rpg or anything but plainly just as a normal game I liked it. It was entertaining. Could have been somewhat better if they could have added more variety to the gameplay. Like you justified your personal rating, I also did the same thing. Destructoid rated it 6 and IGN 9.3. You notice the difference. If you see the former’s review you will be surprised.

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