For some reason, I’ve never been the biggest Lord of the Rings fan. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the world; I’ve seen all three Hobbit movie and thought they were pretty good generally, and the lore absolutely fascinates me. But it’s never been something I fell in love with, and that’s why I’ve never really bothered to play Shadow of Mordor.
I’ve heard generally good things though, but long time fans of the podcast will know that Lewis has informed me of his rather negative views on the game at length. Jim’s review of the game sits very distinctly on the other side of the debate, taking plenty of time to praise the game.
The Nemesis system is at the core of Shadow of Mordor, and Jim seemed to be a fan of it from the off, saying that it “adds a whole new layer to the way in which players interact with enemy NPCs thanks to a persistent Uruk hierarchy”. In fact he went even further in praising it, citing it as a hook “that will keep players coming back for more, long after the ten-hour campaign”.
As for the all important combat, Jim compared it to the free flowing system that’s become a signature of the Batman: Arkham series, although he did note that it “feels much more fast-paced and forgiving”. The game’s stealth system also eases up on the player slightly more than other games, with Uruk’s “only be able to spot Talion when fairly close” and no instant raising of the alarm if they glimpse your arm briefly. Although it may feel too easy for some, Jim felt it was “empowering”, particularly when coupled with Talion’s Wraith abilities.
He also praised the game’s overall presentation, calling its graphics “a real treat” on the the PS4 and Xbox One, and highlighted the variety of Uruks that the game throws at you, enjoying the fact that you’ll “rarely ever encounter two of the same during a skirmish”, something that’s a real issue in other open world titles. The game’s sound design drew equal praise, and he thought that the soundtrack and voicework take the game’s “cinematic experience one step further”.
In fact it seems that the only real knock that Jim could find against the game were “occasional pacing issues”, and he ended up rating the game as a 9/10. He wrapped up his review by saying this:
Shadow of Mordor is without doubt the best Middle-earth game available on consoles. Though not entirely original (then again, what is nowadays?) all of the elements which it borrows flow in sync with Monolith’s intuitive Nemesis system, creating something both immensely fun and replayable. That’s not to say the game doesn’t start to lose steam, especially once you’ve hit the thirty-hour mark, long after you’ve finished the story and explored the world. Still, when you eventually come to that milestone you will undoubtedly have had your fill.
So Jim certainly enjoyed Monolith’s trip into Tolkien’s world, but did you? Whatever your thoughts on the game are, we’d love to hear from you. All you need to do is drop us a comment below, remembering to include a rating from the Buy It, Sale It, Plus It, Avoid It scale so we can get a sense of the community’s overall verdict in Monday’s WeView Verdict.