WeView: Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor

One ring to rule them all.

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.

https://youtu.be/HoZgbPBGT04

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.

20 Comments

  1. Buy It
    One of the best games on new gen so far.

    No doubting that it’s can get a little bit repetitive but it’s far from alone in that aspect of modern games.

  2. Gameplay & mechanic was absolutely brilliant, the game felt so familiar but yet so improved in a so much refined way, it was basically everything you wanted in a assassin creed game & the combat was so batman fluid that made it fun & enjoyable to want to trigger a battle, the stealth was as awesome as a batman game, the use of the environment i.e bees & walls to distract enemies. Then the most amazing thing happened an Orc killed me only to come back later to taunt me about it & how it had been promoted to a higher rank for my killing. The best new gen touch that was, made the game feel alive!

    The let down, the story was totally ass, it was like so much build up only to be let down by a mediocre story, a let down boss fight. It’s like they said ok the game mechanic & combat is so amazing no one will care much for the story so let’s just throw something in there & hope they like the game as how it is.

    Bargain bin it

    • Just realised there is no bargain bin it anymore, if it’s on sale get it otherwise plus it

  3. Just got this in the PSN sale, haven’t played it yet but really looking forward to it.
    thought it was longer than 10 hrs though, ah well, a good 10hrs is better than a crappy 25 :)

    • Well said, but theres always a good 25 hours, i.e Batman. I’ll check the sale now though, still not played this yet.

  4. Too geek and not enough unique for me.
    Bought this purely on the fact that it combined Assassins Creed and Batman styles of play.
    Got boring too quickly,run across a sparse field mash some orcs,fight a captain repeat.
    Didn’t get the xp thing either.
    Maybe one for the Lord of the Rings purists?
    AVOID

  5. This is a strange one for me.

    I love the game and have absolutely nothing to complain about when I play it, however it remains unfinished and I cannot put my finger on why I choose to play other games over it. I started it after Christmas but it lost out to AC Unity for my time, once I finished that I started the game from scratch and got a lot further and loved it, then another AAA came along and I stopped. I need to go back and finish this before I start my next big game.

    The game is fun to play, the stealth system is well used and fun to carry out as is fighting and destroying huge groups of Uruks. I love the way the game seems to have it’s own thing happening in the background where the balance of power shifts with enemies promoted and fighting each other. It is almost like a double punishment when you get killed stupidly and then have to watch everyone gain power.

    Buy it. Just writing this has made me want to go back to it and give it more time.

  6. Awesome game, perfect combat system (borrowed heavily from the Arkham series), the nemesis system works well and adds to the usual generic orc enemies.

    Good story with bonus appearances from Gollum, was only disappointed when I finished it and did everything, though that took a good while to do.

    Buy the GotY edition which has the dlc included and you’ll have one of the best games in years!

    BUY IT NOW!

  7. Buy it!
    Loved every bit of this game, great acting, gameplay and combat is very refined and satisfying.

    First game I on the PS4 which beat expectations and second to get platinum after Infamous Second Son.

  8. This game was probably the most surprising game of last year. Despite being largely unoriginal and piecing together elements from the Arkham games & Assassin’s Creed-it manages to distance itself from both with an evolving semi procedural world and a smart enemy hierarchial system.

    I enjoyed how the game sits in the LOTR universe and its close ties to Gollum particularly. What shouls also be mentioned about this game is the talent behind it and also the voice acting is superb. The Uroks don’t all soun the same and there is variety in their make up. The story itself isn’t great. I felt it lent itself way too much to Dante’s Inferno & Castlevania: Lord Of The Shadow in terms of its revenge narrative.

    Most people will rave about the nemesis system and rightly so. It gives each player a unique stab at the game as they will incur different consequences.

    The game however cheated on me. I was battling it out with Khrosh ‘The Assassin’ after he annihilated me three times and became a powerful captain in the enemy’s ranks. I set about to kill him and I did so-brutally. I felt I earnt that win in the War. So not long after I kill another dude and I leave it there for the evening. The next evening, I load up and spawn on my tower. I drop down aiming to assassinate some uroks who are bossing slaves around. As I drop down and prepare my bow, I notice something charging towards me.

    I fire my bow twice at his head to no avail with the message ‘ranged attacks do not damage’. My mystery guest introduces himself as-Khrosh. As he said ‘Manswine’ I knew I was in for a treat and so I was. He was even more powerful and disposed of me easily. As he prepared to execute me, he didn’t do so only to say not this time. Turns out Khrosh is one of the bodyguards to the Warchiefs which could expalin his head being reattached.

    Still, I am glad I was able to tell this tale because it gives me something to fight for in the game-another chance with the toughest enemy I have faced so far. This moment is like in the first Terminator film when Srah and Kyle embrace only for The Terminator to rise from the fire realising the fight will go on.

    A unique open-world game with a dull story but excellent combat mechanics, technically brilliant both visually and in terms of dialogue/sound. Of the open world games I have played, this comes out on top along with Sleeping Dogs.

    Its at the £20 mark now so buy it.

  9. Not a huge fan of the movies (which put me off for a while) but when I finally got round the playing the game, I enjoyed it a lot – enough to get the platinum even.

    Gameplay is fantastic and once you start to unlock the special moves it becomes quite addictive. I managed to finish the whole thing in a week and it left me wanting more.

    Buy It.

  10. Was as pleasant a surprise to us as it was to the gaming press. Previews pointed out the excellent Nemesis system but how so many other mechanics felt a little too familiar. However, it came together so nicely that the game deservedly scored very well. The developers obviously knew how to build a solid game and with only the trailers to go on, hindsight showed us that it was most certainly more than the sum of its parts although that feels a little disingenuous to the Nemesis system. That was a stroke of genius and something I’d like to see featured in many an open-world title.

    Buy it.

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