Much like Batman: Arkham Asylum, I think Shadow of Mordor surprised a lot of people. I was certainly somewhat surprised by the community’s generally positive response to the game, even though it’s been out for some time now. It’s just so unusual for a licensed game to come out and compete, that no-one really expected Shadow of Mordor to set the world alight.
However, setting the world alight is almost exactly what it did, with BrendanCalls naming it “One of the best games on new gen so far”, Starman calling it an “Awesome game”, and sigerzx saying they “Loved every bit of this game”.
The game’s core mechanics seem to be where it really shines, which is another surprise considering how many of you felt it mashed up elements of the Batman and Assassin’s Creed series. Normally, it feels that this leads to mediocrity or failure, but somehow Shadow of Mordor pulls it off.
In fact Galahad-TheViper went so far as to call the game an improvement on the Batman: Arkham series, saying that while “Batman games always feel divided between Predator sequences or combat encounters, this game managed to find a nice middle ground where the player feels in control at all times.”
Others, like DingSpal1, felt that drawing on Batman’s combat system was a smart move, pointing out that “if you are going to borrow a system from a game – it may as well be a great system from a pretty great game”. JustTaylorNow pretty much agreed, going so far as to coin the term “Batman fluid” to describe just how well combat flows in both Rocksteady’s Batman games and in Shadow of Mordor, a phrase I feel should be adopted when describing combat in any future game.
It was the game’s Nemesis system that really seemed to make it stand out though. Kennykazey wasn’t absolutely in love with the game as a whole, but still felt that the Nemesis system gave “the game a dynamic flair unlike anything we’ve seen before”. Then there was Megamoppy, who was more than content to just play “around with the nemesis system” instead of actually beating the game’s story. However, by far the best comment on this element of the game came in the form of a lengthy comment from cam_manutd, where they detailed their battles Khrosh ‘The Assassin’. It’s too long to reproduce here, but I urge you to go read it.
Not everything was rosy though, with the story being the main stumbling block for many. James.warne.jw was fairly brutal when discussing this element of the game, saying that “whenever the game tried to tell any of the anorexic story it all fell apart”. JustTaylorNow took a somewhat simpler approach by referring to the story as “totally ass”.
Psychobudgie was equally unimpressed by the story, and also suffered with the camera’s “sensitivity and acceleration”, which they found to be “such a distraction that I put the game down and never played it again”. However, it’s clear that wonkey-willy disliked the game most, becoming bored by the way it had them “run across a sparse field mash some orcs, fight a captain” endlessly.
For this week’s final comment I’m going to return to the surprising nature of the game, something that bunimomike also picked up on:
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.
Finally, it’s time for Shadow of Mordor’s reckoning. Just one of you voted for Avoid It, while another voted for Plus It. With thirteen votes remaining, it’s clear that you should go out of your way to own this game, even if you can only find it at full price. That’s right, Buy It came out on top with ten votes, while the final three went to Sale It.
In tomorrow’s WeView we’ll be discussing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. As always, you can vote for next week’s game below.