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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of the most ambitious games of our time, taking the task of creating an open world adventure in the mist popular fantasy setting in history - Tolkien's legendarium. It was developed by Monolith Productions, a company with a reputation of making some of the greatest and legendary games of the past decade. The game looks, sounds, and feels like a big budget blockbuster with a pedigree no one else can rival. But is it any good?
It actually is. It's a vast open world filled with lore and atmosphere of Tolkien's works and a touch of the movie adaptations. You play as a Ranger, killed in the prologue of the story and resurrected, now possessing supernatural powers to fight against Sauron and his hordes, in a time period between The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings. The premise sets you up as a character with many skills and abilities you can have a lot of fun with. There is a basic character development system: you can complete side missions to upgrade your bow, sword and knife as well as develop wraith-like abilities by completing special tasks and defeating enemies. But the core mechanics are pure action, stealth and, not surprisingly, hunting. The special Nemesis allows you to track specific targets of greater significance and destroy them for bonuses and rewards. This really adds to the atmosphere of the game, making you really feel like a Ranger doing his duty and scouting the lands of Mordor and surviving countless melee, ranged, and magic fights.
The gameplay is the strongest part of the game, along with the setting and content. There is so much for the player to do, one can even get lost in the game's world. Unfortunately, the story is not nearly as engaging. It's a good Tolkien-style epic, but it lacks any real impact. A revenge story is only as good as its personal, and Tolkien's world is not a setting for personal stories. However, it's a decent storyline with decent characters and cameos by the book heroes that will not leave you bored and avoiding story missions. It's just not as good as everything else.
To conclude, Shadow of Mordor is as big and epic as it sounds. If you want something similar to Peter Jackson's films in gaming, I highly recommend you try it.
- Fluid combat and stealth mechanics
- Large open world
- Interesting setting
- Boss battles are a bit underwhelming