**Spoilers do appear in this review*
I meant to write this ages ago, after I actually beat this game, but life got in the way. But, considering that the sequel to the game comes out on October 10th, I figured this was as apt a time as any to talk about how awesome this game is.
Because it’s pretty dang awesome, people.
The basic premise is this: you play as a ranger named Talion after he and his family been murdered by the Black Hand of Sauron. Tailon, however, is left in limbo, in a wraith-like state and actually bonds with the spirit of Celebrimbor, brought together in the sorrow of the deaths of their families by the filth of Mordor. So you go not only on a quest to revenge your family, but you also search for Celebrimbor’s memories to learn his true identity and figure out how to get out of that wraith-like stage and join your family in the peace of death.
I know, freakin’ epic, right?
I loved this for a lot of reasons. One, because I’m such a Tolkien junkie, introducing players and lore like Celebrimbor was such a giddy experience, not only because I knew so much already about the world we were in, but I was always surprised by the new twists and liberties they took with the plot–and I always enjoyed them.
I also loved this for the gameplay. I love video games because they are so immersive and creative and challenging, but I also love them because when I get good at them, I feel like a badass (which is something I definitely don’t ascribe to in real life). Shadow of Mordor DEFINITELY makes you feel like a badass, when you have hordes and hordes of orcs coming after you and you just go on this massive slaying spree.
Which brings me to the third thing I loved: the mechanics of the gameplay. I’ve never played a game where the fighting felt so fluid. Apparently it was based off of Assassin’s Creed gameplay (I think) as far as how the fighting style was meant to work, but I was a pretty shit assassin in my go of the first one (granted, I make a pretty shit ranger a lot of the times, too, but at least I got the hang of it).
I also felt the story in Mordor picked up a lot when you unlock the second map and start meeting other characters. Being the completist that I am, I wanted to get through everything in the first map before I started the second and I won’t lie: grinding after I beat the main story of the first part for as long as I did, at times, I lost my interest a little bit. But the second half of the game, I loved every minute of it. I also was a huge fan of reading the lore you unlocked in the world and the artwork attached to it.
So, a lot of positives with Shadow of Mordor. According to the latest feature in Game Informer, Shadow of War is meant to capitalize on all of those positives and greatly expand upon them, especially in story and in scope. We get to ride flying drakes as we attempt to dominate Mordor. How freakin’ amazing is that? Also, considering that John Howe was hired to help do some concept art on the Nazgül, I can’t imagine how the sequel could be bad.
If you’re a fan of Middle-earth, slaying orcs and feeling like a badass, I highly recommend giving Shadow of Mordor a try if you haven’t already.