“Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor” is a character action game with RPG elements by developer Monolith Productions, most notably known for the “F.E.A.R.” and “Condemned” series. The game takes place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” universe, between the timelines of “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings.”
While the game has a few moments of fan service that Tolkien fans will not miss, Monolith does a good job at making the game accessible to anyone, regardless of your stance on the “Lord of the Rings” franchise.
In the opening cinematic we see our playable character, Talion, a ranger of Gondor, and his family be executed by an army of Sauron. Talion is resurrected and guided by a wraith who has lost his identity. The story of the game is about Talion seeking his revenge against the army of Sauron and helping this mysterious wraith regain his identity. The story is the weakest part of “Shadow of Mordor,” as it plays it a little too safe.
“Shadow of Mordor” shines in it’s gameplay elements, perfecting mechanics seen in games such as the brawling of “Arkham City” and the movement and parkour of “Assassin’s Creed,” while introducing a new enemy AI hierarchy system, which is one of the most intricate systems I have seen.
Graphically, the game looks fantastic on my PS4. The first part of the game takes place in a muddy, dirty wasteland where it is usually raining. This is contrasted as the game shifts in it’s middle moments when you move to a new setting that has lush green plains and blue skies.
There are several weapon upgrades, side missions and challenges that will add to your experience in Mordor. More than 22 hours into the game, and I have not gotten fatigued with it yet. I expect to be playing “Shadow of Mordor” for a long time to come.