A &E

A Game Hidden in Dark Shadow

With the “Hobbit” movies being big blockbusters the past few years, it could be assumed that games were to accompany them. Though there have been some “Hobbit” based games, there is another game based on Tolkien’s books that isn’t about the movies. “Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor,” developed by Monolith Productions, is an action open world RPG (role playing game) that takes place between the events of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogies.

The player plays as Talion, a ranger much like Aragorn from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The armies of the Dark Lord himself, Sauron, murdered his family. Now banished from death, Talion seeks his revenge. He has been given wraith-like powers to help him exact his revenge by the wraith of the Elvin Lord Celebrimbor.

There are a two types of missions the player can choose from in the main gameplay. The main missions relate to the main plot and pushes the story onward. Side missions allow the player to follow the iconic “Lord of the Rings” character, Gollum, to find artifacts about the past of Celebrimbor. Other side missions have Talion save human slaves taken by Uruk armies. Completing missions reward the player with experience points, power value, and in-game currency.

The main feature of the game is called the Nemesis system. The game tracks specific leading Uruk soldiers as part of Sauron’s army and, once dead, the army gets weaker. When one of these leaders is killed, it drops a rune which can be picked up to upgrade some buffs on Talion’s weapons. However, if the player is killed by a leader, it then becomes stronger and is raised in difficulty. Uruk are able to learn in this game and even seek revenge on Talion if they survive an encounter with him.

The combat in the game is done much like the systems in recent “Assassin Creed” and “Batman Arkham” games. There is a dodge mechanic that creates a signal above the character’s head when an enemy is about to attack. Though there is a bow used for range attacks, it is more likely that most players will use the melee system as it is simpler and normally always lands a hit. Later on in the game, when the difficulty gets higher, some of the mechanics used to warn of an attack will not be there and it will be up to the player to catch the attack before it is too late. This makes the game more challenging and a lot more fun.

Though many good things have been said about this game, there is still one issue this game fails at, and that is the main campaign. Even though the introduction is done quite well, the game’s story soon begins to drag and become boring until the end climax. Though there are a few main missions that give insight on some characters, they still don’t bring as much to story as the movies do.

“Middle- Earth: Shadow of Mordor” has been a big surprise to some, since past Tolkien book based games have either fallen flat or never even made it off the ground. It has a lot of good qualities and options that have made past games stand out from others. Some gamers have even called it one of the best games of 2014. With all of that said, this games gets a 4.6/5, if you are a fan of the Tolkien book based games, then you are definitely going to like this gem.

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