Game Review - Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor on Xbox One

Written by BroRocker on May 27, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

For my first review I'll go over the game I most recently completed, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THE GAME:

1) COMBAT - The combat in Shadow of Mordor is some of the smoothest and most refined I've ever experienced in a game. Monolith has taken elements from the Arkham series and blended them with some things from Assassin's Creed and Dynasty Warriors to make some epic and seamless brawls with hordes of Orcs (say that 3 times fast). It doesn't take long to get the hang of the combat system in the game and once you do you'll realize how easy and dynamic it is. That being said, the game also does an excellent job of being casual and challenging. Certain missions require you to use more stealth and strategic planning before going in. Also, no matter how strong your character gets, you still have a limit to how many Orcs you can take on it once as getting yourself surround almost always puts you in jeopardy of dying.

2) THE NEMESIS SYSTEM - This is possibly the most unique and best part of the entire game. One of the main components of the game is disrupting and manipulating the Orc hierarchy. Doing this requires you to kill various levels of the Orcs command. Each Orc you encounter has a different personality, different strengths and weaknesses, and different forms of combat. If you run away from a battle or an Orc kills you, that same Orc will bring it up next time you encounter them. There are also times when you think you have killed a captain only for them to come back and fight you a second time. In this case, they'll be scarred and will mention your previous encounter. This makes every battle, death, mission seem important and makes the story more fluid and changeable based off how each of your battles go down. Even dying has an element of fun, as each death gets an Orc promoted and can change or disrupt the Orcs chain of command.

SOME OTHER HIGHLIGHTS THAT DON'T NEED A LOT OF DEATIL:

1) Riding a graug (giant troll thing) and commanding it to stomp and eat Orcs.

2) Shooting barrels and watching them explode, lighting every Orc around on fire.

3) Killing lots and lots and lots of Orcs.

4) Gollum being in the game.

5) The dialogue between the Orcs is sometimes hilarious.

SOME THINGS THAT WEREN'T AS AWESOME:

1) This a Lord of the Rings game, but I'm not 100% sure it felt like a Lord of the Rings game. Also, if you're a stickler for things detracting from the source material, you might want to skip this one. I don't personally mind it but I know a lot of people that would.

2) This game really has one purpose and function, and that's killing Orcs. The missions don't have a lot of variety, and the world map is not really that big. I wouldn't say there's a ton of content in the game, but if you're like me, constantly hunting down captains and challenging yourself by taking on large numbers of Orcs at once can provide you with a lot of hours of entertainment.

3) This somewhat goes along with the last point, but the plot of this game isn't that deep, either. At times, the plot also seems confusing, and honestly I felt like there were more questions at the end of the game than answers. That being said, it's really all about killing those Orcs.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I put nearly 40 hours in Shadow of Mordor and enjoyed every minute of it. I was aiming for 100% completion but had reached a point where the remaining side missions didn't interest me enough to do it. I think if you are someone who enjoyed games like Dynasty Warriors, Assassin's Creed, or the Arkham series you will enjoy this game and I would recommend giving it a try. While I may have put nearly 40 hours in, this game can easily be beaten in the 10-15 hour range while still enjoying some side missions and exploration. Overall, I would say this game exceeded my expectations going in.

Gameplay Rating: 9
Story Rating: 6
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 7
Sound Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 8

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Game Information

Platform
Xbox One
Developer(s)
Monolith Productions
Publisher(s)
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre(s)
Action, RPG
NA Release Date
September 30, 2014
JP Release Date
December 25, 2014
EUR Release Date
October 3, 2014
AUS Release Date
October 8, 2014
ESRB Rating
M
PEGI Rating
18+
CERO Rating
Z
ACB Rating
MA
MVGL User Score
7.7
Composer
Garry Schyman
Official Website
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