Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
By Mr. J(Todd Puhl)
Follow on twitter: @Dear_ole_UncleJ
Want a game to justify wiping out a civilization of Uruk and feeling accomplished with yourself for doing it? Guess what. We have the game for you.
If you are looking for a game to follow in either the LOTR original or the Hobbit series, you are looking for the wrong game. As this game does have tie in’s to both franchises, playing alongside Aragorn, Legolas or even Gimli is not an option. This story takes place between Hobbit and Fellowship. You are Talion, a ranger captain, is part of a Gondor garrison stationed at the Black Gate. The garrison is attacked by Sauron's Uruk forces led by the Black Hand captains. Talion, his wife, and his son are captured and ritually sacrificed by the Black Hand in an attempt to summon the wraith of the Elf Lord Celebrimbor. However, Celebrimbor (who suffers from amnesia due to his status as a wraith) instead ends up merging with Talion, saving him from death. The two of them set out to uncover Celebrimbor's identity as well as to avenge the death of Talion's family.
There is a lot to take in from this game in regards to lore and character backstory. Along the way you get to meet some new characters you meet along the way and run into an old fan favorite, Gollum. As the story progresses, you learn that Celebrimbor was the ring maker of all the rings. The majority of the storyline of Celebrimbor was recollection of his failed attempted to destroy Sauron and his the sacrifice his family made because of it. There is additional storylines that complete a few other familiar tie in’s but I was very satisfied on how the story played out and rather much enjoyed the ending.
4 / 5 Rings to Rule them All
I will say that this was the first PS4 game I rented twice so that I could complete it. That is a huge feat as every game I have rented for the PS4 either I completed very quickly or it was so bad I could not stomach it anymore. The game follows the standard hack/slash mechanic we have scene over the years but added a twist. Intense finishers, brutalizing your opponents and now branding them to do your dirty work for you. Also, with an intense stealth kill system, you honestly could not get bored from the combat. I found the gameplay so fluent during combat, I found myself just murdering hundreds of Uruk rather continuing the storyline. That was not a complaint in any form. The game also takes all the positive combat concepts from games such as Assassins Creed and Batman Arkham series that makes this an extremely enjoyable experience.
The game also had an interesting Uruk leveling system. If you fall in combat to a Uruk, that specific Uruk that finished you off will be promoted. At first, it was annoying as I kept wiping from taking on mass mobs, but eventually I used the system against them and simply hunted the Uruk captains. No matter how many Uruk you wipe out, there is always another to take its place. Which leads to the next positive.
The leveling system. There is multiple ways to level your character, ability points, experience points, and weapon ability points. A lot of things to level, but lots of places for you to do it. Your greatest asset is murdering every grunt/captain/warchief you can find. This levels all 3 options very quickly, efficiently and makes you a murdering machine. You have the ability to mix/match 5 additional abilities that easy of your weapons provides you. Further you go into this game, the more critical slotting the correct things become.
I honestly can not find any negative to the gameplay and this was the first game I honestly did not experience a glitch with. I am truly shocked.
5 / 5 Rings to Rule them All
I am always critical when it comes down to open world concept games. It is either too little or too vast. This game gives you 2 map that are fairly large with a lot of side quests to keep you busy. The music soundtrack was perfect and stayed true to the LOTR sound. The voice acting of course stole the show for me as usual. My favorite voice actor Troy Baker(Joel from Last of Us, Joker from Batman: Arkham Origins, Booker Dewitt from Bioshock: Infinite) teams up with John Dimaggio(Bender from Futurama), Nolan North (Drake from Uncharted, Deadpool) and J.B Blanca (Bane From Batman:Arkham Origins, Diablo 3). So much win!
The graphic presentation was very well done as well. The character models were detailed down to sweat and scratches of battle worn Uruk. The background was detailed, vibrant and just astonishing to look at. The Black Hand stood out. They looked inspired by Clive Barker movies such as Hellraiser and were absolutely terrifying to look at.
5 / 5 Rings to Rule them All
As I stated at the beginning of this review, I have never rented the same game twice to complete it. I will admit, it speaks volume of how picky I can be at times. But this game was completely worth it. Now, is this game worth full price? No, sadly. As much as I praise this game, it is not worth 69.99. I'll pick it up for 35 dollars at Gamestop or maybe even rent again when I need to get out some aggression. But that would be the best case scenario.
4 / 5 Rings to Rule them All
This game have been praised by multiple critic’s as one of the best LOTR games to date and I will agree. I played almost all of the LOTR games and this is the only one to keep my attention. One critic stated that the storyline was “typical.” I would need to debate that as it was fresh and it was its own chapter of the franchise which fit without calling in main characters to help with the explanation. This game gets the Droids Seal of approval!
4.5 / 5 Rings to Rule them All