After having my Xbox One for just over a month, there has been one game that has taken over 70% of my time. After its release in early October, the Lord of the Rings based game has taken the next-gen world by storm, being a clear favourite and highly rated game faster than you can say “MAN SWINE!”
As with any single player game, the bulk of the entertainment factor is with the storyline and narrative. Shadow of Mordor, being a game based on a series of Tolkien books, has one of the best storylines I’ve played through in a very long time. You play the ranger captain, Talion, as he battles through the realm of Mordor to avenge the death of his family. The moment your throat is slit by the Black Hand of Sauron, you are cursed with the soul of an Elf who shares a burning hatred for Sauron, much like yourself. Through this, you are blessed with wraith abilities in combination with your Gondor ranger training to create the ultimate Orc slayer.
Shadow Of Mordor not only has an amazing story, the gameplay is just as captivating as well. For an open world RPG, it has certainly managed to differentiate itself from other games of this genre, creating a whole new gaming experience. Let’s start with controlling Talion. Although the combat may seem relatively basic, there is a lot to it, making use of several different button combinations and timings to discover all the ridiculously cool ways to kill an orc. Of course most of these have to be unlocked via levelling up Talion and gaining experience, otherwise it wouldn’t be an RPG now, would it? Through levelling up, you can gain great new combat finishers, new wraith skills and more ways to traverse either the barren waste of Mordor or the beautiful Sea of Nurnen faster. Along with the standard sword fighting, you are equipped with a wraith bow to use at your disposal and your son’s broken sword, which you fittingly use as a lethal dagger to stab those pesky Orcs in the back.
One of the main selling points of the game though is the use of the ‘Nemesis System’, which comes to play while you are trying to collapse the Orc hierarchy. Basically, in order to infiltrate the Orc armies and gain access to the warchiefs, you have to work your way up the ladder starting with the runts of the pack. The problem is, sometimes they’re not quite as dead as you would like and what looks like a surprisingly familiar Orc turns out to be the very same one that now has a lust for your head. Similarly, in the off chance an Orc does send you to the afterlife, when you encounter said Orc again you may find he will remember you and your weaknesses from underneath his brand new and upgraded armour and helmet from his promotion.
In conclusion, Shadow Of Mordor is easily going to be one of the greatest games for next generation consoles ever. Its new style of gameplay and stunning graphics combined with the familiar setting and storyline combine to create a completely original and fun game with an amazing replay value. In fact, the game is so good I know a friend who has bought it twice!