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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor brings fun and life to the Tolkien universe

The game starts with you as Talion, a ranger of Gondor responsible for guarding the Black Gate of Mordor. In an assault by Sauron’s army you and your family are killed, but you find yourself returned to life and connected with a mysterious wraith who gives you magical powers.

Mechanically, Mordor is not an original game. The exploration, climbing and stealth all feel like an Assassin’s Creed title, while the combat is lifted straight out of the Batman Arkham series. Even so, the game throws enough diverse tasks at the player to keep things feeling fresh and interesting.

To me, that’s great because I enjoyed both. I loved the stealth and parkour of AC and the combat of Batman. Put that in the LoTR universe and you have a great recipe for a game. Shadow of Mordor is a LOT of fun to play. The nemisis system is very satisfying as well even though it doesn’t fully open up to where you can actively control it (aside from just killing the orcs and watching someone take their place) until the second act. Facing an orc that once killed you really ties to the whole revenge premises of the main story.

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Yes there is Golum too 🙂


As Talion, pursue common enemies as they seek to save Mordor and lift Talion’s curse. To do this, Talion and Celebrimbor must conquer the forces in two key areas, the dark and terrifying Udûn and the lush and fertile Núrn. You can fast travel between the two main areas, or within them, via Forge Towers once you have revealed them. Each major area also has its own set of “Sauron’s Army” – a collection of Captains and Warchiefs that make use of the Nemesis System.

In Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth, there is a big narrative gap is the period between the end of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Lord of the Rings. In the earlier book, the major villain Sauron is not named, but only referred to obliquely as an uncertain threat. By the beginning of the second, he has returned to full force in the land of Mordor. What is rarely mentioned is that the volcanic wasteland seen in the films was not how Mordor always was. People lived there once, and this is where we get the narrative of the new game Shadow of Mordor.


For a game that takes most of its cues from other titles, it’s surprising that Shadow of Mordor feels as fresh as it does. Players take control of Talion, a Ranger who finds himself bound to an Elven Wraith in Mordor, the desolate land under the dominion of the Dark Lord Sauron. Talion spends the bulk of the game climbing tall structures and pursuing collectibles across an open map, like in Assassin’s Creed, or engaging in fast-and-furious, counterattack-based combat with faceless foes, like the Batman: Arkham games.

Although stealth and exploration are important parts of the game, combat is where Shadow of Mordor distinguishes itself. You’ll fight orcs with single swords, twin swords, bows and shields, and each one requires different tactics to beat. Furthermore, you’ll take them on not in small groups, but often up to 30 or more at a time.

Although Talion starts out relatively weak, the game gives you every opportunity to make him into a warrior that slays entire battalions of orcs in the most brutal ways possible, and leaves survivors fearful of his coming retribution. If this sounds contrary to the lessons of The Lord of the Rings, that’s because it is. The game is keenly aware of that, and constantly juxtaposes how exuberant it feels to behead an orcish warchief, leaving his followers fleeing in terror, against Talion’s own fading humanity.

Nemesis system

Speaking of combat, Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system is easily the most inventive aspect of the game, and although it’s not quite as pioneering as developer Monolith hyped up, it’s still a remarkable system that has a significant impact on the gameplay

The orcs under Sauron’s command organize themselves into a hierarchy of warchiefs and captains. Each one has a unique name, title, personality, voice and set of skills. One captain may be almost impossible to defeat in open combat, but is vulnerable to stealth kills. While Another will flee at the first sign of a beast.

You can rough up lesser orcs to learn the identities and characteristics of each captain, and as you kill them (or fail to) the hierarchy will change. Killing a captain means that another might rise up to take his place; getting slain by him means that he may advance in the ranks, and he’ll remember your name — and your embarrassing defeat — the next time you meet.

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The Nemesis system is a nice addition 🙂

Even though every Shadow of Mordor player will encounter the same plot missions, the missions to take down orcish captains and warchiefs are unique, and make you feel as though your victories and defeats have a tangible impact on Middle-earth.

As Mordor is a land of darkness, the gameplay isn’t all sunshine. Sometimes, orc captains will appear right on top of one another and make a balanced encounter into an impossible one like we showcase in our impressions video above.


While not perfect, Shadow of Mordor surpasses expectations – it’s fun, engaging and truly impressive. The Nemesis System is a stroke of genius and sets this game apart from its competitors. A serious contender for Game of the Year.

The game was reviewed on a PS4 and is available at all major e-tailers as well as shops.


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Geek....Gamer....Curious :) Started his affair with gaming with Super Mario on an 8 Bit console and has been hooked on to gaming ever since. With a commitment to promote gaming as a positive sport and lifestyle in India he started of Gaming Central in 2013 which has since grown as India's most popular social gaming community. Shrey is also a digital marketeer and runs his own agency GC Interactive based in New Delhi which helps brands from strategy to execution, fueling the growth of some of the hottest consumer brands on digital.

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