Shadow of Mordor is the Lord of the Rings game I wanted a decade ago, problem is it’s a decade late and it shows.
The storyline is highly disappointing given the story Peter Jackson gave us in the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit films. You play as Talion a Ranger Captain who serves within a Gondorian garrison stationed at the Black Gate of Mordor. His wife and son are murdered by the Black Hand of Sauron’s army with him being left for dead. A mysterious (at the time) ghost like character called a Wraith saves you. So you (with the wraith powers bestowed upon him) embark on a revenge mission against them. Nothing to write home about that’s for sure.
Remember this is the PS3 review. I have no idea how it is on one of the next-gen systems. Let’s start with the pros. The characters all have unique properties that make them distinctive, but that’s it. Graphically this game looks like a late PS2 to early PS3 game, and it has a lot of glitches, frame rate issues and loading screens.
There wasn’t much music to speak of either. I guess that’s to be expected seeing how you’re in the middle of nowhere. I mean where is the regular towns you see in the Hobbit? Where is the civilization? Other than a few slaves here and there and couple of side characters that really add no value to the game you only see enemies. Also I can’t count the number of times I heard “this game sounds gross” from my family and I’d have to agree. The orcs sounds like a sick person sucking up his/her snot, and it’s just unappealing. Man that was annoying.
We all know in any video game all problems could be overlooked by having a great time. Well this game gives you a relatively good time. It has a combat system that is very addictive. You can kill Saburo’s army by stealth or a frontal attack. It’s best to plan your attack before hand no matter what it is or risk instant death (especially if you’re going in a stronghold). There is plenty to do whether its run around or run into side missions ranging from power struggles from two Orc captains, interrupting an Orc feast, or a Beast hunt. These side missions add a little more fun to an otherwise boring game.
Enemies had no chance against me as I used the upgrade of controlling orcs and orc captains to my advantage.
The main selling point of this game was its Nemesis System. Everytime something significant thing happens the orcs remember it and are either scared of you for it or want to challenge you on it. For me it was a big factor and pretty cool to see in the beginning of the game as I died a lot, but once I got the hang of it and planned my moves it became irrelevant. Enemies had no chance against me as I used the upgrade of controlling orcs and orc captains to my advantage. They fought by my side, created power struggles, and won duels on my behalf to get power and rank increases.
There are a lot of options to killing all creatures on this game. You can sneak up and perform a stealth kill, kill them by bow and arrow, or even use your wraith powers to do a quick strike. All of this may sound very exciting and fun but after doing the same moves and using the same strategy I found myself yawning a lot, and you shouldn’t yawn while playing a game unless you’re on the verge of an all nighter. The frame rate, glitches, and loading screens I mentioned before add to this damper experience making it an all out bed wetter. Every time I got pulled in I got spat right out because a bad guy or something glitched under the floor. The words I found myself yelling a lot “Oh My God NOT AGAIN!!!!!”
Overall this game served as a game to pass the time. I can’t really recommend buying the PS3 version at full price. It gave me a great feeling of what I’d do if I was in Lord of the Rings, but I just don’t care anymore. I wish this game came out when I actually cared about Mordor but unfortunately I don’t. it had very boring and repetitive gameplay and in the 21st century I’m looking for more variety in not only characters but also gameplay.I also wish there was a deeper story I mean c’mon man it’s Lord of the Rings. I had high hopes for this game and the only aspect I wanna see come directly from this game is the Nemesis System. Upgrades add a little replay value but not enough, and the bugs were far to frequent. It is definitely is one of Ubisoft’s worst titles of recent.