Shadow of Mordor: October 7th 2014

Holly & Hayden here in our very first joint post – ooooh – seeing as we’re both looking forward to getting our grubby mitts on Shadow of Mordor we thought it made sense to write this together.

October 7th 2014: We have a release date and it’s this year! It’s always nice to see our “To Play” list for the year grow.

Assassin’s Creed but in Middle Earth

Some people describe the game like this with a grin, others with a grimace. In theory, we think this sounds awesome but in practice it could be horrific – the trick will be not to make us feel like this is an AC game with a new skin. The game play has people talking, making comparisons to both Assassins Creed and the Batman Arkham series – and I mean seriously… every single comment is saying this is an AC rip off. Personally I don’t have a problem with this, although I certainly didn’t like the Arkham combat where a lot of people did and I definitely liked the AC combat.

SoM’s similarity to the Assassin’s Creed could be the making or the breaking of this game.

We’re fans of sneak and stealth – the AC series has been an absolute favourites for sneak kills and Assassin’s Creed IV has seen a huge surge in appreciation for the franchise. It’s established itself as a quality game series that makes a historic setting vibrant and fun.

It suffers from repetition though and too often diverts from stealth to public sword fights. Not to mention the fact that the lead character’s outfits are some of the most conspicuous clothes we’ve ever seen. There’s plenty of room for improvement but Ubisoft have done a stellar job with AC:IV and I really hope Shadow of Mordor takes some tips from their success.

If we get a carbon copy, we won’t be impressed.

Nemesis system

The Nemesis system is a mechanic which allows randomly generated enemies to retain their own personalities, experience and memories of encounters with you. The developers claim that this will create a unique world for every player, with all actions having a direct effect on orc society in Mordor. I can’t really believe that the outcomes of your encounters with enemies can be particularly varied… you’ll either kill them, possess them or they will escape but provided that I’m not going to be made to repeat the same missions over and over again for certain decisions I can see myself really enjoying this. The idea of being able to make it personal with pretty much every orc commander you encounter has got me excited, I think it’ll help make me feel all the more badass and legendary in the world.

Recognition for your actions is one of the most satisfying interactions in a game and if they pull this off it’s going to be wicked. Variation and rarity will be key here – do we really want to end up with 50 nemesis’? Intense, tailored interactions will pack far more punch that formulaic “Oh so we meet again” scenes.

Is Shadow of Mordor the Lord of the Rings game we’ve been waiting for?

LOTR ranks as one of the most popular works of fiction of the twentieth century, judged by both sales and reader surveys success and the movie trilogy is one of the most successful film franchises of all time. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill with a fan base who crave to explore the world they fell in love with via Tolkien or Jackson’s adaptations.

LOTR games to date have been very hit and miss – average combat and stories set in Middle Earth to tempt hungry fans.

Mostly, you play as a pretty squeaky clean hero against the forces of darkness. Being able to fight Sauron’s hordes on their own turf using methods that are pretty evil is unique for LOTR and certainly brings a fresh flavour to it all, especially with the motive being revenge rather than anything noble.

It’s encouraging to know that  Christian Cantamessa, a lead-writer and lead-designer on Red Dead Redemption is heading up the story telling. RDR made a real departure from Rockstar’s usual plot lines from GTA and remains a great example of the action-adventure genre. I think we can expect an interesting story and nice plot twists that stay true to the genre and the original source material.


Are you looking forward to Shadow of Mordor? Would you recommend any other LOTR games? 

 

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