By Steven Cayer, Senior Columnist
Middle-Earth has always had a special place in my heart. From The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings, I’ve loved it all. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor gives us an entirely original story that takes place between the two.
In the game, you play as Tauriel, a ranger from Gondor tasked with guarding the Black Gate of Mordor. Sauron and his right-hand man, the Black Hand, decimate everybody. Tauriel is then revived by a wraith that is somehow connected to him, giving him new and exciting powers. He goes on a path of revenge, hunting down the Black Hand for killing him, his wife, and his son.
Along this path, he meets Gollum, who’s trying to find the ring that Bilbo took. He decides to help Tauriel figure out who this wraith is that saved him.
The gameplay is definitely the highlight of this title. It expertly combines the combat from the Batman games with the exploration and maneuverability from the Assassin’s Creed games. It also has an original gameplay mechanic called the never-ending Nemesis System. This is where you can interrogate random orcs to find an orc captain and learn what his strengths and weaknesses are, then go to the area and take him out. Whenever you die, the orc who killed you gets a promotion, if there’s an open space in the hierarchy.
The best part about this is how much personality there is in every orc. For example, if you track down an orc who killed you, he’ll say something like: “Hey, I thought I just killed you!” This system could easily be a game-changer.
If I had to say something bad about this game, it’s that there aren’t too many story missions. However, there are a wide variety of side quests that actually never get boring.
This game lived up to my high expectations. If you’re a fan of the world and lore of Middle-Earth, why not pick up the greatest Lord of the Rings game and mess with the orc hierarchy?