Hello and welcome back to Playstation Base! Hope you are all feeling fine!
So, I’ve been playing Monolith Productions latest and greatest ‘Shadow of Mordor’. Lord of the Rings titles for me are always great games! I love the fantasy setting and the world in which the story is set brings a range of possibilities for how the game can evolve. Last year, I played War in the North which was free on Playstation Plus and I enjoyed it so much I played it twice and since Shadow of Mordor was announced, was really excited to see what the next chapter for Middle Earth would hold.
Shadow of Mordor is set between The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings trilogy, right after the Rings Of Power were created leading to the destruction of Middle Earth. You play as Talion, a ranger responsible for guarding The Black Gate of Mordor. The opening cut-scene shows he and his family be killed by Saurons army only to be revived when his soul is forged with that of an ancient legendary character of the LOTR universe. Upon revival, Talion finds himself equipped with new abilities, granted by the Wraith that he is forged to and begins his quests to avenge the death of he and his family.
Shadow of Mordor is a brilliant Hack n Slash game. The fluidity of the battle system is equal to that of games like Batman, each movement smooth and responsive making it that much more fun to play. There is a variety of skills to unlock through the skill tree, allowing you to do various things such as take control of enemy Uruks, fire arrows in slow motion and commit blood spilling executions allowing you to cut down Uruks one by one.
Graphically, the game is impressive too. The constant grey cloud over Mordor sets the precedent for the game being dark and gloomy, the landscape is rocky and equally grey with Orc driven slaves dotted around performing various tasks for their masters. The Uruks all have different faces, looks, shapes and sizes and they all look impressively detailed from head to toe. Being in the midst of battle looks and sounds amazing as you hack, cut, stab and chop your way through the Uruk army, specifically the executions, perfectly animated in slow motion.
The army of Uruk that you are poised to battle are dynamic. Enemies that survive your onslaught will remember you and act accordingly. If you die at the hands of an Uruk, they will be promoted into the higher ranks of the army and will in turn become stronger and posess more abilities. Similarly, if you kill a captain or he flees, he may come back with the scars to prove it and will remember how you managed to defeat him, whether that be with fire or sword. This is something I have never seen before in a game. It’s unique premise brings a completely new way to play to the table, you may look to kill off the hardest captain first in order to weaken the men around you and should you do so, may cause some of the grunts to flee. You may even wish to use a captains weakness to your advantage, or even flee yourself should the going get too tough for you.
There is lots to do during your stay at Mordor. Despite there only being 20 Story Quests, there is an abundance of side missions to slice your way through and an unlimited amount of ‘Events’. Side quests can vary from releasing slaves from their captors to doing weapon quests which gradually restore the legend of the weapons you have in your arsenal. Events are randomly generated depending on the circumstances currently occuring. Among many others, these can vary between power struggles within the Orc camp and Vengeance quests to avenge the deaths of real players within your friends list.
The levelling up system for me was a little disappointing, it doesn’t take long at all to get to the level cap of 30, therefore it doesn’t take long to gain all of the abilities available either and what started off as quite a difficult game, becomes very easy, very quickly. There are a number of abilities to choose from as previously stated and there are 6 other statistics to upgrade; health, focus, Elf-shot and you can upgrade the number of Runes you can attach to each of the 3 weapons.
Runes are the main way to upgrade and customise your weapons. For every captain or above Uruk that you kill, you will have the chance to gain a Rune to equip to your weapon that can grant various buffs to them such as Health Regeneration, Poison Immunity and Damage Upgrades. You can also use these to work a strategy on how to kill a Warchief, rearranging them to counter their strengths.
If you have read my reviews before, you should know that I start with the good points and finish with the bad, so here goes.
I’ve already mentioned the low level cap and how that affects the difficulty of the game so we wont get into that again. The sidequests however can become a little monotonous and unvaried within each quest-type. As I am at the end of the game now, it’s just a case for me of ticking off the rest of the bits and pieces that need finishing and I must admit, I’m getting a little bored. I’m at the point of being overpowered which therefore makes everything really easy, there is even a discussion online about which abilities you should ‘ban’ yourself from using to increase difficulty, which says it all.
Another thing that disappointed me is the lack of variety with enemies, 90% of the things to kill are Uruks whereas I was hoping for a few Wraiths or monster bosses, but this doesn’t happen. As good as the Uruks are, the intelligence, dynamicity and sheer number, isn’t always as appealing as variety.
Maybe it is hard to take the good things from a game when the bad points are listed last, but make no mistake, Shadow Of Mordor is a great game. Battle scenes look amazing, especially when reinforcements are called in and you find yourself in the middle of 20 Uruk, hacking, slashing and executing your way through. The graphics are great and really set the scene. Play it for yourself and you will see!
Check back soon for a list of games that I cannot wait for and the reasons why!
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