You might be a fan of the Lord of the Rings franchise; but if you’re not, then still go and get this game. It’s just that good, with a story line where you play a ranger of Mordor with a typical sad background of his family being murdered by Sauron’s minions and surviving the ordeal vows revenge on those who have done him wrong. Again; if you not a Lord of the Rings fan, you would still probably enjoy the game.

Shadow of Mordor is developed by Monolith Games; and this might be there most successful game to date; published by Warner Bros. The game takes place between the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. We wouldn’t  want to spoil any of the story of the game so let’s get to the details and the actual review.

Gameplay

The gameplay starts out as your normal action-packed open world hack and slash or stealth-driven video game. It would help a lot if you try to follow all the instructions and remember all the buttons when you start the game with the tutorial so that you would not be going back to try and remember the actions and attack buttons that you need for future enemies. For PC gamers, try to remember pressing the letter “E”; you would need it late in the game.

Your character will be equipped with a bow, a sword and a broken sword that would act as your dagger. Your bow might not be useful at the start but as you progress; you will be needing a lot of usage for it. Traversing the open world of mordor; you could go into different strategies. As we’ve said above, you can go out like an angry person by hacking and slashing everything you see; or go dark and be stealthy. Either way, you will be needing both strategies to be able to effectively complete the whole game.

You will also be encountering monsters, most of which you will be able to mount. But the lack of character customization (not with the character progression), it feels a lot like Assassin’s Creed where you only have to hone your skills and brain and strategy would mean much more than luck of getting epic items from loots. I would love if I could customize my Ranger with a few swords, daggers or bows or even a new cloak to wear; apart from that you will surely be hooked on the story and the appearance of Gollum early in the game gives you that connection with the movie series you love so much.

The world of Mordor is rich and heavily populated of the same looking slaves roaming and working for Uruks and Orcs, but the beauty stems from the Uruks. Playing the game for almost 24 hours; the Uruks or the Orcs does not have the same face, color, weapon or armor. There would always one Uruk that you would remember; and they would always have different strengths and weaknesses. Another great element of  the game is the slaying your enemies; the normal fighting might be repetitive but a ranger can only learn so much from sword fight trainings, the execution styles on the other hand; are at an abundant supply. Check out the screenshots below to understand what I am saying.

Graphics

The graphics was intense as well, the action and the cut scenes were not at par with any Blizzard games but it was conversational and keeps you wanting to continue the story quests. Details were laid out like it was supposed to be, though there could’ve been improvement with the main characters facial emotions; Uruks and Orcs were graphically great as they only have one emotion which is being angry. The environment was very engaging; although not realistic and not as beautiful crafted like Skyrim; it is quite at par with what Far Cry 3 has to offer. Combat graphics is as good as it gets; comparable to Assassin’s Creed, the combat graphics are gory yet tasteful, black blood oozes out from Uruks/Orcs for every stab, beheading, executions and arrows pierced on their bulky body.

Questing

The story questing is very straight forward. You would be encountering a lot of world of Mordor just by doing the main quests. Not much to dwell on this since it is mostly about revenge and finding out the real back story to the game.

Combat, Intel and Interogation, Captain and Warchief System

The combat mechanics/system is probably our favourite element of this game. First, you wouldn’t find it repetitive as executions and strategies to kill off enemies are different from one another. You might be using stealth to kill off some, you might be using cool executions to kill off most, or you may find that using arrows are most effective for others. You might also be using your good ol’ button mashing to ward off a huge crowd or maybe kiting to/from enemies might be the best option; what ever it might be, you’ll really find yourself dying on some part of the game if you are not careful.

Starting the game, your enemies (Captains and Warchiefs) are not yet known. Picking up a lone Uruk might grant you knowledge on where they reside and how to kill them. As much as possible go check out enemies and notes that have a green icon above them; it might be your way of picking off captains and warchiefs one by one.

The Captain and Warchief System will keep you playing this game after all the main quests are done. It just keeps on coming; just remember to take one captain at a time until you have grinded enough for upgrades and runes to help you out with stronger captains and warchiefs. We got hooked to this system that we totally forgot the whole main point of the game; revenge.

Upgrades and Rune System

Since you don’t get any new weapons from looting; the game does give you the power to upgrade your ranger’s physicall skill. Our personal favorite is having 2 executions with a string of combo; aside from that you could also upgrade your wraith abilities from stunning opponents to scaring the hell out of other Uruks in an area. But you ain’t no wraith right? Well just to ward off confusion you are basically a schizophreniac ranger with an elf being the other personality; we can’t have spoilers so that’s where we end that note. That aside, the upgrade system is all around useful that gives you the ability to progress and kill as many enemies you have. For those who will be playing the game; we suggest to get the ranger skills tree done as soon as possible; specifically improving your health count as much as possible.

Going forward with the Rune System, this is another element to  add to your arsenal. Killing off captains gives you runes which are add-ons to any of your 3 weapons. Epic runes are hard to find but apart from interrogating Uruks with an intel icon, you could also give out death threats to gain more chances of acquiring epic runes. Epic runes streches out from giving you a full health from certain attacks and kills, to giving you extra arrows after successful executions.

 

Pros

Combat system, similar to Batman Arkham series.

Character progression on skills

Story background

Gollum’s appearance

Captain and Warchief system

Cons

Minimal customization

High minimum requirements

System Requirements

Minimum Requirements

CPU: Intel Core i5-750 or AMD Phenom II X4 965
CPU Speed: Info
RAM: 3 GB
OS: Windows 7 (64-bit only)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD 5850
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 25 GB

Recommended Requirements

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-8350
CPU Speed: Info
RAM: 8 GB
OS: Windows 7 (64-bit only)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7950
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 40 GB

Conclusion

If someone asks you where are you headed tonight. Tell them you are headed to Mordor! This game is just that awesome; although short, you could play it over and over again with he captain and warchief system. On the said system, you’ll meet a lot of new Uruks and Orcs. Surprises might also come as one area might have one or more captains lurking so get ready for war. It’s high in adrenaline pumping action; and dying maybe a frustrating factor at the start. Unfortunately, because of the high system requirements; the game may not be for everyone.

Shadow of Mordor is available on PC, PS4 and XBox One and retails for 1239.95Php on Steam.

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