Shadow Of Mordor review round-up

6 min read
101

Mordor (1)

I’m still in awe at how much of a massive surprise Shadow Of Mordor was to me when I finally went hands-on with it earlier this year. The game was competent in the sandbox area, but the Nemesis System that was the main hook helped provide a level of strategy that I hadn’t felt since playing the original Crackdown. In other words, it was good. Damn good. And I’m not the only person who knows what they’re Tolkien about.

Joystiq: 5/5

Mordor (10)

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a well-paced sandbox game with a revolutionary new game mechanic in the Nemesis System, which I imagine we’ll see iterated on in the years to come. The Nemesis System creates the opportunity for two players to have wildly different experiences fighting the Uruk-hai, while Talion collects trinkets and upgrades. Your nemesis (an Uruk who will find a way to kill you time and time again) will be completely different from your friend’s, and you’ll have plenty of unique experiences to share about different tactics you used to take out a certain warchief. Or, how you were chasing a captain who retreated in battle and ran right into the jaws of a wild caragor, robbing you of sweet victory.
What would have otherwise been a competent sandbox game with solid combat mechanics and an interesting twist on a known fantasy world is elevated by the Nemesis System. Shadow of Mordor is the strategic person’s action game.

Polygon: 9.5

Mordor (9)

The gameplay foundation of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is very strong, which makes it all the more incredible that it’s also the least exciting thing about the game. Most video games choose to either tell you a story or give you a world in which you can create your own stories; very rarely are these two paths mixed, and even more rarely with any success.
Shadow of Mordor is that ultimate rarity. It tells a fun little story that would be enough to hold up most games on their own. But it also provides all of the tools to ensure that the most interesting tales to come out of the game will be the ones that were not scripted.

IGN: 9.3

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Mordor (7)

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor stands out from other open-world action games by putting a great new layer on top of the trail that Batman blazed. I was surprised at how well it integrates its excellent combat with rewarding feedback and progression not just for me, but also for my enemies. I’ve had many more memorable and unpredictable battles with its randomized Warchiefs and captains than I did in the scripted campaign missions, and I expect those to keep on coming.

Gamefront: 9

Mordor (8)

Shadow of Mordor may not hew exactly to Tolkien’s lore, but it’s certainly close enough for the vast majority of folks. More importantly, it’s a fun game that lets you experience The Lord of the Rings regardless of how much knowledge you have of the world coming in. Great combat and an amazing setting round out one of the best Lord of the Rings titles in years.

EGM: 8.5

Mordor (5)

In a sense, then, Shadow of Mordor comes at a crucial time for Middle-earth in the public consciousness, and it looks primed to carry the torch of Tolkien for the foreseeable future. Monolith seems more than capable of doing for Sauron and company what Rocksteady did for the Dark Knight: finally delivering a gaming franchise worthy of the iconic fiction. We’ve seen competent games based on Tolkien’s works here and there, but this may well become the first series that has the chance to finally live up to the source material. Considering the important place Tolkien holds in fantasy and storytelling, that’s a welcome sight for games—and one long overdue.

Eurogamer: 8

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Mordor (4)

One of the most enduring themes of Tolkien’s universe has been the corrupting influence of power, but this has almost always been explored through the eyes of individuals that refuse to abuse that power. In death, Talion is free to do what those characters were never able to, and you experience first-hand what an intoxicating high that can be. At the start of the game you’re not much more than a lowly Ranger, sneaking through camps and silently slitting Orcish throats in the night. By the end of the game you’re boldly strolling through those same camps, as terrified uruks whisper tales of the Ranger-turned-Gravewalker over fortifying gulps of grog. There’s plenty to see and do in Mordor when you’re dead; all that’s left, in the words of a wise old wandering wizard, is to decide what to do with the time that is given to you.

Destructoid: 6

Mordor (3)

Ultimately, like many ambitious projects, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor doesn’t deliver on everything it sets out to do. Although Monolith’s heart is in the right place and the studio honors the lore, it doesn’t really add anything that’s worth seeing outside of some solid open world gameplay. It isn’t a bad game, it just feels far too repetitive for its own good.

Impressive. The game is out locally on October 3 on a whole bunch of systems, that will in the darkness bind your hands to your controller and rule your thumbs. Probably. My Middle-Earth knowledge is a tad rusty.

Last Updated: September 26, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Admiral Chief 0

    Impressive. I might actually get this sooner rather than later on special

    • JJ the Reus

      Same here

      • Hammersteyn

        LOL you guys are funny 😛

        • JJ the Reus

          R500+ for a pc game is quite something for us. Needs to be taken seriously 😉

          • Mossel
          • JJ the Reus

            Haha.
            But does it activate on Steam?

          • Mossel

            mmm good question… I hope it does. I actually really want to buy a physical copy of Witcher 3, but after hearing that it wont activate on steam, being DRM free and all, I was actually put off. I sure like those steam achievements. xD

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Add non-Steam game to library?

          • JJ the Reus

            Don’t be silly. That’s like putting an AMG badge on your Smart Car.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            It makes the Smart Car better? :/

          • JJ the Reus

            Me too. I get all warm and fuzzy when I’m playing something and an achievement notification pops up.

          • Mossel

            It is pretty awesome! Especially right after some big boss fight and the world is raining with loot from it’s corpse!

          • JJ the Reus

            Torchlight II right there

          • @JJ the Reus Spoke with WB support a few days ago and they confirmed to me that it uses steam , just pre ordered from Kalahari.

          • JJ the Reus

            Woohoo. Thanks man.

          • Mossel

            Great stuff! Looks like I will be pre ordering as well.

          • Viking Of Science

            Considering it’s published by Warner Brothers, I’d say it’s a rather safe bet.

          • Matthew Holliday

            there are a few ways.
            Ghosts automatically installs through steam, left4dead2 was activated on steam after installation or you could just redeem the CD key.

          • Boontjie

            Yes Yes it does it build on steam works

          • JJ the Reus

            See, now this is why we should moan about digital pricing. We can have a game in hard copy delivered to our door for less than simply downloading it. Madness.

          • Theres a R100 off voucher right now , like a idiot I used a R75 off right now!!!! 1 minute later something said go look and see it ,I could’ve had R25

          • Mossel

            This R100 off voucher…WHERE IS IT?!

          • In the deep lands of mordor shall you find the epic voucher of vouching……… or just visit here your choice:

            http://www.thedealbreaker.co.za/2014/09/26/another-r100-kalahari-voucher-code-for-the-first-1000-customers-expires-on-26-september-2014/

            If that doesn’t work 2nd best is( the one I used before I realized):

            http://www.thedealbreaker.co.za/2014/09/06/kalahari-voucher-code-r75-off-expires-on-30-september-2014/

          • Mossel

            It is bloody madness! Don’t understand it. I’m so bummed now, I looked at my budget and it seems SoM is a no-go for me.

          • JJ the Reus

            I got a bonus last week, so I get to buy a new game AND food this week, which is nice.

          • Espee Funsail

            Hierdie game lyk mal bra! Dink ek sal maar Daisies ‘n skip moet gee…

          • Mossel

            Haha kom ons raak net gou rustig! Dink hieroor. Ek sal maar wag vir n Steam special, tye is rof!

          • GalacticLordCaptainAwesomeness

            $37,50 on Greenmangaming….

          • Mossel

            it says $49.99 when I go there…do they have one of those vouchers again?

          • GalacticLordCaptainAwesomeness

            use “SEPTEM-BEROFF-ER25XX” as the Voucher, valid till 5Pm

          • GalacticLordCaptainAwesomeness

            ..

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I’m glad it’s looking good. The “it’s assassins creed!” comments were getting a tad irritating.

    • Admiral Chief 0

      I just hope the controls are better than AC (for PC)

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I haven’t had a problem with controls on PC. I mean I get the times where he insists on jumping along fences or something instead of just dropping to the ground like I’d prefer, but that’s the game not the controller – in my case, mouse & kb.

      • JJ the Reus

        Agreed. AC controls are one of the things that made that game a hassle to play.

      • Hammersteyn

        Buy a controller?

        • Admiral Chief 0

          If I want to handicap myself I’d go play dodge-car on the N1

          • Hammersteyn

            Or dodge a fighter jet?

          • FoxOneZA

            It’s only a fighter jet if it has an engine?

          • Hammersteyn

            They towed a jet on the N1 yesterday but Admiral supplied me with the link.

          • FoxOneZA

            LOL! I checked it on Twitter.

          • Spaffy

            Do show and tell

          • Hammersteyn
          • Brady miaau

            Enjoy your One, then?

          • Admiral Chief 0

            I am, very much, I give it the eyeball and scoff at it

          • FoxOneZA

            Unfortunately the game was designed with controller in mind. Combat games are just silly on mouse and keyboard.

  • Rock789

    Very nice… Seems it truly is as good as it looked. I can’t wait to play it. Either that or everyone was paid off and Destructoid is the only one telling the truth… But I doubt that… 😉 🙂

    • JJ the Reus

      I’ll wait until October 5 to check the user reviews on Steam, then make my final decision about this one.

      • Rock789

        You trust Steam user reviews? But aren’t those guys **whispers** full of themselves…? 😉 🙂

        • Brady miaau

          I do. Should I not?

        • JJ the Reus

          We’re not full of ourselves. We’re the best people in the world. 😛

          • Rock789

            😉

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Some people just can’t handle our humility, so they seek to tear us down.

        • YES 🙂

    • I am so happy about this. Definitely going to get it!

  • Skyblue

    hehe Destructoid – always being “that guy”

    • Hammersteyn

      Either them or Polygon

      • Skyblue

        Polygon, 10 or 6 and screw the middleground

  • Jonah Cash

    Oooooo, yeah the game is getting the scores I hoped it would!! Now I will go and pre order it!! I will just ignore the 6/10 at the end, they seem to have not been told what game it is they are playing again!!

  • Alex Hicks

    Polygon’s view entices me the most. I’m really up for a great game that manages to get the sandbox/story mix right; with good core gameplay. It also sounds like there may be replayability too; which would make it an almost slam dunk.

    Dammit – now I’m excited. Witcher 3; and now Shadow of Mordor … it’s getting expensive in these here parts

    • Brady miaau

      I never pre-order games. Period.

      Bought Shadows of Mordor, Wife bought me Civ Beyond earth (Um, mostly a housewife, right?) and DA Inquistions (collectors?) will be bought later on. Dammit, people we need to stop this pre-ordering stuff, really.

    • Mossel

      Not to mention the GPU upgrade that we all will need in order to get the most of this!

      • Alex Hicks

        Damn man – now I’m really getting worried for my bank balance. Wait – Witcher 3 is dropping end of Feb right? Mordor is end of this month. My GTX 560 TI is probably enough to handle it currently; but will need to be improved for Witcher’s goodness. hhhmmmmmmmm……….

        I can do this … kids might not get presents at Christmas; but they’re only 6 … they’ll get over the disappointment. I’ll tell them Santa’s sleigh was shot down like that Malaysia Air plane!

        • Mossel

          Haha dude I’m in exactly the same boat (except for the kids part)! My 560Ti should handle SoM, I will just need to use my bonus end of the year for a GPU. I’ll tell the girlfriend that it will make Vampire Diaries look better.
          You can give your kids a pass that let’s them watch you play for 2 hours together with a bonus information session afterwards on why daddy is murdering innocent people in video games. They get two questions each. xD

        • Spaffy

          “they’re”

          Twins?
          I’m in the same boat. Do I buy myself pressies and tell my twins girls they ain’t getting the pony Santa promised?
          Or do we starve till December.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            If you get the pony you don’t have to starve. *cough*

          • Spaffy

            I almost puked.

          • Alex Hicks

            Yep. Twin boys. As sweet as they are they might have to make do with dry bread for a month …

  • ReaperOfSquirrels

    Nice scores… can’t wait to see what “actual” players think of it.

  • Ross Woofels Mason

    I have not been following this at all, may be worth checking out though sounds pretty wicked.

  • Hammersteyn

    Sold! I guess, still suffering from the hype deflation that was Destiny. Can’t stop playing it though.

    • Skyblue

      If you’re playing it then it was money well spent. I need to start playing some of the new games I have but I just keep loading up Resogun, it’s become a sickness.

      • Brady miaau

        I keep loading Civ V. I never, ever finish a game. But I keep starting them. It is a sickness

        • Skyblue

          Civ 5… I’ve logged just shy of 700hrs on that time sink

          • Brady miaau

            OK, I am only on 350 or something. Wow.

          • Admiral Chief 0

            700, wow, impressive!

    • Brady miaau

      Yeah, screw the hype deflation. Are you enjoying it? Clearly. Carry on. Money very well spent

    • Rock789

      Exactly… It may frustrate the hell out of me that I seem to need to sacrifice a new-born to get any decent gear, but I am getting there… And everytime I sit down for a ‘quick 30min session’, it ends up being 3 hours later before I realise I’m kinda hooked and now can’t stop playing. Say what you will about Destiny, but it’s got some quite addictive gameplay that just makes you wanna continue… Now if I can only just finish this next strike, then…

      • Hammersteyn

        I haven’t gone to bed once before 12 this whole week, now I’m so tired I’ll probably sleep the whole weekend LOL

  • Brady miaau

    Confession: I pre-ordered this. Based purely on LG staff reports. Um, so journalism led to a sale. Who knew?

    • Game journalists are liers!

      • Brady miaau

        liars? or liers? small, horizontal difference. (Yes, yes, not quite)

        • Liars would probably work better here 😉

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

      • JJ the Reus

        At least you can trust them for shirt sizes. ;P

    • And have we not said it’s awesome since our first hands on? eh? eh? 😛

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        HOW MUCH WAZ U PAYD? 3#GAMERSGATES #INCREDIBLECORRUPTION

      • Brady miaau

        Yip, not just one of you. It seemed like all except Gavin were raving about it

    • fred

      me too

  • Ohhhh yes! So much win!

  • Mossel

    I’m waiting for Yahtzee’s review on this one. But it looks pretty damned good so far!

  • GooseZA

    That 6 from Destructoid?

  • Nikola

    Pre-ordererd it….loved the idea from first time I saw the game:)

  • CAE9872

    I wasn’t overly convinced by the game but these reviews would seem to indicate a change of heart is required.

  • Deano

    This just got upgraded to Day 1.

  • Sageville

    Shadow of Mordor vs Dragon Age Inqusition

    These titles look very similar, which is the better…

    I have same issue with DriveClub vs The Crew

    • Brady miaau

      No, not similar at, really.

      Mordor is darker, is more actiony and stuff. I think we will think find them very different experiences.

  • Don

    why is it only being released 21 Nov for xbox 360 version? :'(

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