Shadow of Mordor Review

Game: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor - Game of the Year Edition
Published on Sun Jan 08 2023

I started playing Shadow of Mordor when it first released, and I don't recall why I stopped. It's probable that I was playing it during the last year or so of the time when I was really quite "into" trophies on the PlayStation Network, and I likely stopped simply for that some other game with faster to earn trophies came out, or the trophies weren't coming fast enough; it's possible I was only playing it for a specific trophy while participating in a contest on the PlayStation trophies forum.

Regardless of why I stopped playing the game the first time, I started it up again a few days ago to give myself a break from all the PC gaming I tend to do, to sit on the couch and relax a bit. I'm glad I did, as I ended up liking the game a lot with this revisit. The combat takes inspiration from a number of sources, and I liken it much to the Batman Arkham series, though a fair bit more chaotic. I've never really liked how in most games with many enemies surrounding a protagonist they tend to come at you one at a time, and this game does away with that for a system which has you often trying to cull the herd from afar or separate them with environmental effects. It's a nice mix which was frustrating at times, but a good change by my measure.

The story is non-canon, being inspired by and utilizing characters and locations from Tolkien's work, but without being a story Tolkien had written himself. That said, I felt it fit in pretty well with the existing lore. It was interesting following the existing characters, even if the protagonist was a tad bland himself. The ending was "meh", and an obvious "look forward to the next game!", but hey - I do look forward to the next game, so there's that.

Overall I'm more looking forward to the sequel being (according to articles I've read) a tighter experience. Something I missed about this game was the nemesis system; it's highly touted as one of the more innovative features, and I was really looking forward to it, but in the end I really didn't see it impacting much of the game at all. I only ended up seeing two Uruks in total come back to exact revenge, and my apparent "true nemesis" was one whom I'd only actually ever seen twice through the game. I'm hoping they did more with that in Shadow of War since it is an intriguing system which I was excited to partake in.

I liked the game a lot and will probably go straight into the sequel, something I don't do often. It's really fun and well put together, I want more!