Ryu’s Bites: Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

71bQrp5RmJL._SL1123_ Title: Middle Earth – Shadow of Mordor
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Developer: Monolith
Language: English
Format: Disk/Digital
Genre: Adventure, Action, RPG-lite


In Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, gamers take on the role of Talion, a valiant ranger whose family is slain in front of him the night Sauron and his army return to Mordor, moments before his own life is taken. Resurrected by a Spirit of vengeance and empowered with Wraith abilities, Talion ventures into Mordor and vows to destroy those who have wronged him. Through the course of his personal vendetta, Talion uncovers the truth of the Spirit that compels him, learns the origins of the Rings of Power, and ultimately confronts his true nemesis.

Every enemy that players face is a unique individual, differentiated by their personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Through the Nemesis System, enemy relationships and characteristics are shaped by player actions and decisions to create personal archenemies that remember and adapt to the player and are distinct to every gameplay session. Gamers are able to craft their own battles, enemies, and rewards within the dynamic world, which remembers and adapts to their choices, delivering a unique experience to every player.

This is not my review, because despite having played for 12hours I’m still only 10% of the way through the story. But i wanted to get my thoughts out in the open just for those considering buying the game. I’ll have my full review out early to mid next week, but given it’s content it’s going to be a lot longer than the usual reviews i do.

What to say, let me be honest, I’m hating right this review because it’s taking me out of the game!! This game is bloody awesome!

So, all the games I’ve pre-ordered this year so far has been a huge let down. Including Destiny, though i will admit for a while i had fun playing it. So i hummed and ahhed over whether i should pre-order this one. In the end that decision was made for me when my missus pre-ordered it for me as a gift 😀

She knows I’m a huge lore nerd when it comes to LotR, which is why i struggle with the movies. But given the way the game is being done. she decided to give it a gamble!

So i started playing with some trepidation, expecting the usual suck fest we’ve been on with AAA games of late. Along with the additional suckfest of doing a game outside of the lore.

Within 10minutes i was sucked in and frankly, it’s currently one of my all time favourite games and is the contender for Game of the Year.

Like all open world games you have multiple aspects to contend with. The main story runs for 24 missions, along with that you’ve multiple dynamic side missions, that change as you play, and the obligatory collectables and hunting missions. It reminds me of Far Cry 3’s way of handling it world and missions, which is a damn good thing IMO.

So what I’ll do is a second post purely about the story, for now lets talk the rest of it.

The side missions, which essentially are about you weakening Sauron’s army, set you against captains. These are really fun to do, especially since the way the game dynamically adapts to you things have interesting consequences.

For example lets say you fight a captain and he flees, getting away. The next time you fight him he’s going to remember that it’s going to influence how he reacts. Same if he kills you, or you kill him. Yes, that’s right, the captains can revive. In fact the only way to be 100% sure your target is dead is to lop it’s head off.

All the captains have a chance of reviving, if they do they get a few new scars from your encounter, and actually remember how you killed them. Personally i love this system, though this has been a bit controversial with some.

The collectables are a mix of two things, you’ve got the usual item things, with memory audio logs attached to them. And then you’ve ithilien, which is a sort of hidden door that is slowly revealed by finding the clues. As to what it does, no idea yet sorry as I’ve not got the whole thing.

For me the thing that makes this game so much fun, is also it’s greatest weakness, the combat.

I think the best way to describe this game is if Batman Arkham City, Assassins Creed 4 and Far Cry 3 all shacked up and had a kid together 😀

The combat is very batman, with the free running of AC4 and the open world setting of FC3. Usually however I’ve found that most games that try to mimic the free flow combat of Batman just don’t quite pull it off right. However in this game it actually feels like the combat is better. The reason for that is simple, Batman never kills, he just beats the snot out of everyone. Here however we have the combat system let loose, it’s visceral, and the attacks have a lot of power behind them. Killing an orc was never so much fun, or bloody.

However as i said this is also the games greatest weakness, all you’re doing is killing orcs. The entire story focuses on killing orcs, which for some people can be a bit of a let down. Given the number of critters in Sauron’s army it’s a shame all we see are orcs.

However for me, I don’t have a problem with it, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of the game so far!!

So, you’re interested in buying the game, you need to ask yourself this. Do you like the Batman Arkham games? If yes, then I’d say buy the game. If no, then no, don’t buy it.

As has been said in a few streams I’ve watched, this game is more Batman than the Batman games 😀

Still not sure? Go watch some gameplay: http://www.twitch.tv/talutha/b/573455213

Before i go i want to address some of the controversy around the game:

1) Total Biscuit’s claim of unethical marketing.

So, TB as you may or may not know is a YouTube personality, one of the more famous. He requested PC code for the game so he could do his WTF is of it. They offered the same paid deal that they offered everyone. LP the entire game and show off the various modes. There was no restrictions on what they can or can’t say. So, basically they were being paid for taking time away from their usual content to play the game.

However TB only wanted to do his WTF is and got on a high horse and decried the deal as unethical. This is despite him having taken paid deals in the past (his biggest is probably Planetside 2) and actually having 2 paid deals running at the moment.

The whole situation feel like he threw a hissy fit because they wouldn’t give him a code just to do his WTF is.

Then when he got a code, he made a big thing out of getting the code from ‘other sources’ but said it such a shady way that it actually sounded more unethical than if he’d just taken the deal.

So yeah, as much as i like TB’s vids, at times, he can be a total prick

2) 6GB vram for ultra!

Monolith released an optional DLC which was aimed at people wanting to push their systems to the max, much like Crysis many moons ago. To play with the DLC you needed a GFX card with 6GB of VRAM. This isn’t STRICTLY true. You can play ultra with a 4GB card, at 1080, if you go over it to say 4k, then yes the 6GB VRAM is needed, and that’s WHO the dlc was aimed at.

That said, even just running the game on high it looks bloody amazing!!


  1. Sounds like TB was in the wrong. Companies are not obliged to give away freebies. If they give you a review copy you have to adhere to their terms.

    That’s why reviewers have to conform to NDAs and when they can publish a review. It’s big headed to expect everyone to adhere to the format of your Youtube show.

    1. I’ve started to notice over the past year or so though that TB has gotten a lot more egotistical. He does have a lot of influence in the games industry, less than he thinks, so i was really glad to see him get knocked down a peg or two.