Community Review: Shadow Of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor came out at an awkward time for me. Twas the transition between the all-consuming Destiny and my current favourite thing in the universe Alien: Isolation. So tragically, I haven't actually played Shadow of Mordor yet, but this weekend I did the next best thing: I watched my brother in-law play it!

This happens often at my place. My family will come and visit and they'll say, "oh I heard this was pretty cool". I'll say, "give it a try".

5 hours later...

I've had a lot of family over recently. My other brother in-law spent most of his time visiting us playing Mario Kart 8. This time his twin decided to get stuck into Shadow of Mordor.

So these are my impressions from watching someone else play the game!

Shadow of Mordor looks great. Really great. It looks like the amalgamation of a tonne of great games, with enough tweaks and innovations to feel worthwhile. Luckily it picks some pretty incredible video games to imitate: the combat of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the traversal of Assassin's Creed. It all seems to be underpinned by the nemesis system, which — coincidentally — my brother in-law wouldn't shut up about. He liked it. Very much.

And, funnily enough, when I called my brother this weekend, all he wanted to talk about was Shadow of Mordor. "It's all the best games in ONE COMPLETE GAME". He loved it.

So I'm starting to think this is a game I have to play. It might be one of those games I'll save for the dryish January spell, or in December when I typically play catch up with all the October/November releases.

What are your thoughts on Shadow of Mordor so far?


    Shadow of Mordor is a game you can play. It stars the main character Kelloggs Booberry as he doesn't simply walk into Mordor. Sometimes he punches a man. Other times he stabs. Most of the time he is a ghost man in Sauronland. Your elf eyes cannot see what Legolas does, but what they do see is a video game based in Tolkienville. All in all, One Ring to Rule Them All.

      7/10. Would read again.

      Last edited 20/10/14 11:23 am

    Shadow or Mordor is friggin awesome. I'm over 20 hours in and have just branded all 5 war chiefs in the second area.

    The story is great, looks great and plays like a dream. The nemesis system has me playing for hours and hours. Like, I'm now using the nemesis system to level up all my branded war chiefs, gain them a couple bodyguards each, then level up the bodyguards.

    Also....just hunted a Graug.....sweet.

    Finished the game after around 24 hours. Had a ton of fun branding a whole bunch of orcs and basically just owning the entire army of Sauron.

    Also that last story mission, just made the game epic to me.

    Will play again soon, just too enjoyable not to

    I've played it once since launch day haha. I was enjoying it, but then Diablo 3 sucked me back in. I should really start playing it again :/

    I'm just not feeling it.

    The Arkham combat remains excellent and enjoyable as always... and I like that part of it.
    But I'm just not getting into it, & I don't know why.

    As for the story; I got up a mission where you're chasing Gollum... & I just lost interest.

      I'd say keep playing it, once you unlock some more perks/abilities/story the game becomes so much better, in saying that I have enjoyed it from the start.

      I liked the hunting missions, and some of the stealth was fun, but i found the story and the Mordor environment to be really boring.
      I got a refund after 3 days.

    hi guys and gals, i'm just wondering if this would be worthwhile for someone who isn't too fluent on the LOTR series? does it seem like a interesting story in of itself, without the need for too much back story knowledge?

      I'd say you can enjoy the game on its on merits without having to delve deep into the Lord of the rings mythos. It's fun the nemesis system is great, I've watched a captain comeback after I've 'killed' him, he returned with a scarred face and multiple encounters after he had a sack on his head and a bio saying it hurt for him to eat lol good game I hope you get as much kicks as I am

    The game is decent, but it's not the 9+ that most reviewers are giving it.

    It's a decent combination of several different gameplay aspects from other games, but somehow none of the systems work as well in those other games.

    The combat targeting system is a shambles, and I'm frequently attacking enemies in the opposite direction to the way I'm pointing the thumbstick.

    The jumping and climbing sections suffer similar woes. Sometime I struggle to drop down on a specific side of a wall, as Talion either drops on the wrong side, or hops to a nearby ledge instead. Then there's the issue of his occasional superhuman leaps, but when faced with a smaller gap to cross, he decides to swan dive down to the ground.

    The game is fun, but those things hamper my enjoyment considerably.

    Last edited 20/10/14 11:29 am

    Its Stabbin awesome. Cant beat shanking an Ork while using him as a meat shield.

    Fun game, played about 10 - 15 hours, then Destiny's orbit drew me back in.

    I am as far removed from being an LOTR fan as you can get and this game has changed my attitude completely. An absolute pleasure to play and finish. Some excellent design choices made it a cut above the standard adventure RPG.

    Awesome! Just ok until you get to the party where you can start branding orcs. Then it really takes off. Sorry Destiny you have to sit on the back burner for a while.

    I am going to chew on the humble pie here and confess that I am finding it really difficult, I often find myself button mashing and getting frustrated.

    I don't think that this is any fault of the game but more to do with my old age and lack of coordination and remembering a bunch of combos.

      Its a pretty tough game, I admit I have died allot, I found doing more story missions upgraded my character more to be able to handle tougher situations, its also ok to run away if needed.

      I had my brother playing nearby and heard a mouse-clicking more frenzied than that of even the most intense Diablo session. Had to go over and give him some advice to get in the habit of clicking once per attack where possible. Especially since doing that with the right skills in place actually gives you critical hits, which dramatically speed up your combo-meter, which allows more frequent (and easier/effective) executions. Getting two executions per combo-streak is absurdly overpowered. Getting the branding skill as a combat finisher turns enemies into allies and makes things even easier.

      We obviously have a little skill difference between us so it's difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the suggestion, but I'd say that purchasing those in-game skills to reduce the threshold of combo-streaks for executions and adding 2x and 3x critical effects to the counter was a turning point that dramatically reduced game difficulty for me.

      That, and boosting the duration of focus and number of arrows. Being able to slow time to thin out the herd of annoying spear-throwers and more difficult enemies (berserkers/shield-bearers) drastically improves your odds in larger melees.

      Target lower Captains and work your way up.

    I've spent less time playing Shadow of Mordor than I have playing Destiny, but I've enjoyed more of the time I spent on SoM than I did in Destiny, which was MMO'ish compulsive grinding. It's certainly more conventional 'gaming' and you may even only get a few days to a week out of it, but I heartily recommend Mordor as the cheaper/better solo alternative.

    Destiny has shown me that there is something positive to be said for a contained experience which has a definitive completion point which doesn't outstay its welcome. I've heard some folks complain that it was too short, but I think if a game drags on, it can leave you feeling fatigued. Wanting a little bit more is probably the best way to finish up a game; better than getting bored and starting to resent the game.

    This is one of those experiences where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You should play it. Solid 8. I would add one entire point for it meeting and exceeding expectations; because recent experience has shown how expectations DO matter.

    Its really great. My saved game says ive been playing for 35 hours, and i havent beaten the main campaign yet, I don't know where the time went, thats the mark of a good game.

    I played it one night, loved it, then remembered I desperatley need to farm legendaries in Destiny because all my mates are better than me :-/

      Ok, played it again. Amazing. Will definitely devote some more time to this one.

    It's alright but no where near as great as everyone's making it out to be, there's just not that much to it. The first map is horribly bland and most objectives are the same from what I've played so far.

    Combat is the core of this game and while it is fun, it simply consists of pressing square and watching Talion gracefully carve up orcs over and over.

    I enjoy the game but for me it's one to pick up for an hour at a time every so often for some mindless entertainment.

    Just my 2c.

      This, I can't find anything overtly wrong with the game but im just not digging it.

      After my first two deaths I was running around getting all the info slaying captains watching them come back from the dead and yada yada then realised I had basically wasted my time because it did nothing for the plot. So i'm about 5 hours in and though I'd only just unlocked power rank 2 everything was far far too easy, I was walking away from 4 captain fights with 100+ kills with the only constraint being how long it took me to kill them.

      So I do some story think it'll get harder, then the war chiefs come and they straight up were easier than the very first orc I fought, moved onto the second area and now I feel like the game is fundamentally broken. If I play normally its a joke, you get the intel ambush take advantage w/e and you kill the most bad ass of orcs instantly and so to make the game somewhat difficult I have to run in blind which is robbing me of any entertainment because its not how i want to play.

      Anyway I just reached the 2nd area and basically said fuck it this is boring.
      I'll go back eventually but the just is there is no middle ground for difficulty and with no easy/normal/hard it just makes it much worse that and all your kills mean nothing so it feels like your wasting your time once the wow factor of the nemesis system is gone (5 hours for me your mileage may vary).

        Sorry mate but if you are where you say, you're not yet in a position to fully play with the nemesis system.

        Give it another few hours and suddenly its literally like a different game.

    Can execute your mortal nemesis.

    10/10 Would execute again.

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      Short? I've been playing for 12 hours or so and only just got up to the second zone (didn't even know there was going to BE a second zone)... Seems to me like the game has a ton of content. Although I guess if I'd been fast traveling around everywhere just doing the story missions it'd be blowing by much, much faster...

    Started off meh but then once the story and abilities get going it turned into something pretty sweet. Loving the resurgence of SP games with stories and more than 5 hours of non-repeated content.

    Fun but the final boss fight was crap. Tool away from the epicness of the game

    I only wish I got some of later abilities early. So much fun once you hit the second area. Would pay for a new game plus mode.

    Straight to my wishlist.... Sale while I churn the pile of shame...

    This is a good game. I wouldn't rate it 9/10, more somewhere between 7 and 8. The gameplay mechanisms revolving around the named orcs works well and is entertaining, and the combat is fun and functional although it really feels like playing yet another iteration of the Batman system.

    What I really didn't like was the environment and its design. It didn't feel like Mordor at all. Everything is designed as a bunch of narrow corridors between elevated sections with small cliffs. Mordor has vast plains where you can see Mount Doom from very far away - you don't get anything looking like that. I would have loved to see the most iconic places in Mordor such as Cirith Ungol, but you don't get anywhere near that neither, let alone have a chance to wander near Mount Doom which you only get to see a couple of times... in cutscenes.

    I also found the story quite awful. Without going into any spoiler: yes it takes inspiration from an existing character in Tolkien but butchers it and contradicts Tolkien's stuff in the most uninspired and boring way - I never felt that the story belonged in the Middle Earth setting.

    In brief, play it for the orcs, but don't play it to explore Middle Earth or experience a great story.

    I'm really enjoying it, but i've started experiencing some weird graphic glitches - which at times make it unplayable. Not sure if it's drivers or what.

    I'm still amazed that a game that is so clearly derivative of many other games feels so fresh. And I'm sure we're going to see a nemesis-like system appear in many other games in the near future.

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