Early on Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor has generated some controversy. In October we’re going to be able to see just how well this game fares.
Since the halcyon days of The Hobbit text based adventure game back in 1982 (hands up if you remember this one?) there’s been numerous Tolkien inspired titles which have really failed to deliver. Lord of the Rings Online stands out as a decent attempt on PC but we struggle to think of a really good recent console LOTR game. There’s been a fair few too, but many seem little more than generic cash-ins on the Tolkien and subsequent Peter Jackson rendition of the land of Middle-Earth.
The latest big AAA shot at a viable LOTR game is to come in the shape of Monolith's Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Warner Bros confirmed a launch date of October 7th for SoM last week and it’s going to be coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, but sadly not Wii U.
Set somewhere in between the timelines of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, SoM places you in the less-than-convincingly-weathered frame of Aragorn-alike ranger Talion. Talion’s not the heir to the throne of the kings of men, rather it would seem he’s more indebted to Desmond Miles from the Assassins Creed games. Talion will have you ‘stealthing’ it about to get the edge on Mordor’s Orc hordes armed with some supernatural undead abilities.
A gameplay trailer which surfaced in January prompted a former Ubisoft developer to criticize SoM for using code from Assassins Creed 2. Whether true or not the gameplay does have some strikingly similar sneaking and climbing animations.
SoM is bringing in a new 'Nemesis' AI system whereby every enemy is endowed with it’s own strengths and weaknesses that evolve when you don't encounter them. This will sadly be scaled down for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions however, although the core gameplay will allegedly be unaffected.
Whilst the Nemesis system does provide something new to explore for the 8th Gen consoles there will be no multiplayer for SoM and with more and more console action games putting emphasis on online multiplayer match-ups SoM may lose out as a result.
This all said SoM looks to be a well polished offering with plenty of action and gore to satisfy. How it’s going to be received is yet to be seen especially in the eyes of Tolkien fans looking for that must have Lord of the Rings title. The context of the game does seem to be stretching the Lord of the Rings mythology just a tad.
What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to SoM? Will this game stand out as one of the better Tolkien inspired games? Below is a gameplay trailer to help you make up your minds.
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