Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Epic Fantasy Adventure
Set in an open world where players have the freedom to choose their own path, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a standout entry in the fantasy-action genre. Populated by a host of familiar characters and locations based on the well-known novels of J R. R. Tolkien, there’s plenty of nostalgia for fans of the mythos. However, the game's overall look is borrowed from Peter Jackson’s imagining of the realm in his film series of the books.
Developing the Shadow of Mordor
Monolith Productions, a US company which specialises in AI, was the game's lead developer, beginning work on the title in 2011. They had previously worked on the multi-player online battler, Guardians of Middle Earth, which dealt with a similar landscape and was released in 2012. As it was the first licensed title of its type that Monolith had created for next-gen consoles, fresh mechanics were built to ensure the third person, sandbox aspects flowed smoothly. Published by Warner Bros, the game’s release date was brought forward from 7th October 2014 to 3rd October 2014 in the UK, due to consumer interest. A sequel, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, had a release date of 10th October 2017, and follows on from the action in Shadow of Mordor.
Which Versions are Available?
Aside from the initial release, there are two other versions of this title, both extending the story and gameplay.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – A third-person adventure game, the first Shadow of Mordor is available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC and as a download. It weaves themes of revenge and salvation into a fresh narrative, set in between the action of the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Playing as Talion a captain in the Gondor army, you see your family murdered by Sauron’s orc hoards, before suffering the same fate yourself. However, for Talion, death is just the beginning. He’s soon resurrected by an ethereal spirit that endows him with formidable wraith skills, enabling him to set off on a vengeful quest. There are numerous battles along the way, as you find out exactly who the benign spirit is, and discover further secrets about the Ring.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition – The Game of the Year Edition had a release date of 8th May 2015 and can be played on the PC, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. The main content is all available in this version, along with every item of downloadable content, building up the playing hours considerably. If you buy this version you’ll also get two new story packs, The Bright Lord and The Lord of the Hunt, more skins, including the Power of Shadow and The Dark Ranger, additional missions, like The Skull Crushers and the Flame of Anor, selected runes, and alternative modes of play. In these modes, you can take tests and complete challenges which are related to the story. When you are about to do something especially cool, just use photo mode to angle the camera and capture the moment for posterity.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Special Edition – The special edition’s release date was 3rd October 2014, it was made available from GAME stores for the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, the PS3, the PS4 and the PC. This version includes all the original gameplay along with The Hidden Blade Rune, which allows you to increase the power of certain weapons, and the Captain of the Watch Character Skin. It comes boxed in a collectable steel pack.
Extending Gameplay with Downloadable Content
To supplement the original game, there have been four DLC add-ons which players can try out on their PC or console. Some are purchased individually, whilst others form part of a season pass.
Guardians of the Flaming Eye – Guardians of the Flaming Eye presents an audacious Orc Warband quest. Here players can travel to the Black Gate to meet the cream of Sauron’s troops, the Defenders. If you’re successful, you’ll be awarded the Wolfs Head Rune. This DLC comes as part of the game’s season pass.
The Trials of War – Occasionally referred to as the Challenge Mode, this DLC is aimed at experienced players who want to further explore the Nemesis System, and to test out their abilities in combat and stealth. You’ll be presented with a series of maps and scenarios to work through – these will feel very familiar to anyone that has played Batman: Arkham Knight. High scoring players who have completed trials and objectives will be saved to the game’s leaderboard.
The Lord of the Hunt – A huge DLC pack that introduces Sauron’s terrifying Beastmaster Warchiefs, The Lord of the Hunt sees Talion collaborate with a Dwarven Hunter called Torvin to save the wild creatures of Mordor. You’ll have to find the beasts first by tracking them, then try to tame them so they can help out in the ensuing skirmishes. This is an especially compelling campaign with added trophies, bonus runes, skins, and previously unseen creatures.
The Bright Lord – With more of a focus on the plot, this intriguing DLC instalment is the last for the Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor series. The action centres around Celebrimbor the mystical elven master smith who created the revered Elven Ring of Power. He makes his way toward Sauron in an attempt to defeat the dark army and avenge the deaths of his loved ones. As this character, you can use the One Ring to increase your fighting skills. The sheer number of Uruks that stand in your way, make this bonus power an essential.
Beautifully Rendered Open-World Gameplay
Once Talion has been revived by the ancient elven spirit, he cannot die until the score is settled with his enemies. Ultimately, you’ll have to find and eliminate the murderous Black Hand, but before that, you’ll hone your skills on less astute foes like the orcs. By infiltrating various Uruk-Hai legions, then gathering information, you can locate and assassinate their leaders one by one. Espionage work can be carried out by grilling orcs that are further down the food chain, or by having a quiet chat with Ratbag the Coward, a quirky character who’s happy to double-cross his own kind for an unlikely chance at power.
When the game is in full swing, you’ll be roaming Mordor using a mixture of subterfuge and cunning when you can. This might involve hiding in an orc encampment and releasing their caged Caragor to generate a sense of chaos, which you can then use to cover your tracks. At other times, there’s no choice but get involved in a full-blown skirmish with orcs or even tougher bosses.
The combat system is relatively easy to learn, but often you become swamped by orcs attracted by the scuffle. This is when you can really work on Talion’s handiness with a sword, his counters, and eventually, finishing moves. Success drives up your score, making your slashes more powerful and you can move between opponents during a scrap. The stealth moves you may recognise from another great combat title, Assassin’s Creed. To avoid tackling orcs head on, you can creep around silently, then attack from behind or above. If the scenery allows, you can even strike from below to keep out of sight or use your bow to carry out a distance kill.
Aside from the main campaign there are side missions where you can retake spectral castles to obtain further quests or in-game points. If you take the time to look for healing herbs they can be useful in battle, whilst artefacts will reveal more about the history of Mordor. While the combined effect of each element is hugely engaging, Shadow of Mordor is taken to the next level by its extraordinary landscapes, advanced imagery and characterisation. Talion may be a man of few words, but the orc’s constant swearing, bickering and wisecracking is an inspired touch.
MIddle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Official Trailer
What Sets This Game Apart?
What marked Shadow of Mordor out from other games in the action-adventure genre on its release, was the Nemesis System mechanic. This piece of software means that each death, each battle and each meeting you have within the game is significant. So, as you fight your way to the top of the orc pile, the leaders are not simply awaiting your arrival. Instead, they’re jostling for position amongst other captains, then ending up more or possibly less difficult to defeat than in previous encounters. Moreover, they’ll immediately remember your past failures or triumphs and have a great time taunting you. This transforms fights into something more than beating faceless bosses or foot soldiers, these are individuals with an axe to grind which makes your in-game experience unique to you.
You can keep an eye on these relationships on the Sauron’s Army screen. Here, orcs are divided into those who could be potential Followers, because you’ve dominated them and others who remain Nemesis, because they’ve watched you die, or killed you. This is another aspect of the game that’s under your influence, as you can improve bonds with a Follower by sending him on a special mission or fighting on his behalf. If you decide to play the next title in the series, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, these orcs can be imported into the new game via Nemesis.
Using Trophy Guides and Tips
To learn more about your achievements and find out how far you’ve progressed, you can check out an online trophy guide. There are also detailed walkthrough instructions which can help you to improve your performance in the game. Alternatively, if you’re struggling with a certain mission or character, a walkthroughcan give tips on how to get better results.
Minimum System Requirements
Since its release, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor has been patched and extended with DLC. Due to this and other expansions, the space taken up by the game could vary. These are the requirements for an initial install:
Operating System: Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 at 64 Bit or equivalent
Memory: 3GB RAM
Hard Drive Space: 25GB
Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 965, 3.4GHz
Network: Broadband Internet
Hard drive or external storage with 10GB of space
Hard drive or external storage with 5GB of space
Up to 30GB of storage space
Up to 38GB of storage space
How Was Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Received by Critics?
What’s Good About the Game and What Could Be Better?
Shadow of Mordor is a story-driven title with plenty of boisterous action, but there are some things which could be improved. Here’s a look at the pros and cons:
Storyline is extremely engaging
Interplay with orcs is often humorous
Voice acting is superb
Extremely vibrant realism, day or night settings are very detailed
Side quests occasionally become repetitive
Viewing angles could be improved in some scenes
Game fluctuates between difficulty levels
No opportunity to create a unique character
Lack of an online co-op mode may frustrate some players
Shopping for Shadow of Mordor Best Prices
You can shop for Shadow of Mordor or the Game of the Year Edition, from large retailers like Tesco Direct, Amazon and Argos. GAME have a version of the title for every console, along with the Special Edition, digital downloads and season passes. Or you can look for cheaper used copies at e-tailers like Music Magpie or eBay, where you can also locate the rarer Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Special Edition.
In the annual spring and summer sales, as well as at Christmas, many larger stores reduce the price of slightly older gaming titles, so choose these times to look out for deals on Shadow of Mordor at Asda, Smyth’s Toys and Zavvi. You can also shop during the annual Black Friday event in November, when most large UK retailers, including the Microsoft and PlayStation Stores, cut the price of their gaming stock.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Discounts at HotUKDeals
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Posted 23rd Dec 2021Posted 23rd Dec 2021
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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 hi…