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Mordor: One game to rule them all

Oct 16, 2014

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Middle–earth Shadow of MordorPlaying 'Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor' is like entering The Inn of the Prancing Pony for the first time. There is a hell of a lot going on. So many sights, sounds; yet after your senses have adjusted, it all makes perfect sense.

Set in J. R. R. Tolkien's extravagant Middle-earth universe, 'Mordor' is healthy mix of the best of Ubisoft's 'Assassin's Creed' series and the 'Batman Arkham' games which like 'Mordor', are published by Warner Bros. Interactive.

As you might remember, 'Mordor' is that charred territory in 'The Lord of the Rings' which looks like the bottom of your outdoor grill at the end of barbecue season. It is eventually ruled by Sauron, who apparently has never met The Property Brothers, heard of upgrades, renovations or just moving up in the world. He sure isn't the perfect neighbour. Just ask anyone who lives in Rohan.

Set in the time between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Mordor's star is a ranger captain named Talion who is callously slain by an army of orcs. Pulling an Eric Draven, Talion is resurrected by a wraith to seek his revenge. Now a human-wraith hybrid, Talion has extraordinary powers and abilities at his command, which are earned throughout his quest for vengeance.

Middle–earth Shadow of MordorLike 'Assassin's Creed', you can climb, leap and creep along like a ninja, scoping out and killing your foes silently from above or from behind. The regular hand-to-hand combat is inspired by the 'Batman Arkham' series with you bouncing, weaving, dodging and vaulting between large groups of attacking foes. Which tactics you use will depends upon the specific mission or quite frankly, your mood.

The campaign itself is a winding, crooked road. There are a lot of choices, sometimes too many to take in at once. You can travel around, completing side quests to collect rewards such as better weapons or human, wraith abilities. You can roam around the land, engaging in random encounters, creatures and patrols which have no real narrative behind them.

The core of Mordor though is the Nemesis campaign system. In it, a rogue's gallery of Sauron's leaders can be targeted but also change and evolve depending on their interactions with you. If you slay a guard captain, for example, another one of Sauron's soldiers will rise up and perhaps take his place. If, in your travels, you are defeated by an underling, they may grow in power and experience because of their victory over you.

Middle–earth Shadow of MordorMordor's campaign does have its moments, such as releasing some ferocious beasts from their cages so they can pare down an orc contingent that is in your way but the lion's share of the undertakings are flushing out one orc boss after another and cleaving through their troops. Still, there is so much do in 'Shadow of Mordor', whichever gameplay path you choose to follow.

Mordor's best trait though is how faithful it is to the Lord of the Rings lore. The tone, the feel, the atmosphere are so perfectly designed you really do feel you are playing through one of the movies. For fans, this is the game you have been waiting for to satisfy all of your orc-eviscerating, magic-wielding, ruin-deciphering, mead-guzzling desires.

Middle–earth Shadow of Mordor Middle–earth Shadow of Mordor
Format: Xbox One
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Monolith Productions
ESRB Rating: Mature

Official Site:

Rating: 7.5 / 10

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