Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PlayStation 4)

Open world game pits you against the armies of Sauron.

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PlayStation 4
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PlayStation 4
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PlayStation 4
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PlayStation 4
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Large open world to explore
  • Responsive battle system

Cons

  • Short single player campaign
  • Minor slowdown in some parts

Bottom Line

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an action-packed adventure that does justice to the famous property it is based on.

Would you buy this?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy may have come to an end, though the lore of Middle-earth has been revived with the recent Hobbit movies. Games have also been faithfully recreating the fantasy setting, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is the latest one to do so. Free from being tied to a single film or book, Shadow of Mordor aims to take a fresh perspective on the renowned property.

A new hero is born

The story of Shadow of Mordor is centred on a new protagonist called Talion. After being executed by Sauron’s forces, Talion’s spirit gets attached to an elf ghost that enables him to return to Middle-earth. Now that he’s among the living again, Talion’s only goal is to get revenge on those who wronged him.

Shadow of Mordor is a third person action title where the action is brutal and gory from the get-go. Much like Ryse: Son of Rome, the game comes with gruesome finishing moves and gritty executions. When Talion is not busy dispatching with enemies, there are times where it is more prudent to sneak by enemies undetected.

The combat in Shadow of Mordor is well-balanced and responsive throughout, which is crucial considering the hordes of enemies you encounter throughout your travels. Talion uses a sword during combat, and a series of successful strikes builds up to a takedown move. You also have a bow that can be used to pick off enemies from a distance, and a handy ability to slow down time helps to steady the aim in tight situations.

Choose your own adventure

The game starts off as a hack-and-slash title, and it evolves into a more tactical experience once you get the mind-control ability. With it, you can turn enemies against each other while you watch from the sidelines. This mechanic opens the game up to new strategies, such as controlling a lieutenant and using them to kill a warchief before then disposing of the lieutenant yourself.

Shadow of Mordor makes use of an open world like the Batman: Arkham games, so you are free to complete tasks at your own pace. The world is expansive and brimming with lore from the Lord of the Rings, and the PlayStation 4 does a good job of rendering these environments in high definition. There is some minor slowdown in some parts of the game, such as the mind-control segments, though it did not affect the gameplay.

The single player missions form the core of Shadow of Mordor, though there is plenty of content after the game is completed. After the story concludes, hunting down the remaining warchiefs will occupy most of your time. There are also several side missions that test your skills with weapons and ability in wildlife-hunting.

Your destiny awaits

Most games based on Lord of the Rings have been derivative so far, though Shadow of Mordor provides a more mature take on the property. The open world nature of the game provides you with a fair amount of freedom to create your own adventure, while the fighting engine is balanced enough to ensure battles never get too frustrating. This ensures the game remains highly playable even when the single player campaign ends.

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