Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor – A World Worth Exploring

Here’s a game that pretty much came out of nowhere and landed on my radar. I knew of Shadow of Mordor, but never really gave it much attention due to everything else that I was working on. However, I was in the mood for some action and always enjoy anything set in the Lord of the Rings universe. Therefore, as the initial buzz began for Shadow of Mordor just before its release, I made sure to grab a copy for coverage.

It’s easy to see right away why Shadow of Mordor received such high reviews. The ground glistens with sunlight reflecting off the puddles of water, and the surroundings as a whole are beautiful to see with mountain ranges in the background and a statue that sits right above the horizon. Shadow of Mordor is a good-looking game, and that’s running it on mostly high settings as I’m only working with the GTX GeForce 770 2GB. That means I don’t even have the Ultra HD textures applied. (Update: I’m now running the game with the new GTX 980 on Ultra with the HD textures installed. And guess what? It still looks gorgeous! Honestly, I can’t tell a big difference, though I am now getting near 60 FPS rather than 40 which is what I was getting with the GTX 770 on “mostly High” settings.)


The beauty is great and so is the gameplay. I didn’t realize I was getting ready to play an Assassin’s Creed game set in Middle-Earth. As I took my leap off of one of the towers I reconstructed, I had a very familiar feeling come over me. I then started climbing around some more and took another big leap of faith and then came to the realization that this feels too much like an Assassin’s Creed title. Whatever though, it works! But what works even better is the combat which is both easy (sometimes) and entertaining to play.

I love going into an orc stronghold and causing lots of chaos. However, if a player isn’t careful, the orcs will end up calling for reinforcements which all of a sudden makes players feel as if they were playing a game of Dynasty Warriors. And let me make this clear, it’s not that easy to quickly kill one orc, especially when having to counter-attack from multiple enemies at the same time. The first time reinforcements came was rather exciting though. It was actually kind of funny at the same time to see all these orcs marching toward me and surrounding me. It wasn’t easy and I almost died on a couple of occasions, but I ended up fending off the reinforcements.


It was fun even though it took a while to defeat all the enemies. It ended up actually being rather exhausting to the point of where I’ll do my best not to allow an orc to raise the alarm next time. All I can say is thank goodness for the counter-attack move. And while all the hacking and slashing at orcs is a lot of fun, I’ve also come to enjoy the bow & arrow a lot more than I would have thought. The slow motion ability to line up a baddie is fun, especially when an enemy is charging right in front of the player. Wooo! He went backwards!

It’s a fun world to explore and it’s always entertaining when Gollum is involved. The storyline is intriguing enough to keep me interested, but the battle system and facing off against different orc captains is the main draw. It sucks to die at the hands of an orc, but it is fun to see them rise in strength and be promoted. It’s also exciting to face off against them once again to seek revenge.

Shadow of Mordor has all the right elements to keep players entertained for the long haul. I can’t wait to continue my journey into Middle-Earth!

Here are some gameplay videos on Ultra settings using the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980


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