Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor Preview
Middle Earth is set to receive another legendary hero in the same timeframe as the War of the Rings. A new game from WB Games is being developed by Monolith Productions set in between the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings saga entitled Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.
Shown as an action RPG, this game looks to stand on its own as an epic Middle Earth adventure with a story written by Christian Cantamessa who penned the adventures of John Marston in Red Dead Redemption. This, of course, doesn’t always translate into an appealing title as evidenced by Lord of the Rings: War In The North. In that adventure, a part of Middle Earth’s fate was in the hands of yet another racially diverse company led by yet another ranger. There, the game’s spirit was developed by Snowblind (makers of Baldur’s Gate console games). Unfortunately, the total package did not keep gamer’s interests or capture their imagination.
Here, Shadow of Mordor seems to have taken on a life of its own almost in a Star Wars Force Unleashed kind of way. The ranger in this story, Talion, is a slain ranger that has been returned to life with the dark powers of a Wraith. In one of the trailers, Talion is seen speaking to a creepy witch-looking lady who instructs him to use his newfound powers to ‘dominate’ an orc leader and take its army as his own. After a series of bloody gameplay footage showing his power and prowess on the battlefield, you notice a trademark glowing of the eyes which apparently signifies Talion’s control over various enemies. How he comes across these powers and for what purpose will be a ton more interesting than the seemingly copycat style story that War In The North presented. Here the mystery of Talion and his powers have the potential for much more interest for the gaming faithful of the LOTR series. Not only that, the game allows for an exploration of the dark nation itself, Mordor. With little explained within the books of the dynamics and landscape of Mordor, this game will assuredly offer a unique perspective on the War of the Rings.
“It’s very iconic and very central, but as you say also unknown. So it kind of gave us the best of both worlds to go somewhere really interesting, explore it, but also see it in a way that hadn’t been seen before because this is just after Sauron’s return after a millenia. So it hasn’t transformed. Mount Doom not spewing lave. Baradur has fallen into ruin.” – Director of Design, Michael De Plater
Apparently the exploration is done within an open world style allowing for Talion to freely roam and piece together the purpose for his return. In order to bring that experience to life, Monolith has decided to create a Nemesis System that will affect how orcs and others react to him and the things that he does. As Talion recruits or dominates these orcs, they eventually are recruited for missions allowing them to have experience levels and and skills and powers of their own. They progress throughout the storyline just as Talion’s legend does.
As Adam Sessler described in the interview, the flow and style of the game shares similarities with Assassin’s Creed in how Talion moves, climbs, and leaps around the landscape. It will be interesting to see how Monolith uses the rest of Middle Earth to set itself apart from Ubisoft’s epic open world adventure.
Set for everything except mobile platforms and Wii U, Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor will be released October 17th of this year.