Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor: PS4 Review
Released by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
It's a common refrain from Tolkein's books, and must be said in a whisper. However, there's no reason to whisper about Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor because it's a game that really does provoke excellence on many levels.
It's back to the world of Tolkein unsurprisingly for this latest, as you take on the role of Talion, a Ranger whose life is torn apart with the death of his son and the murder of his wife in front of his very eyes. However, things get worse when as part of a sacrifice to Sauron, Talion's throat is slit and he's killed off (not the most auspicious of starts you'd have to say).
But revived with wraith-like abilities after a merging, the Ranger sets off into Mordorrrrrrr (sorry) to exact vengeance on the marauding Uruk-hai and to find out who exactly the bad guys are and to try and stop Lord Sauron.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a Lord of the Rings game that doesn't dwell on the mystical side of Tolkein too much and simply gets into the battling and role-playing that you'd want from a title like this. Grim and gritty, the opening sequences alone are up there with what we've seen from Peter Jackson and the studios but also their own beast, giving the game an almost cinematic feel that you'd come to expect from such a series.
There's clearly an Assassin's Creed / Batman style influence here as you slink around, execute Orcs and use your stealthiest moves to level up in the early stages of the game. But what there also is in this game is a feeling of a vengeance flick as you run your sword through a gaggle of enemies to execute your vengeance on those who have wronged you.
Where the Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor really finds its feet though is the Nemesis system which it employs.
Essentially, what that's done for the gameplay within Mordor is potentially redefining. Each person you meet has their own personality, their own attributes (as well as their own names and attitudes) and is shaped by this. If you run away from an Orc during a conflict, the system kicks in and they will remember you if you meet them again - either in combat or further on in their army, it's been shaped by this interaction.
The system also serves as hierarchy for within the Orcs' armies, helping them to jostle for power, adding in delicious levels of character conflict that are played out in front of you - and are different in every permutation of the game. It's an incredible system to see in use and brings another level of gameplay to the table, which makes this a completely immersive fantasy experience - and a totally rewarding gaming one.
You'll also have to gather intel on the enemies as well which is done by investigating Orcs and unlocking info by using your Wraith touch. It's elements like this that have really raised Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor to the echelons and accolades it's been scoring. But it's also the character touches as well - from each creature uttering threats and interacting that elevate this game to a more personal level than what's gone before.
There's plenty more to explore in Mordor as you continue your quest. And while that side of the game may not be the most original, it's the Nemesis system, the stunning graphics and the true-to-the-origins elements that make Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor an RPG that's well worth your time.