Mordor calls you to the field of battle to stop the arrival of the Dark Lord Sauron... again. Take up your blade, bow and dagger and take down Sauron's forces before his army marches out to take over Middle-Earth. This game must be on your shelf as it's one of the best gaming high-lights for any Xbox, PlayStation and PC consoles and especially for me. Here's Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor.
I think this Action Role-Playing game is as unique as Tomb Raider because the developers Monolith Productions (the team behind the F.E.A.R games), Peter Jackson himself and Behaviour Interactive have gone into more detail for this franchise and have dug deep into this era in the timeline and given us another idea as to what could have happened (though I have read online that the story is separate from The Lord Of The Rings canon, though the story align, characters and settings are within canon).
We are witnessing Mordor before it became a barren wasteland and we are just one man with the strength of an army (Talion even shares a fair resemblance to the future king of Gondor, Aragorn).
Compared to the LOTR films and books, I actually find this story intriguing and it fits in well, it's like replaying Star Wars: The Force Unleashed again, I mean I'm playing a story that could very well fit in with a universe I know so well though we never saw it, heard of it or even read it from out past experiences with Tolkien's work before. I originally got into LOTR several years ago after failing to watch The Fellowship Of The Ring when I was around 8 or 9. I only watched vague parts from the beginning up until Gandalf's defeat with the Balrog, I gave up then. But soon when the trilogy came back onto Sky Movies several years ago, I've really dulged into this franchise and always watch them when they're on TV, though they are not as good as the Extended versions (which by the way are worth watching even more despit the length time). I even read The Hobbit book right before the new Trilogy (well now it's a Quadrology/ Tetralogy) was released in cinemas.
The open-world is huge for only one region of Middle-Earth. The amount of detail that's been laid out for the stone, grass and mountain terrain is accurate along with the dark and apocalyptic atmosphere that Mordor is famous for. I noticed that when I came up close to the eroded castles, the walls of towers and giant boulders that they have seen better days and look damaged, scarred and imperfect plus they look like battlefield pieces from Warhammer 40k.
The free-running is good seeing as it's not too limited to what even some of the actors did in The Lord Of The Rings films well except for Legolas (who's an agile and skilled Elf). Seeing that Talion has similar agility to an Elf made sense seeing as his wraith mate was also an Elf once, plus this special mechanic helped me pull off a lot of sneak attacks, flexible combat and perform stealthy bow assassinations (no offence to the world of Men, but those men couldn't amount to the skills of an Elf if they tried to in this game).
The combat is super easy to master and get to grips with if your used to played RHYSE or the Batman games, so it's X/ Square to attack, Y/ Triangle to block and in this game, B/ Circle to use Wraith Stun powers. Even the bow uses the same LT and RT controls as throwing a Batarang.
The fact that Talion can make other creatures and enemies his own minions is what makes the game fun and enjoyable as it's handiness has helped me throughout the game.
Right before the fight takes place with a captain/ warchief when they notice my arrival or clash with my sword they give me some stick and talk how they are going to kill me or antagonise me, but they don't stand a chance really against me.
Seeing that Troy Baker (the voice actor I know who provides the voices for Loki in Lego Marvel Super Heroes and the Marvel Avengers Assemble TV series as Loki too, Van Kleiss in Generator Rex and Snow Villiers from Final Fantasy XIII), was in the game and provided the same requirements that Camilla Luddington did for her role in Tomb Raider, it brought a smile to my face and activated a fond memory I adore because I met him nearly a year ago at MCM Comic-Con in London. Troy and Roger Craig Smith (the voice actor who does Batman in Batman: Arkham Origins, Ezio Auditore da Firenze in the Assassin's Creed (Series) and Sonic The Hedgehog (2010-Present) were there together doing autographs while promoting the new Batman: Arkham Origins game that they both voiced in (Troy as Joker and Roger as Batman). I was very honoured to have met them both, they were very nice and pleasant chaps and were two of those real actors that when you meet, are nice for real and polite. I got Troy to sign my Final Fantasy XIII game cover and Lewis's Persona 4: The Animation poster for free (Lewis couldn't make it unfortunately so I took his poster from his house and got it signed for him, aren't I a good mate?!) and Roger signed my Batman: Arkham Origins poster that was there for free. That was an unforgettable moment in my life that I treasure to this day.
Anyway, back to the game.
Upgrading Talion is vital because with every Captain and Warchief you kill, you acquire a Rune which is a unique skill which you can equip to Talion's Blade, Bow or Dagger. Each Rune have special percentage variations on gaining the upper-hand or replenishing focus/ health or even gain more XP (luckily it's not a ridiculous upgrade such as attaching a Grenade Launcher to the Bow). Combo's are what help you acquire more XP and with the XP you can unlock hidden abilities that will shape Talion into powerhouse he is. Plus with every Captain and Warchief you slaughter, you acquire Power which is used to unlock the special abilities along with some abilities that are acquired through XP. Lastly you can acquire money through finding collectibles such as Artifacts etc throughout the game which keeps the game going as well as all the side-quests and just messing around really.
Just before purchasing the game, I got talked into purchasing the Season Pass for the game too which according to my friends at Horsham GAME, you can play as Talion's Wraith mate and battle Sauron himself and his army during the Second Age, you can tackle some hunting challenges and fight ferocious monsters plus theirs some more missions to extend hours of gameplay. I'd say it was worth it and now I can activate it seeing as I'm done with the story mode (it only had 20 main missions).
As for wrapping up this long review, I'm not gonna say anything about it at all. Yep! You'll have to witness it for yourself. I wonder how you'll react to it as it seemed unexpected but also clear at the same time. What do you guys think of the ending to this cool game?
Now, I can get round to playing Alien: Isolation at last and start my review on that. I am tempted to write up a review soon on my year long progression since joining the gym again (maybe even share a picture of my progress too *wink*) plus I have MCM Comic-Con coming up near the end of October. That's gonna be huge! Jessica Nigri (a hot famous cosplayer) and Danielle Radcliffe are turning up and I hope to get an autograph and meet these two legendary people too. Plus I can get round to writing up a huge post talking about Cosplaying, what Comic-Con is like and has been from my past visits and talk about this personal side of my life with you all. :)