Middle-earth Shadow of Mordor

Shadow Of Mordor: Too Good To Be True?

Shadow Of Mordor features a revolutionary concept, but can it be pulled off?

Every gamer knows too well the problem with over-promise and under-delivery. Each one of us has experienced boarding the hype train for a game which leads, on release, to an inevitable wreck of disappointment and betrayal. I should know more than most people; I played Brink, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Watch Dogs. However, these traumas have made me hardier, and more questioning of a game before its release. Which leads me on to Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor; what that game seems to be promising is incredible, but it leaves me extremely concerned as to whether Monolith Productions can successfully execute these promises.

In truth, whilst the combat and story of Shadow Of Mordor looks solid (although the graphics could use some work), there is one feature in particular that seems revolutionary. The Nemesis System is a mechanic which creates an organic, fluid and unpredictable power structure for the orc hierarchy which our protagonist, Talion, plans on destroying. Let me explain…

All the orcs you fight will have names and positions within the orc political system, and your interactions with each of these orcs can have ramifications for this system. If I were to kill an orc leader, a power vacuum will be created and other orcs will fight for the newly opened position. Alternatively, I could take control of an orc with my wraith abilities and, through my own machinations, enable his ascension to the top of the hierarchical ladder, thus allowing me to control an army of orcs through my puppet leader.

It doesn’t end there; each orc has their own unique characteristics and evolutionary paths. If I attack an orc leader but fail to kill him, then he will hold a grudge against me, in turn making him more aggressive in our next encounter. I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg here, but it sounds pretty epic right? In fact, it sounds so complex, so deep and so nuanced that I doubt Monolith Productions can actually pull it off.

The ‘nemesis’ mechanic in action.

It really is a case where it just sounds too good to be true. There are too many questions which haven’t been answered which suggest the Nemesis system isn’t as comprehensive as it currently sounds. Will it affect the overall narrative of the game? How free am I in my ability to change the orc power structure? How does the system determine which orc takes the place of another? There’s that, and the fact that most Lord of the Rings games have been average at best.

Maybe it’s just the paranoia inside me. I don’t want to jump on-board the hype train only to have my dreams be betrayed yet again. I do genuinely hope that Shadow Of Mordor is everything that it claims to be. But perhaps this healthy dose of scepticism will lead me to be pleasantly surprised once I actually play the game, rather than abysmally underwhelmed. Regardless, in order to make a legitimate judgement concerning the quality of Shadow Of Mordor’s centrepiece feature, the Nemesis System, it may be best to wait for its release, wherein the media will inevitably shine a bright light upon it and reveal the game for what it actually is.

Published by

Alex Avard

Born and raised in the UK, Alex brings an island mentality to all things gaming. He also loves puppies and. Three word sentences.

  • I feel like a part of me has died because of new LOTR game is coming out and I don’t care. Must come from all these years of playing the unplayable SNES game, the lame Vivendi Xbox version, the standard hack-and-slash movie versions, and the even-more-standard RPG’s and RTS’s. How could they make so many different games and have none of them be awesome?