Video games based on The Lord Of the Rings have tended to be of… variable quality. However, Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, while it will probably trigger a boatload of nerd rage with the liberties it takes with the books, actually looks pretty compelling, if also like a collection of pretty much every video game that’s sold more than a million copies.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor has you playing Tallion, a ranger in an alternate version of LOTR continuity. Taking place between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, Tallion and his family get caught in the crossfire when Sauron throws his comeback tour. Unlike most of the race of Men, though, Tallion is immediately revived as a half-man, half-Wraith for reasons the game hasn’t clarified yet. Hugely ticked off, for obvious reasons, Tallion plans to kill his way through the orcs.
Here’s some gameplay footage. See if you can count all the different games they swipe concepts from!
So you’ve got Ezio’s sneaking, Batman’s combat system, Corvo’s teleporting, and the ability to pretty much make a total hash of LOTR continuity. That’s quite a stack of abilities, Tallion.
Most interesting, though, is the “Nemesis” system, where essentially the villains are procedurally generated and you can work your way up the chain, assassinating, enslaving, or using as propaganda machines. They’ll also apparently remember you as you run into them throughout the game and as you give them little souvenirs of your run-ins, like facial scarring and crippling injuries. So they’re like Pokemon, only evil!
It’s a bit of a mix, but the combination of an open-world Mordor and missions that let you kick ass the way you want to is undeniably appealing, and even with pre-alpha code, the game looks pretty good. We will want to try that combat system out, though; this is really going to need great controls to work.