Light the beacons send the ravens and open the gates – Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is due 7th October this year Warner Bros. Interactive has revealed.
Following the release of the ‘Banished from Death’ story trailer on Wednesday, gaming sites, social media and internet forums have been awash with commentary on the RPG – both praising and critical in equal measure for not just the setting, but also the technical aspects as well.
Something of a mixed bag all around, Shadow of Mordor is set for release on 3rd and 4th generation consoles – bar the Wii U. Xbox 360 and PS3 players are reportedly to miss out on the game’s ambitious Nemesis graphics system, with chief design director Michael de Plater telling IGN that it is “just so huge” in terms of content, calculations, and artificial intelligence.’” De Plater promised that the developer Monolith will try its best to get “as much of it in as we can,” but confessed 3rd gen consoles won’t be getting Nemesis’ full version. Yet he went to assure that the overall plot and core gameplay would be “the same” across console generations.
Players become Talion, a ranger who loses his family and everything he holds dear, only to be returned from death by a mysterious Spirit of vengeance.
Shadow of Mordors’ gameplay can be best summed up in what some fans are terming it as “Altair meets Elder Scrolls.” As we saw in January’s gameplay trailer, Talion utilises a conglomeration of stealth, melee weaponry and sorcery. It’s a break from previous Lord of the Rings games where the traditional modus operandi is the hack and slash of a sword (and maybe whack and flash of a staff where Gandalf’s concerned). Playing as Talion should offer veteran players a fresh break from this pattern and open up a new dimension of stealth and assassination to new ones.
As for setting, it’s a case of either it’s one of your regular favourites or an unimpressive cliché. Based on JRR Tolkien’s fantasy works, it takes place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Taking up the mantle of Talion, players embark on a medieval Joey Estacado-esque vendetta. After watching his family’s murder at the hands of Sauron’s returning armies, Talion is resurrected from death’s door by a tormented Wraith and empowered with supernatural abilities. Bent on vengeance on those who wronged him, Talion cuts a line of bodies on his one-man army march on Mordor as Sauron gathers his forces and plans his renewed conquest of Middle Earth.
Participating retailers are also offering the Dark Ranger bonus pack with Shadow of Mordor pre-orders. The pack includes the Dark Ranger costume skin and a new challenge mode, Test of Power. Here, players will face down Sauron’s lieutenants and defeat them to earn power-boosting Runes. The mode also comes with its own leader boards, on which players can measure their mettle against one another.
Will Shadow of Mordor match up in the same league as Destiny and Darksouls as one of 2014’s most anticipated games? Will Tolkien fans, conservative and liberal, be satisfied with Monolith’s take on Middle Earth? That’s for October to determine.
Watch the new trailer below;