Tag Archives: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor Free Weekend with Nemesis Forge Update

Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor was originally released in September 2014, and its sequel, Shadow of War will be released later this year. So, old news right? Wrong. This weekend (6th July to 9th July), Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition is FREE on Xbox One. Not only that, but a new update has been released called Nemesis Forge. This update allows you to transfer your top orc nemesis and your most loyal orc follower from the original game to the sequel. Those Orcs will then join you in Shadow of War when it releases this October.

The Nemesis system was one of the most original gameplay systems to launch in recent years. As players of the original game will attest to, the Nemesis system procedurally generated orc enemies, with unique names and abilities unique to your game, and they rose and fell in power within their army. The Nemesis system will one again be a part of Shadow of War, this time with new features and your old foes!

And, even better news is that if you liked the original, or you try it this weekend and love it, then it is only £4.80 to buy currently. Yes, thats £4.80 for the Game Of The Year Edition! That’s about the price of a pint for a game that I played for about 60 hours!

New Shadow of War gameplay trailer revealed

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review

 

One game to rule them all – Shadow of Mordor GOTY edition

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The Game of the year edition of Shadow of Mordor is penned for an early May release and will include all the “currently available” DLC, which is detailed as follows:

  • Story Packs: The Lord of The Hunt and The Bright Lord
  • Skins: The Dark Ranger, Captain of the Watch, Lord of the Hunt, The Bright Lord, Power of Shadow and Lithariel Skins
  • Runes: Hidden Blade, Deadly Archer, Flame of Anor, Rising Storm, Orc Slayer, Defiant to the End, Elven Grace, Ascendant, One with Nature
  • Missions: Guardians of the Flaming Eye, The Berserks and The Skull Crushers Warband Missions
  • Challenge Modes: Test of Power, Test of Speed, Test of Wisdom, Endless Challenge, Test of the Wild, Test of the Ring, Test of Defiance Challenge Modes
  • Additional Features: Photo Mode

One question remains, is there anyone out there that doesn’t already own the original release?

GDC Awards nominations announced

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2015 marks the 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards. The ceremony will take place on March 4 during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco with thirteen awards that include an ‘Audience Award’ that is conducted by an online poll – the winners of the Lifetime Achievement, Pioneer and Ambassador awards will be announced prior to the event.

The nominees for the other nine categories have been announced, with Monolith Production’s Shadow of Mordor receiving five nominations. Alien has had a rocky history with gamers so it’s great to see Alien Isolation pick up three nominations although I’m a bit gutted to see my GOTY contender (Titanfall) slip into ‘Honorable Mentions’ especially as I found Destiny to be a lukewarm experience in regards to story and PvP. Far Cry 4 manages to sneak in a nomination to technology, which given Ubisoft’s difficult 2014 with game launches, it’s great to see the visually spectacular open-world shooter getting a nomination.

Here’s the full list of nominations:

GAME OF THE YEAR
  • Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)
  • Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
  • Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Honorable Mentions: Titanfall (Respawn/Electronic Arts), Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts), Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Sora Ltd. and BANDAI NAMCO/Nintendo)

INNOVATION AWARD
  • Bounden (Game Oven)
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • This War of Mine (11 bit studios)
  • Monument Valley (Ustwo)
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Crypt of the Necrodancer (Brace Yourself Games), Extrasolar (Lazy 8 Studios), Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments), Elegy For A Dead World (Dejobaan Games), 80 Days (Inkle Studios)

BEST DEBUT
  • Yacht Club Games (Shovel Knight)
  • Respawn Entertainment (Titanfall)
  • The Astronauts (The Vanishing of Ethan Carter)
  • Stoic Studio (The Banner Saga)
  • Upper One Games (Never Alone)

Honorable Mentions: Dynamighty (CounterSpy), Hinterland Games (The Long Dark), 1337 & Senri (Leo’s Fortune), MachineGames (Wolfenstein: The New Order), Hipster Whale (Crossy Road)

BEST DESIGN
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • Shovel Knight (Yacht Club Games)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
  • Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Nintendo EAD Tokyo and 1-Up Studio/Nintendo)
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)

Honorable Mentions: Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo EAD Tokyo/Nintendo), Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega), Destiny (Bungie/Activision), Monument Valley (Ustwo), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

BEST HANDHELD/MOBILE GAME
  • Threes! (Sirvo)
  • Super Smash Bros. 3DS (Sora Ltd. and BANDAI NAMCO/Nintendo)
  • Hearthstone (Blizzard)
  • 80 Days (Inkle Studios)
  • Monument Valley (Ustwo)

Honorable Mentions: Bounden (Game Oven), Bravely Default (Silicon Studio and Square Enix/Nintendo and Square Enix), Desert Golfing (Blinkbat Games), Velocity 2X (FuturLab), Fantasy Life (Level-5/Nintendo)

BEST VISUAL ART
  • Monument Valley (Ustwo)
  • Hohokum (Honeyslug and Sony Santa Monica/Sony)
  • Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)
  • Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo)
  • Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)

Honorable Mentions: Never Alone (Upper One Games/E-Line Media), The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts), Transistor (Supergiant Games), Broken Age: Act 1 (Double Fine Productions), Destiny (Bungie/Activision)

BEST NARRATIVE
  • 80 Days (Inkle Studios)
  • This War of Mine (11 bit studios)
  • Kentucky Route Zero: Episode 3 (Cardboard Computer)
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts), Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Ubisoft Montpellier/Ubisoft), Tales From The Borderlands: Episode 1 (Gearbox Software/Telltale Games), D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (Access Games/Microsoft), Hatoful Boyfriend (Mediatonic/Devolver Digital)

BEST AUDIO
  • Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
  • Hohokum (Honeyslug/Sony)
  • Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
  • Transistor (Supergiant Games)
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (The Astronauts)

Honorable Mentions: Child of Light (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die (Access Games/Microsoft), Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games/Nintendo), Crypt of the Necrodancer (Brace Yourself Games)

BEST TECHNOLOGY
  • Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order (MachineGames/Bethesda)
  • Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments)
  • Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft)

Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed Unity (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft), The Last of Us: Remastered (Naughty Dog/Sony), Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games/Microsoft), Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega), Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch Productions/Sony)

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review

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Monolith Productions are the American studio behind the terrifying F.E.A.R and Condemned series and are the masterminds behind Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The Lord of the Rings universe has huge potential for a truly incredible game because of the fantastic lore that Tolkien has created, dozens of titles have attempted to fill that void but failed over and over again, until now.

Shadow of Mordor takes place between The Hobbit and Lord of the Ring trilogies, you play as Tailon, a Gondor ranger set with the task of guarding the Black Gate. Within the first 60 seconds of the game, this poor chap has his entire family brutally sacrificed in front of him and then being killed himself. This then leads to an Elf Lord spirit being summoned, bringing Tailon back from death’s grasp and the pair go on an epic journey across Mordor, slaughtering everything in their way until they get their revenge on the Black Hand.

That’s about the story in a nutshell, not the most eventful and it’s not helped by the fact that Tailon is a fairly dull character. His facial expression barely seems to change between confusion and boredom, no matter what is happening in front of him. Thankfully, the quests that Tailon sets out on keeps the main story missions interesting, usually involving the player stalking an enemy, following a trail or defending a certain object/person in a variety of different locations across the map.  You’ll stumble across characters that you love from the main books and movies such as Golem, who is possibly one of the creepiest characters I’ve ever witnessed in a video game.

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The stand out feature in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is the truly incredibly Nemesis enemy system. It’s hands down one of the best features to be introduced into a video game for a long time and it creates endless opportunities. The Nemesis system is an active, constant roster of enemies that refreshes and changes as you play the game. Shadow of Mordor revolves around Orc’s battling their way up the chain of command, eliminating higher ups and defending their positions as the top dogs in Sauron’s army, they could start out as a grunt patrolling a guard tower but could make their way up the chain by killing Tailon, becoming a captain and eventually a War chief if they survive long enough.

The player will constantly stumble across these enemies who have a variety of different weaknesses and strengths which the player can choose to take advantage of by carefully watching the area and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. They could be immune to stealthy takedowns but terrified of Caragors, so the easiest choice would be to tame one of these wild beasts and eat the Orc alive. This is just one of hundreds of different combinations that the enemy could have. Every time you battle one of these beasts, you’ll have the chance to use your Elf-wraith powers to interrogate them, learning intel about other commanders weaknesses and strengths which is always helpful.

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Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis system makes the game feel alive and completely unique every time you jump on to play, simply hitting Y to advance time after opening the menu could potentially completely change the battlefield as you know it. A lonely Orc could suddenly dominate the chain of command, brutally executing everyone above him or you could even manipulate the system and brand (control) a basic captain, help him become one of the most powerful creatures in the land by killing his superiors and then turning him against the rest from the inside, the possibilities are endless. I just can’t stop toying with the system and seeing what is capable next. You can’t help but feel slightly cruel at times but hey, they killed my family and deserve everything they have coming to them.

Developer Monolith Productions have created some extremely impressive visual games in the past and Shadow of Mordor certainly doesn’t disappoint in that area. The world is beautifully detailed from the tallest towers to the deepest, darkest Ghaul-filled caved, you’ll struggle to not be impressed. After a notable amount of time with this game, it’s still satisfying just watching the world go by, animals bouncing through fields while the Black Gate towers above in the background. It’s worth pointing out that there are a few frame rate hiccups here and there, especially when you’re battling dozens of enemies inside major strongholds, which is something you’ll want to avoid anyway.

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The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies are well known for their stunning soundtracks and it’s continuing in video game form. The music is just brilliant from start to finish, it fits every moment exactly how you’d imagine it happening in the films and when the war chiefs enter the battle? Horrifying. The music alone manages to show the power of the enemies you’re about to battle or what you’re going to run into just around the corner.

Combat in Shadow of Mordor will be extremely familiar to players who’ve sunk time into the Batman Arkham series. It’s almost a like-for-like copy but that’s not exactly a bad thing, as it’s about as good as combat in video games is going to get. The player simple uses X, Y and A to attack, counter and dodge enemy blows but becomes increasingly more complicated the more skills that you unlock. Eventually, even the most powerful war chiefs will be a breeze, it’s just a matter of trying to remember the different button combinations and hitting the dodge or counter buttons once the button appears above the enemies heads.

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The combat is pretty much spot on but the free running and general movement around Mordor can be painfully frustrating at times when it comes to exploring the world. Similar to the Assassin’s Creed games, you hold the right trigger to ‘activate’ the free running, then using A and B to jump and drop. It works quite well when jumping around rooftops but when it comes to navigating small areas, you’ll find yourself running into walls or just getting stuck in awkward rock placements in the middle of combat and leading to a certain death.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do in Mordor, the main story will keep you entertained for a good 10 hours at least and there are dozens of other events, missions and collectables. The player could participate in hunting for wildlife or collecting herbs, freeing slaves from the gruesome Orcs, attempt to battle waves of enemies with your bow and sword or even track down the 100 or so collectables scattered across the region. There’s plenty to keep you entertained for a good 20-30 hours, ignoring all the fun you can have with the Nemesis system.

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All of these tasks above earn two types of experience; either ‘power’ from defeating powerful Orcs in the Nemesis system which eventually unlock higher tiers of abilities or experience from finishing missions and events which earn the player skill points when you level up, which can then be spent on some truly badass abilities which help Tailon go on some monumental killing sprees. The best part about this system is just how powerful Tailon becomes when you’re reaching the later stages of the game, everything has a use and worth unlocking.

As of right now, Shadow of Mordor is without a doubt the best Lord of the Rings title to date and easily my Game of the Year so far, it’ll take something truly special to take its place. It’s a damn enjoyable experience from beginning to end and tonnes of things to keep the player entertained for dozens of hours. Hell, even after collecting everything and finishing the main story, manipulating the Nemesis system is a game on its own. All that is missing is a slight bit of polish around the edges, I can’t wait to see what happens with this series in the future.

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Behind the scenes of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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Watch the first Behind the Scenes interview for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, revealing panelists Troy Baker, who stars as Talion (The Last of Us, Batman: Arkham Origins) and Christian Cantamessa, lead writer (Red Dead Redemption), discussing their experiences creating the game. Look closely for the first glimpse of a beloved Middle-earth character, and a few new faces.

Shadow of Mordor Gameplay Trailer

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During E3 this year Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions released an all-new trailer; Shadow of Mordor Gameplay – Nemesis System Power Struggles. The trailer showcases the depth of the Nemesis System and shows how the stats, appearance and personality of each nemesis are different for every player. No one else will have an exact same Uruk, as the game generates unique, dynamically created enemies.

http://youtu.be/gQnmM_w3Oag

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is currently available for pre-order at www.shadowofmordor.com and will be on sale worldwide on 7th October, 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and other systems.

 

Shadow of Mordor: New Gameplay Video Focuses on Weapons

In this video, learn more about the runes system and weapons upgrades in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

‘Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’ delivers a dynamic game environment where the player orchestrates their personal plan of vengeance as they bend Mordor to their will. The game begins on the night of Sauron’s return to Mordor, as his Black Captains brutally execute the Rangers of the Black Gate. 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. As Talion’s personal vendetta unfolds, players uncover the mystery of the Spirit that compels him, discover the origin of the Rings of Power and confront the ultimate nemesis.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor releases October 7th for Xbox One and Xbox 360