Monolith's Highly-Anticipated "Shadow of Mordor" Released
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is another highly-anticipated next-gen game scheduled for release tomorrow (Sept 30). The game was developed by Monolith Productions (F.E.A.R series) and distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment and will be released on all major console systems and PC. Shadow of Mordor's story is heavily derivative of Tolkien's novels and Peter Jackson's films; however, it provides a unique story line falling some where between the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Below is the newly released tutorial that gives you a thorough overview of the game's characters, weapons, and creatures.
In Shadow of Modor, you play as a ranger named Talion. While your ultimate goal will be to make Talion the most heroic figure Middle-Earth has ever seen, your character's beginnings are much more humble. That's because you begin your quest by watching Talion die, along with his wife and family at the hands of Sauron's henchmen. Luckily, you're brought back from death's door by a wraith-like elvin figure known as Celebrimbor who comes to possess Talion, helping him along the way. To exact revenge on Sauron, you must fight along with your new ghostly host to defeat Orc armies, chieftains, and eventually defeating Sauron. Game play allows you to switch from one character to the other as the situation dictates.
Also, you can use Celebrimbor's powers both for destructive and psychological purposes. One particularly interesting aspect of SOM's game play is Talion's ability to possess other characters and monsters. For example, you have the power to possess Orc leaders, turning them against one another and creating havoc and dissension for your own benefit. If successful, you can even lead your own Orc army.
Shadow of Mordor's visuals provide finely detailed renderings of Middle-earth's various settings, from its brightly lit open fields to its dark and enclosed dungeons. The character modeling is impressive in its texture and form, giving a cinematic realism to the characters. One can sometimes get lost within Middle-earth's incredible diversity of characters, especially Orcs, which tend to blend together. However, the game's dev's seem to have included enough personality and visual difference among the characters to make it easy to tell one from the other. Helping create realism, is Monolith's new AI system called "Nemesis" that works along side the game's story to change enemy reactions based upon Talion's previous interactions with them.
Overall, the game looks like it will be a fairly successful title for both Monolith and Warner Bros. given the success of the book and film series. To be sure, there are plenty of Orc be-headings and gore to sate even the most blood-thirsty gamers among us. But it's Shadow of Mordor's unique story line, realistic AI interactions, and beautiful art direction that seem to be its biggest offerings.