On August 20th, as part of IGN Live, the developers showcased an hour of Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor gameplay. It was a very impressive cut of the final game (released September 30th), and it was very refreshing to see that the promises Monolith made were true. Here are Twinstick Gaming’s 5 favourite things we learnt:
1. Wraith abilities
We already knew that Cerebrimbor’s ghostly inhabitance of Talion gave him amazing powers, making him faster, stronger and overall more deadly. What we saw over that hour was the true extent of how truly powerful these skills make you. From sprinting across fields at break neck speed, to warping across vast distances using your bow to target. The concern that being a one man army was that you would be easily overwhelmed, and it seems that this was intended. When storming into a Warchief’s fortress, we can clearly see that Talion is vastly outnumbered. Unleashing your Wraith powers is the only way to survive, and using a new shockwave like ability makes the situation much less bleak.
Alongside the criticism of looking similar to Assassin’s Creed (mostly the climbing) was the fear that the combat would become a simple case of parry killing every enemy until you’re done. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in Middle Earth. After being swarmed by the Orc masses, the player controlling Talion often took a battering. This is especially prevalent when considering that the livestream was severely reduced in difficulty in order to showcase game mechanics instead of frustrating deaths.
3. Nemesis System
One of the games most impressive features is the introduction of the Nemesis System. In short, this system allows a completely unique social system that governs the Orc hordes that you will inevitably face. A glorious example of this is shown in the first few minutes of the livestream, where the player directly allows himself to be killed by a completely random Orc. This unnamed Orc then is promoted because he has slain the infamous Ranger, and is introduced into the Nemesis System. With enough planning and luck, you can introduce an Orc into the bottom of the ladder and kill off his rivals in order to elevate him to Warchief status. Not only that, but each enemy you face will explicitely remember their previous encounters with you. If you badly wounded him in his last battle with you, he will remember that and will prepare accordingly for your next encounter. It was very impressive to see that they visually change as a result of your previous encounters, for example one enemy was burnt in battle, escaped and returned a few missions later with a horrendous burn to half his face.
4. Rune System
One game mechanic that hasn’t had much light shed on it (until now) is the Rune system. Previously only hinted at via pre-order game bonuses, the Rune System is a way of upgrading your weapons (sword, dagger and bow) with magical abilities that either buff Talion or cripple foes. Runes have been revealed to unlock via eliminating Orc Captains. If you kill an enemy Captain via a method they are weak against, for example sneak attacks, then they will drop a Rune for you to use. As you progress through the game you will find bigger and better runes, with the game devs hinting that you can even find Epic Runes that are totally unique to any other out there and will imbue Talion with deadly powers.
Shadow Of Mordor is being released on all systems (excluding the Wii U), so plenty of people were concerned with how the game would stand up to strictly current gen (PS4, Xbox One) games. The stream set these concerns aside, as it is downright stunning. No footage has yet been revealed of how it looks on PS3 and Xbox 360, but if its current-gen versions are anything to go by then they’ll still be quite the sight. Running around Mordor is almost breathtaking, and up close is even more impressive. Considering we will be mowing down hundreds (maybe thousands) of Orcs, each one looks finely detailed. You can see every scar, sweat drop and everything in between. The developers have certainly outdone themselves with Shadow Of Mordor, and with it being released on PC as well no doubt it will look even more impressive.
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