J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy masterpiece has seen it’s fair share of adaptations, to varying degrees of accuracy and success. The most famous of which is obviously the New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson Collaboration The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and the still in-progress Hobbit Trilogy. However, when it comes to video game adaptations, the quality has rarely been equal to that of the films. The best games in the franchise have been widely regarded as the movie tie-in games The Two Towers and Return of the King, though some games like Lord of the Rings Online and Battle for Middle Earth have also been met with audience approval.
More often, however, are the games like The Third Age and War in the North, which were announced with much promise that failed to be delivered upon when the games finally saw their release. And so it is with a small grain of salt I say that the next game (losely) based on the Middle Earth saga looks to be one of the best adaptations yet, though the possibility still remains of unfulfilled promises and lost potential.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor isn’t based on any Tolkien story, rather it puts players into the role of Talion, a ranger who is also embodied by a wraith, a spirit of the dead, who imbues Talion with many otherworldly powers. However, the most exciting prospect of Shadow of Mordor is in the highly touted new Nemesis system, which developer Monolith Productions (F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2) claims will allow every enemy in the world to be unique, rather than “canned” like in other titles. The system takes the experience that an enemy has with Talion and twists their character to create a more powerful creature bent on revenge. Any enemy left alive by Talion reportedly has the potential to become a nemesis to the warrior, the ways they are attacked and left behind become part of that foe’s character, and are referenced when you meet them later in the game. This allows for every gameplay experience to be entirely unique for each player, every time they want to play through the game.
Footage has surfaced today, an 8 minute demonstration of the games combat mechanics and focusing solely on the Nemesis system. Check it out below for a look at the action, which has a lot of promise. The maneuverability and stealth actions of Talion are nearly frame-for-frame copies of Ubisoft’s mega-popular Assassin’s Creed series, and the combat seems to be close to that of the Batman: Arkham series, and those two elements combined have the potential to make a very entertaining game.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor does haven’t a release date yet, but is slated to be released for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4 at some point in 2014. Keep it tuned to Free4Geeks.com for all future details on the game.