“Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” Trailer Reveal

Pretty cool, eh?

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a multi-platform, open-world action-adventure video game set in the beloved realm of Middle-earth, better known as the land of Hobbits and other creatures in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It’s set to release on October 7, 2014 to every single currently active gaming system, but beware PS3 and XBOX 360 owners: features may or may not be limited for you.

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You play as Talion, an Aragorn look-alike ranger whose entire family gets slaughtered, Gladiator-style, after the events of The Hobbit but well before the Rings. Somehow, Sauron’s forces put a “curse” on you: you then are unable to die and get super-awesome dark powers. Silly Nazgul! What kind of curse is that? As you develop your abilities in search of vengeance, you’ll uncover the truth about the dark forces stirring in Mordor and gain a greater understanding of the power in the Rings in a world on the brink of war.

In addition to looking pretty darn cool in the trailer, albeit somewhat derivative, the game will use a Nemesis System, which basically means that if any of your named enemies survive an encounter with you, they will then go on through the game and influence events in the world. You might remember that Mass Effect employed a similar tactic that more often than not just meant any NPC’s that survived could be found standing somewhere later in the game just aching for some conversation. The idea sounds ambitious, but I’m skeptical of how extensive it will be in execution. That being said, I’m still interested to see how it plays out.

Furthermore, it looks like you can proceed down skill trees to customize your battle experience, seemingly not unlike something akin to the Fable franchise. But you can invest in your stealthy Ranger skills or in your magical Wraith skills, settling on some balanced combination of the two. The game will also obviously feature ranged bow combat as well as swordplay. Combat doesn’t seem altogether too different from some previous LOTR games, and strongly reminds me of the PS2 Prince of Persia game, with shadow powers replacing time travel.

Shadow of Mordor is developed by Monolith Productions, the folks behind the recent Guardians of Middle-earth, which was a multiplayer online battle arena sort of venture with Lord of the Rings characters. Monolith is also better known for their work on the F.E.A.R franchise, which is a decent first-person shooter with severe horror leanings. Other than that, they’ve worked on nothing but B-rate downloadable games. This is perhaps my greatest worry about Shadow of Mordor‘s potential, but it eases my worries to know that at the very least, Peter Jackson was on board as a story consultant to make sure that the game fits within the greater Lord of the Rings canon.

Will you be checking this game out in October? Let us know your reactions in the comments!

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