Shadow of Mordor:

28 Dec

shadow of mordor orc

Released: September 2014

Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360

Age Certificate: 15+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. The ability to regularly save and autosave and the ability to pause are brought into question. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Shadow of Mordor performs pretty well on the girlfriend test. I wasn’t a massive fan of the voice acting (seriously, how posh and well-spoken were the slaves?) so I could cope with resorting to subtitle mode. On screen prompts flash up if an Uruk is about to brain you from behind, so you don’t require surround sound, or any sound really to play the game well. The game lets you pause whenever you want, so you can stop and help your girlfriend make dinner at any point!

The ability to save can sometimes be a minor issue, as you don’t have full control over this. The game only lets you autosave, so there in no ability to save and redo things without dying. Having said that, dying is actually a main feature of the game and it is required for the achievements/trophies; your death causes Uruk captains to level up as part of the nemsis system, and dying can be advantageous. I sometimes found it hard to trigger an autosave during a captain fight, and they could sometimes go on for a bit which made it hard to pull away from the game.

Score: 9/10

Girlfriend: “The taxis here, are you ready?”

*Generic decapitation sound effects*

Me: “Yup”

You can basically turn off whenever you want knowing it has saved pretty recently, and playing this game with dance music in the background doesn’t take much away from the experience – unless it a Gollum scene.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test:

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

This game looks pretty badass at a glance. By the time you finish the game you must have made about one kill per minute. There is not an option for same console multiplayer, but that’s not a problem really, as that would be really annoying. I remember how much fun it was in 2 player on the old PS2 LOTR games, but I am not too sad about that as this game is so much better.

If you are nice enough to let your mate have a go, they will probably fare well as the controls are pretty simple. The problem is that you probably wont want them to play at all as you wont want to risk them messing up your Uruk social scene, and the freeplay mode just feels a little… empty. This is one of those games that your mates watch you play, for about half an hour.

Score: 5/10

Mate: “What button is dodge?”

*Blarg the destroyer arrives*

Mate: “Why does he hit me every time I hit him?”

*Blarg embeds a throwing axe in Talion’s chest.*

*Blarg levels up and becomes immune to everything except fire.*

*Blarg become your mission objective.*

Mate: “Lol

Looks cool, and it is fun to rampage around on while mates watch, but there is a large chance playing with mates will wreck your game!

Real life review Parent TestParent test:

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

It’s a 15, but I think it’s a pretty soft 15+. For some reason I think it’s fine when an Uruk swears, as it suits them, like a bad uncle. There are no sexual scenes – although there is a bit of sexual tension near the end, and I swear I even saw a ladies ankle *gasp*. If parents walk in your room the worse thing they will see is a decapitation, which is fine, because it’s an Uruk and not a human… They are most likely to hear an Uruk say “those globs”… appalling language.

Score: 7/10

Parent: “Did you just behead that man?!”

Me: “It’s an orc.”

Parent: “Oh, that’s OK then”.

Don’t play it in the front room with your Granny, but otherwise you’re fine.

Real life review inner rageThe Inner Rage Test:

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

I found this game easy – when in doubt, dodge and shoot arrows. Dodge, dodge, dodge. I died once from a Carragor within the first 2 minutes, and then a second time from a 5 captain zurg rush. 5! I got smashed by a Graug and the Black Hand when I pressed Xbox X instead of Playstation X. Then that was it. I felt like a wraith lord. Part of me regrets the lack of death as it adds depth to the game. Oh well.

The game is very easy overall, you can stealth attack orcs very easily as they have no peripheral vision whatsoever, and can’t see you if you crouch, even if you are framed in a window right in front of them… you crouch, you are OK. So the ease annoyed me. As did the inconsistencies in climbing. Some sections of walls resisted you at all costs for no apparent reason. Other things which annoyed me included mighty Graugs which disappeared randomly while walking or fighting me, well spoken slaves and the boringness of the main character. I did not give a poop about his family who I saw for about 5 seconds at the start, or their loading screen bitching about how shit Mordor is.

The ease also made it very satisfying in a way, and the trophies were nice and simple to attain. Nothing really brought out any rage at any point. It was just a bit boring.

Score: 7/10

I attained no rage due to the difficulty. I also did not feel very satisfied due to the difficulty.

real life review overallOverall:

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Beautiful graphics, especially up close. The weather effects were top class and I felt like I was playing two areas of ultra HD World of Warcraft. Fighting was fun and fluid, most of the time, like the best bit of Assassins Creed and Batman. The variability in orc/Uruk design (of captains) was amazing and would have me playing again and again if i was 12 years old. I learnt a lot about the Middle Earth, which was great.

Immersion was broken by the presence of identical male slaves (why no women) and the presence of Carragor cages, fires and fly nests EVERYWHERE makes you realise you are definitely in a game. Too easy for me and I didn’t like the main character. The lore was great but i didn’t really dig the story and I guess that good stories in games are too important for me.

Score: 7/10

The lore, graphics and gameplay was great but I didn’t really dig the story and I guess that good stories in games are too important for me.


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