Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a third-person action role-playing video game developed by Monolith Productions and published by Warner Bros. Games which takes place in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium. The game was released on September 30 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 18. A sequel was released in 2017.
The game is set to fill the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It is a story of revenge, slaughter, and mystery set entirely in Mordor, the Land of Shadows. At its center is Talion, an ordinary man who loses everything, including his mortal life. Possessed by an immensely powerful wraith, Talion becomes a revenant, rising from the grave to avenge the murder of his family. Meanwhile, the wraith inside him, Celebrimbor, struggles to remember his forgotten past, which will allow him to increase in power.
The game is set in a fully open world, and features various role-playing game elements such as experience points and skills. As you progress in the game, Talion will grow stronger, but so will his enemies.
Talion has various unique Wraith abilities which give him an edge on the battlefield. By stepping into the wraith world Talion can slow down time, teleport over distances and see targets from afar. These wraith abilities can all be leveled up separately, and the player can also unlock more powerful abilities.
There are various ways the player can complete their main objective. For instance, if the player has to kill a high ranking Uruk, he can choose to first focus on his lower ranking footmen, either killing them or turning them into sleeper agents using the domination ability. These agents will then attempt to eliminate their former leader, which may not always be successful. Aside from the main storyline, there are various side quests and random events the player can complete within Mordor.
These quests can be completed in various ways. The player can choose to engage in regular melee combat, or instead stealthily move through the shadows, or perhaps use a bow to take out his targets from a distance. Every different play style will give the player different runes, which allows them to either upgrade their Ranger abilities through the Ranger skill tree, or their Wraith abilities through the Wraith skill tree.
When the player dies he will eventually respawn, however, time in the world will pass, and as such the game will change after dying. The enemy who killed you may have achieved a higher rank for killing you, or he may have perished himself.
According to studio head at Monolith Kevin Stephens, the game will run at 1080p on the PS4.
The melee system is inspired by that of the Batman Arkham series. Getting into a good fighting rhythm, using both regular attacks and counter-attacks will improve the player's combo multiplier.
Weapons in Talion's arsenal can be upgraded using runes, making them more effective. Adding runes to weapons gives them unique bonuses such as health regeneration upon killing enemies. These runes can be obtained by killing enemy captains.
A unique feature of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is the Nemesis system. Every enemy players' face is a unique individual, differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses. These enemies are shaped by their encounters with the player to create personal arch-enemies who are unique to every gameplay session. Players must out think each distinctively different enemy they encounter to infiltrate the ranks and dominate within the dynamic world that remembers and adapts to their actions and choices.
Every enemy in the game has their own name, rank, and memory. These enemies will continue to do their own jobs and tasks even when they're off screen; the game progresses in real time even if you do not interfere, and as such an enemy you meet in one gameplay session may suddenly have achieved a higher rank the next time you meet him.
If the player does not kill an enemy in an encounter, this enemy will remember the player and change their tactics and conversations based on the encounter. The enemy will also grow more powerful and learn new immunities. Killing them will also net the player more experience points.
In August 2013, an artist working at Monolith Productions leaked Monolith was working on a new triple A-title. On Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 18:00 UTC the game was announced with the reveal of the official website, official Wikia community and GameInformer coverage.
Monolith is working with Middle-earth Enterprises, Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop to ensure that the story of the game, as well as the setting and characters align with the canon of The lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
The game will be running on Monolith's proprietary engine LithTech.
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