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A Dead Ringer: Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

Clang!

Huh? If there’s one thing I didn’t expect the next big Lord of the Rings game to resemble, it was Assassin’s Creed. But that’s all I could think about when watching this footage of Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (well that, Bacon Pancakes, and this otter). It’s an open-world action RPG, and when Wraith-possessed (sigh) Ranger Talion sauntered up a wall and rope-walked over a courtyard, it was right out of Ezio’s* skillset. When he then used his Wraith powers (sigh-sigh) to scan the crowd, they might as well have added an eagle screech and a wink. Not that it didn’t look like fun, and there’s some stuff in here about a nemesis systems that you should look at, but the inspiration is incredibly obvious.
I will give them props for the nemesis system, at least in theory. It appears to track interactions between you and enemies, creating bespoke super-villians in your world who will remember you and react according to your previous meetings. That’s going to require a lot of recorded lines and animation just hanging around if they’re going to implement in the way shown here, with little cut-scenes playing out before you get involved, and the enemies fighting or fleeing. The most interesting bit in the footage for me is when Talion enters the mind of a henchman and you can see all the possible people you can use him to influence, and all the ways he can do so, which is kind of neat. Your choice will set-up the mission.

I actually quite enjoyed what I watched, even if it needs to be more comfortable doing its own thing, and I totally forgot it was set in Middle-Earth.

*I always think of Ezio as Mister Assassin’s Creed.

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Craig Pearson

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