Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor grabs the current zeitgeist like only licensed games can, cobbling together a third-person action game from bits of Batman: Arkham Asylum, bits of Assassin’s Creed, bits of Michael Bay-derived editing and sound effects. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. I like some of those things! I also like punching orcs. This could be a pleasant game, and the new cutscenes-and-combat trailer (mostly cutscenes) below introduces i) some new villains ii) your motivation as the player (not-spoilers: your family are killed).
The new enemy are the Black Captains, servants of Sauron who seems intent on turning this poor main character into some sort of videogame protagonist, freed from responsibility but hellbent on revenge.
As per any ambitious licensed game, Middle Earth comes with a few back-of-the-box features to call its own. Things like the “Nemesis System”, where enemies you fight but let live may return later with the scars you gave them, along with some mates, to duff you up proper for what you said about their mums, etc. Will this affect the slashings and slappings of the game’s combat much? Probably not, but at least they’re making an effort.
If this post seems conflicted, it’s because that’s what my feelings are. Derision towards derivative-looking experience is easy – too easy – but dressing up a thing I know and like in new clothing is sometimes enough. To that end, I’ll reserve judgement till it’s out, which should be on October 2nd.