Since Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was first announced, the developers at Monolith made it clear that the game wouldn’t be the typical brand of J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy. With a darker, more violent tone and story, players wouldn’t be out to save the world and its people – they’d be out for good old-fashioned revenge. The game’s hero Talion isn’t alone in that quest, and the newest trailer offers more details on the powers made possible by The Wraith with whom he now shares his physical form.
For a while, the story of Shadow of Mordor was kept to a minimum: players would step into the role of Talion, a Ranger tasked with guarding the Black Gate of Mordor on the night that Sauron’s forces returned. With his family slaughtered alongside him, Talion returned to life, fused with a strange spirit and unable to die until he sought revenge on those responsible.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2014, Monolith finally revealed the game’s larger connection to the Lord of the Rings fiction: the mysterious Wraith bonded to Talion’s soul was actually the spirit of Celebrimbor, the great Elven smith who forged the Rings of Power for Sauron (the ones he would use to corrupt the leaders of Men, among others). After he endured the same fate as Talion (along with his family), the two have joined forces to seek vengeance.
The new trailer shows that Celebrimbor’s abilities (sharing much in common with the rings he forged) can be used in a variety of ways in picking off Sauron’s Black Captains one by one. Whether using your enemies’ weaknesses against them, or simply going for a frontal assault, the trailer claims that the open-ended gameplay offers infinite replayability.
It’s hard to say just how many playthroughs are possible before content starts becoming repetitive, but in our brief time with the game at E3 2014, it was immediately clear that even the best laid plans were likely to be complete disasters. In the best way possible. If the half of the main character that makes it possible to turn enemies to your cause is given an intriguing story, all the better.
Are you Tolkien fans more interested in Shadow of Mordor knowing that the story is tied far more directly to the original novels? Or are you concerned that knowing the result of the heroes’ quest will lessen the impact? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments, whether concerned with the game’s story, or its gameplay.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor releases September 30, 2014 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The PC release will follow on October 2.
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