I’ve played Shadows of Mordor for an hour and a half on my XBox One and so far it has not appealed to me. I would love to be convinced otherwise. I love Middle Earth. I love Tolkien. I dislike this game. Why?
Reason #1: This is a really dark game. I shouldn’t be surprised because the title makes it clear, but Mordor is not a setting that I enjoy. There is no sun. There are orcs and goblins all over the place. There are humans who are bound in slavery. I would much rather be sitting on a bench in the shire with pipeweed in my bowl.
Reason #2: This is a really hard game. I don’t feel like there is a learning curve. The only games I can think to compare it to are Demon Souls and Dark Souls – but those games were at least rewarding in their own way. In Shadows of Mordor, I find myself failing again and again, but I’m not learning anything from it.
Reason #3: I don’t enjoy the controls. Maybe I have played too much of the Assassin’s Creed series but I keep holding down the right trigger to run and climb. In Mordor, it makes me sneak slowly. The A button is the run button. I am still getting used to the combat but it is just not enjoyable to me. I have been told the combat is similar to the Batman games – but I never played any of those.
Reason #4: Stealth. I am on one of the first missions and I have to be stealthy. If I alert the guards they raise the alarm and the mission is over. I don’t even really know how to do a stealth kill move. I think it is right trigger – X.
Reason #5: I’m not sure how this really fits into the Tolkien worldview. The Lord of the Rings trilogy always has a glimmer of hope, “That there is good in the world and it’s worth fighting for.” In this game, I’m some guy who is a ranger. His name is not memorable. He is somewhere between life and death (since Tolkien was Catholic this part may actually fit in as a kind of purgatory) and revenge seems to be his motive so far.
So please. All of you out there who may love this game. Help me find something to love in it. I want to like it because…Tolkien….