Rants about Wargames, Photography and whatever else strikes my fancy

Monday, August 31, 2015

Being a vengeful revenant has its perks

A few days ago I jumped at the chance to acquire Shadow of Mordor. The game is mechanically similar to the Assassins Creed series and the Batman Arkham series. But the setting is obviously very different.
You play as Talion, a Gondorian ranger. Quite early in the game, in fact during the tutorial, your wife, son and yourself get murdered as Sauron's forces overrun the citadel you are stationed at. (Minas Anor?) However, since it is Sauron's Black Hand that kills you in some kind of ritual, you don't stay dead.
You come back, as a wraith. And you bring back a buddy, an Elf Lord, who is just as undead as you are. And also even more vengeful. And a bit of an amnesiac. From what I pieced together he seems to have fallen in battle during the time when the last alliance fought Sauron.
Now both of you are united in the quest to bring down the Black Hand.

You do this by eliminating the Captains and war chiefs of Sauron's army one after another. This is the highlight of the game. Captains are randomly generated with different strengths and weaknesses. They grow in power and fight each other. Orcs and Uruks who manage to kill you get promoted.
But since you don't exactly stay dead, this is a mixed blessing for the orcs as you will come after them.
For example the first orc that killed me and became known as Puk Eye-Gouger. He became quite powerful as I died twice to him, before I put an arrow through his eye. But the bastard survived that. So I used the help of the Elf Lord to gain insight in his weaknesses. Read that as "forcefully tore it from the mind of one of his underlings". I found out he was scared of Caragors, those Warg thingies.

I rode a Caragor right into his fortress, tore apart his guard and chopped his head off while he was screaming in terror.

Yeah, the Nemesis system is fun!

Another great thing is the free flow combat system. Each attack you land increases a counter, set number allow you to land special moves, such as an instant kill or knock everyone back. Any hit you take resets the counter. If an enemy attacks, you have to block. Certain enemies like berserkers can't be blocked and must be dodged, shieldbeares have to be attacked from behind etc. And everything has to be done with, as best as I can describe it, a rythm. Also, it looks freaking beautiful, as you slash, slice, dodge, block, weave and slaughter your way through masses of enemies.

There are also hundreds of things to collect, because Batman and the Assassins liked to hoard stuff, too. Guess you can't do games like this without this.

I'm just wondering, don't all wraiths fall under the spell of the Dark Lord?

A wraith for barely four hours and already loving it!

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