GVN Review: Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PS4)

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Playstation 4
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Monolith Productions
Release Date: September 30th, 2014

"My Precious!"  Being a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings franchise and being a huge fan I even have my wedding band as the most powerful ring that Sauron wore but in black instead of gold, I had to play Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.  I know the game has been out since September but I finally got my hands on a copy about a week and a half ago and when I say I was hooked, I mean sitting in front of my TV for about 4 hours at a time playing through the story.  The Lord of the Rings franchise has done so well since the books were written years ago and they still appeal to many people young and old.  I have played numerous Lord of the Rings inspired games and I must say that Shadow of Mordor blew me away with many aspects of its game.

We will start with the graphics because from the instant your game loads you see the amazing power that the PS4 has in showing a realistic looking and amazingly detailed graphic game.  From the landscape, that looks so realistic that it is awe-inspiring, to the character design that is spot on for realism, including Gollum who looks exactly the same as he did in the movie franchise.  While enjoying the game, I would spend some time just looking around the land to see the detail that was put into the mountains and structures.  I just couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Even my wife thought I was watching a show on my TV and when I told her it was a video game she couldn't believe it.  The amount of time that was spent on creating a visually pleasing game, and still making it fun and addictive, shows that both Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions knew what they were doing right from the start.  The design let you enjoy a game that was fun to watch and even better to experience the story.

From the beginning of the game when you fight for your son and wife to live you can see a bit of where they are taking the story.  The land where you are traveling is an open world and can go wherever you want whenever you want and it has many side quests that add more depth to the story.  You aren't required to do every side quest, but just know that it will add more information to the main quest story and something that I loved about the main quests was that you were required to do some of the side quests in order to progress forward with the story.  The game is not linear which I loved.  Yes the story quest goes from point A to point B and so on and so forth but you do have to do some extra things in order to unlock the continuation of the main point of the game.  I believe that the added quests helped make the game take longer to complete so that you get more bang for your buck and didn't pay X amount of money for a short game.  The game is not short by any means.  The story is so descriptive and fun to experience that you feel the sadness and happiness for the main character.  Even the side characters have stories that you will learn about and feel excited to see them develop along side the main character, Talion.  Celebrimbor is another characters story that you learn a lot about alongside Talion because Celebrimbor is with you the entire game guiding you on your journey.  Talion and Celebrimbor's stories are developed nicely throughout the entire game and are never boring.  Every single aspect of their story and journey will have you excited and searching to learn more.  That is something that sets this game apart from many other games I've played.  I didn't want to stop playing because I wanted to learn more and more about them and how they got to be where they are now.  I want to provide more information but I don't want to put any spoilers in this review.  So for the story, I was hooked and it was like an addiction to keep playing the game.

The sound was also great throughout the game both from the sound effects that were used for actions and sequences all the way to the music that played throughout the entire game.  I have always found the Lord of the Rings music to be calming and exciting.  The sounds of Shadow of Mordor did not disappoint at all.  From the war music to the cut scene sounds, I would have to say that it was one of the top sounds and music in a game I have played in a couple years.  I can't stress enough how addicted I was playing this game.

All around I believe that everyone should play Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor not matter what console they play it on.  I prefer it on the PS4 because I like the controller better than the Xbox One controller but remember my review is from my play through on the PS4 and I am not sure how the game looks on Xbox One, 360, or PS3.  If you get a chance to play this game definitely do it.  You will not be disappointed.

+ Great Story that is in depth and enjoyable
+ Graphics that are stunning
+ Music that reminds you of what Lord of the Rings is all about
+ Captivating from start to finish

- A bit frustrating to complete side quests to advance story

Overall Grade - A


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