The First Few Hours: Shadow of Mordor

This is all true:  tomorrow morning we’re getting the heck outta Dodge for a few days, but my brain is already there.  I’m unplugging from the internet, Twitter, social media, gaming, Clicker Heroes, and just thinking about it is making me impatient.  I’m even debating keeping my phone in airplane mode (even though we’re driving).  The only technology I’m considering packing is my Kindle and maybe my iPad (and the latter is mostly for the kid’s sake).

I’m gonna try to write about Shadow of Mordor anyway.

The title of this post is misleading, I should say right off the bat – I’m probably only an hour into it at most.  Per the advice of reviews/Twitfriends, I’m sticking to the main story and maintaining a stealthy approach, so I’ve only done the first 3 missions and nothing on the side.  I’m glad I took that advice, because the game doesn’t really present itself as necessitating a stealth-first approach (regardless of the tutorial where you press [] to kiss your wife ).



If anything, the game’s first impression immediately brings both Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkham games to mind, where you want to dive into a group of orcs and lay waste (all while carefully pressing the counter button when prompted).  Doing so in the early going promptly gets you killed, though, and getting killed makes the orc who killed you more powerful, and at this point we’ve all heard about the Nemesis system.  I very quickly stopped jumping into the fray and started switching up my tactics, and the game is pleasant enough at handling that sort of recon/stealth action, and so once I realized how I was supposed to play it, I started relaxing a bit.

There’s a lot to focus on in the early going.  There’s the nemesis system; there’s the main story but also side quests; there’s hidden artifacts (which you have to be in elf-form to discover, which took me a while to figure out); there’s orcs you can brand to gain intel (I accidentally stealth killed one of them by mistake… oops); there’s a weapon upgrade system (which involves runes you only get from killing enemies) and an ability upgrade system; there’s also flower picking (?!) and various environmental quests that go along with the flower picking (!?); and by a certain point I was feeling overwhelmed with all the stuff I had to learn, all on top of each other.  It’s the sort of situation where I know I’ll understand all this stuff in a few more hours of playtime, when the tutorials slow down, but it feels rather hasty and almost clumsy in the early going.

That being said, I’m grateful for a number of things that I’d forgotten I’d missed after spending so many hours with Destiny:

  • the ability to pause at any given moment
  • the ability to keep playing if my internet (or if PSN) goes down

I’m looking forward to getting back to it; I just hope I haven’t forgotten everything by the time I get back online.



Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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