Middle Earth Shadow Of Mordor Review / Breakdown

So I recently Completed Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor because it’s on the games pass. The games Initial release date was the 30th of September 2014. Shadow of Mordor is an open world action-adventure game with an excellent free-flowing combat system.

So at the moment, the Xbox games pass is helping me catch up with the games I have missed out on over the years. So this is not the only game from the games pass I will be talking about on here. So without any more of my rambling, that’s get to it.

Shadow of Mordor Logo

Who Are The Publishers And Developers of Shadow Of Mordor?

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Is the video game division part of warner bros. A company that has been going over 96 years. If you haven’t heard of them where have you been?

Monolith Productions was founded in October 1994 by Brian Goble, Bryan Bouwman, Garrett Price, Paul Renault, Toby Gladwell, Brian Waite, and Jace Hall and is now a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and is known for games like The F.E.A.R series and The Matrix online.

Feral Interactive is a video games developer and publisher for macOS, Linux, and iOS platforms. It was founded in 1996 and is based in London, UK. And handles a lot more of the pc side of things developing and publishing ports of games like the Total war series, Batman: Arkham, Tomb Raider and Xcom: Enemy Unknown.

What Platforms Can I Play It On?

All major platform like PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems, macOS.

Genre(s) Action-adventure, hack and slash.

What Game Engine Does It Run On?

The game runs the LithTech game engine that was developed by Monolith Productions and has been the basis for several first-person shooter games.

The LithTech engine was made for Microsoft initially, and then Monolith then purchased the rights for themselves and then licensed it to other developers. After the release of Shadow of Mordor Monolith started working on a new type of game engine still based on the LithTech engine for more substantial scale battles and they named it: LithTech: Firebird.

Talion fallen Ranger

What’s The Story About?

You play as the Captain of Gondor, Talion, a former ranger stationed at the Black Gate Of Mordor and are set on a path of revenge after your wife and son are killed in front of you by Saurons Uruks. The game fits in the 60-year gap between the hobbit and the lord of the rings and full of Lord of the Rings lore and makes great use of Gollum. After dying at the hand of the Uruks, You are then merged with a wraith called Celebrimbor who was an elf before becoming a wraith and who ultimately assisted Sauron in forging the One Ring and are spared from death and given wraith powers to exact your revenge.

What’s The Gameplay Like?

The gameplay for Shadow of Mordor is excellent and responsive, and fighting feels amazing just like fighting in the Batman: Arkham games. You can choose to sneak around in the game, and take out enemy’s with stealthy precision or run in and take on the hordes of Uruks waiting for you. The good thing about combat in this game is your never locked into an animation, and every time you press the button to block an incoming attack, it says “No Problem.” and the gory decapitation and stabbing animations are great, and you can feel it.

The Nemesis System
The Nemesis System

The Nemesis system
Is by far the best enemy system I have seen in a game. When an Uruk or a captain kills you, they advance in rank and power and say different things to you depending on if they have killed you before it makes dying mean something and not just waiting for the checkpoint to reload so that you can try it again. The internal power struggle between all Uruks on all levels keeps things fresh but doesn’t happen in reel time but be careful not to die to the same Uruk to many times; otherwise, you will promote him to a high rank. He will then be much harder to defeat, and you will have to leave him alone until the end of the game when you are more powerful and take him out then, I’m speaking from experience.

But one downside of the game is that there is a lot of the same killing Uruk after Uruk and then just collecting stuff towards the end of the game it was a grind to keep playing so that I could complete it. The combat is hard at the beginning, and you feel really underpowered, and you can die quickly if you’re not paying attention to your health. After you unlock a few upgrades fights to start to swing more in your favour and make no mistake, the upgrades are needed and make it much more comfortable to get your sword out and defeat a few Uruks and not hide behind your bow with limited elf shot.

The ability to zip around the map after unlocking the lethal shadow strike ability was an excellent way to move around the world, and I think by far it was my favourite ability in the game. Being able to brand Uruks and get them to fight on your side was a cool mechanic in the game but was not always possible with lots of Uruks around you but trying to turn every one to your team was great fun.

Having the ability to drain the Uruks so that you can recharge your elf shot was a nice touch, and it turns any Uruks you see into a potential elf shot resource and after unlocking the ability to drain while you were in combat made it so much easier to take out enemies that were shooting you from afar.

Resources In The Game

Every time you level up, you get “Ability Points.” which is the game’s currency, and you can spend these points on unlocking upgrades for your character.

There are also herbs that you can pick up to heal you, but you can’t store them on your player for later. By picking up, all the herbs in the world you will also be completing the survival challenges.

Elf Shot is an ability in the game and gives you a limited number of arrows you can fire at the start, but by using the drain ability, it made me look at Uruks more as a resource than an enemy.

The drain ability


Once you have completed this game and done all the side missions. I don’t see a reason to come back and play the game again. In the beginning, it’s fun and at the end your super powerful but if enough Uruks get a couple of good shots in you will die just as quick as you do at the start of the game.

A Nice Little Feature

In this part, I pick out a feature that I liked. I think The Nemesis System was the star of this game and made the game feel more dynamic. Because without this I think the game would have been monotonous and mega repetitive more than it already is.

Difficulty Levels

There is no difficulty that you can set for yourself. I would say it is set to hard because the combat is a thing that punishes you for not being on top of your upgrades and using the right runes to get the best of the things you have and the poison is annoying until you unlock the ability resist poison attacks. Some characters are much harder to take down than others because they are resistant to all type of attacks so finding a way to kill them was a challenge at times but made me use my brain and give me that sweet feeling of accomplishment.

Equipment In the Game

There is not a vast amount of weapons for you to choose from in Shadow Of Mordor. You have your sword, a spirit bow and arrows and throwing daggers. That’s it. I didn’t feel like you needed more weapons because everyone you face is vulnerable one type of attack you are capable of but would have been nice to use something different later on in the game. As you progress in the story and level up, the new ability’s for these weapons unlock, but you don’t get any new weapons you can use the weapons you already have in different ways, work with what you got I guess.

There are a set of runes for each of the three weapons you possess and gives each weapon buffs and depending on the way you kill your nemeses will affect what type of rune that will be dropped. Explore the enemies weaknesses will result in a different rune drop so, for example, Kill an Uruk captain that has a weakness towards your ranged attacks you get a range related rune. You can also combine runes to make you more powerful.

Epic runes
These epic runes are remarkably powerful, and you get them from Uruk Warchiefs or Captains, but there is a list of things you need to do before they drop them, here we go:

  1. Talion must first dominate an Uruk
  2. Then force the Uruk to deliver a death threat to a captain
  3. kill the Captains bodyguards.
  4. kill the Captain, and there is a chance you will get an Epic Rune drop from him.

The way to get an Epic Rune drop from a Warchief

  1. Dominate an Uruk Captain
  2. Use Uruk Captain to send a death threat to Warchief
  3. kill Warchiefs bodyguards
  4. Kill Warcheif more of a chance of an Epic Rune drop

You are more likely to get an Epic Rune drop of a Warchief than a Captain and if the Warchief or Captain has killed you before it increases the chances as well.

There Are Certain Runes That you can only get by either:

  1. Pre-ordering the game.
  2. Completing DLC Orc Warband missions.
  3. Having a WBID account.
  4. buying the Steam Game of the Year edition

Enemy Types

In order of rank, you get the:

Normal Uruks: which are your regular foot soldiers and gets bossed around by the bigger Uruk captains.

Uruk Captains: Keeps the smaller Uruks inline and try’s to outdo other captains through recruitment, duels, feasts and hunts or full-on attacks on other captains to try and increase there rank and power over all the over captains and ultimately become a Warchief.

These are the most powerful unit in the Uruks army and typically have Uruk captain’s as the personal bodyguards once you defeat or brand and turn the warchiefs to your side and then use them to attack other warchiefs is a fun thing to do but also challenging.

There are other creatures in the world that you can run into such as a Drake, Caragors, Ghûls, Graug, Caragath, Morgai Flies and Fell Beast.

upgrades menu

Your Character

In total, you get to unlock 39 upgrades for your character 18 of them are ranger skills and abilities and 21 are a wraith. So by the end of the game, your capabilities and choices to move around the world and defeat your foes are numerous from when you first started, and I think the upgrades come at the right time and make you feel like they make a difference when you unlock them. Because there are some missions that without the upgrades I don’t think I would have been able to complete.

I felt for Talion when they killed his wife an son in front of him at the start of the game it’s gripping and got me hooked straight away. I felt invested in the character from the beginning, and when a game can do that, it’s a great start.


This game is only singleplayer and does not have a multiplayer option, but it does have a tiny bit of multiplayer. If you are online and your friend is connected as well, and you are both playing the game, and you get killed an icon appears on your friends map where you will be able to avenge your friend’s death and murder the Uruk that killed them.

How Long Is it?

The games run time is about 25 hours with the story and side missions, but people on steam are saying they have put in far more time than that into the game with some people putting in 100 + hours.


How Much Is the Game?

Well, Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor came out in 2014, so the price of it now in 2019 is not going to break the bank, and you can pick up on Amazon for £5.99 on the PC, £18.70 for PS4 and £17.99 for Xbox One. Or do what I did and brought the Xbox games pass and get it from there.

My Thoughts About The Game

I thought this game overall was terrific and was a great experience and I spent many hours playing this game it was addictive, and now it’s over, and I’m glad I experienced it. My favourite parts of the game were using the lethal shadow strike ability to get around the world, and I got good at using the bow and chaining all the abilities together.

Just wishing for a little more than Uruk Attacks and collecting stuff outside the main story. What I did get was some wonderful memory’s of the gameplay and some Uruk Warchief’s and Captains that were more of a challenge then I thought and made bad words come out of my mouth but ultimately a fun game to play. I would recommend the game.