Hands-on with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor on PS4

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Hands-on with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor on PS4

Talion – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s central character – is a man holding a grudge , not to mention a very large sword. Having had his family murdered by Sauron’s armies, seeking vengeance on those who wronged him is set to become the driving force behind Monolith Games’ forthcoming Lord of the Rings spin-off when it launches on 30th September 2014 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

In preparation, we got our hands on an early build of the game to put it through its paces. Here are just a few of the ways we found that Talion can wreak his revenge…

Choose your target
As Talion enters a new area, he can survey the land for Sauron’s armies and check out which of his captains control the various sections of the map. If he’s encountered one of them before – or managed to wring vital information from their spineless foot soldiers – he can check out their strengths and weaknesses, see where they can usually be found and start planning his attack.

Dominate the weak
In the thick of battle, Talion can grab a weakened enemy and use his wraith powers to dominate them, turning them to fight alongside the outnumbered ranger. Alternatively, if you want to change tactics half way through a mission, Talion can grab an enemy and interrogate them, extracting vital intelligence about battlefield positions or the strengths and weaknesses of their evil comrades.

Shadow of Mordor

Spark a mutiny
If Talion’s targets are high-ranking captains in Sauron’s army, rather than heading straight into the thick of battle, he can choose to dominate the captain’s soldiers and guards to turn them against their master. Turn them into assassins, create a power struggle within their ranks – whatever it takes to cause chaos in the orc armies.

Make a fast entrance
Talion can use the element of surprise to take down enemies from a distance; aim at them with his bow and hit the cross button rather than unleashing an arrow, and he’ll become a fast-moving shadowy blur, covering ground at immense speed to pop up and slay his target.

Hitch a ride
Sauron’s soldiers aren’t the only things that Talion can bend to his will; throughout Middle-earth, wild, savage beasts and monstrous troll-like creatures roam the land. Dominate one of these and Talion can leap onto their back and ride them into the fray, scattering enemies or dealing savage bites from their jaws or lashing out with colossal attacks. Dismount, and the beasts will continue to attack, giving Talion a formidable ally.

Shadow of Mordor

Come back from the dead
Being part wraith, Talion is technically dead already – but his foes don’t know that. If he falls to a certain enemy, finding them on the battlefield can spark fear and confusion as, thanks to the game’s innovative “Nemesis system”, that enemy will recognize Talion – so slaying them second time around will be all the more satisfying.

Keep watch over Sauron’s armies
Orcish society is full of backstabbing – quite literally – that Talion can use to his advantage. Each gruesome character has their own ongoing grudges and power struggles going on behind the scenes, so if you spot one of these being played out, you can twist it to your advantage.

Do things the old-fashioned way
Relying on hack-and-slash swordplay or a precision arrow to an unsuspecting enemy can be immensely satisfying. Talion’s quick use of a blade lets him cut down large groups of enemies with brutal force, building up combos to unleash devastating, head-removing finishing moves.

Shadow of Mordor

Think you’ve got what it takes to take on Sauron’s minions and survive? Find out when Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor comes to PS3 and PS4 next month.

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  • I like to think that on the last picture he was fighting the guy in front and accidentally killed the guy behind him. It’s funnier and more badass that way.

  • I can’t wait for this game. Also, I read somewhere there is going to be a Flash Sale this weekend and I have no more money. lol

  • Will this game be an open world game? How different will the PS3 version be compared to the PS4 version? This game looks better and better with each update!

  • Rhys the game looks sick. I had just watched the 50 minute gameplay vid you guys did with that other site with three letters ;) and it was killer. Pre-ordered, can’t wait to give this one a whirl. Unreal the depth of gameplay options with the death threats, the riots, etc.

    Can. Not. Wait.

  • Ok so Rhys did not do the preview it was Monolith (with Ryan McCaffrey). My mistake. Sorry!

  • Huge LOTR fan here. Looks like I am actually going to get the game I have been dreaming of! Day one buy for me on the PS4!

  • As a rather huge Tolkien fanatic, this game is really looking like it’s going to make me cringe. It butchers and mangles Tolkien’s lore at every turn…

    But, I can say that I’m VERY intrigued by the gameplay, so this may have to be one of the games where I just ignore the source material and pretend the game isn’t really intending to draw from it.

  • This is a day one for sure. I am excited about this game. Let it be Sept. 30th soon!

  • Did this game get moved to October 7th because that’s what it says on the EB Games website?? Also with The Crew November 11th??

  • definitely looking forward to this game

  • As great as this looks I’m still not sure about this game at all if I pick this up it will be later.

  • @ Seluhir: It’s funny you say that, because a friend of mine who saw this at E3 was saying basically the opposite, that it looks like this is the first LotR game that is actually treating Tolkien’s lore with respect. Obviously it’s filling in blanks and creating a story within the universe, but I haven’t really seen anything that messes with the established canon.

    Either way, I’m planning to check it out. This write-up just confirmed my decision to pre-order was a good one.

    @ Spacemarinechamp: It was originally going to come out on October 7th, but they pushed the game up a week, because the 7th was getting too crowded. EB probably just hasn’t updated their website yet. And from all reports I’ve seen, yes, The Crew is releasing on 11/11.

  • @Aizawa – anyone who says that isn’t really knowledgeable about Tolkien’s lore.

    The very concept of the main character being a half-wraith and getting magical powers is impossible within LotR’s lore…

    Unless you’re counting the movies as being ‘canon’. Some of the nonsensical concepts in this seem to have been taken from the things they changed in the movies in order to make them more exciting… so if your friend is a movie buff regarding LotR I could see that.

    Everything I’ve read about this is making me concerned… when I told my wife, who is even more deep in the lore, the details of the game a while back she was genuinely cringing at it… but it has some really awesome gameplay elements so I’m still excited for it.

  • Hey, Seluhir, I’m the friend Aizawa is speaking of. I’m by no means an expert in Tolkien’s lore, but the game directors and writers made it clear that they would be respecting the lore at Comic Con this year. The panel was moderated by a Tolkien expert. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are stretching some things to make it more exciting as the look for the main character was inspired by Aragorn and Boromir.

    You can read more details about the panel here: comiccon2014.sched.org/event/7bff6301e2cbd82f868bebe2b829691b#.U_hn7fmwJWY

    I’m pretty sure Talion isn’t half-wraith though. The panel gave me the impression that Celebrimbor (wraith, previously elf) brings Talion (100% man) back to life and inhabits his body after he and his family were slaughtered. Maybe the person who wrote the blog post was under the wrong impression. Maybe it’s me who’s under the wrong impression.

  • I was going to pass on this game…but now that Dragon Age has been delayed a month and this pushed forward I’m reconsidering.

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