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Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a wonderful game that builds upon the cannon

I just finished Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor and I'll say it's a must-play for fans of The Lord of the Rings and it's universe. It gives additional context to the Lord of the Rings universe such as who actually made the rings and things like that. Most importantly, it's a lot of fun. Running around killing uruks is very fun and there's even more to do like tame caragors and free slaves. You can play very stealthily, run around fucking destroying uruks, or a mix of both. The gameplay loop is fun and the nemesis system only improves it. The game also looks really good despite it's release almost 7 years ago.

Here's what I think about the game more in-depth:

The story is amazing. I love it. The writing is really good, it complements the gameplay well, and it doesn't break cannon(at least not that I know of), only builds on it. The only thing I didn't like about the story is that it was, for the most part, told through cutscenes. This in and of itself is fine, but those cutscenes are choppy as hell and 12 FPS. It's kind of jarring going from beautiful 120 FPS gameplay to pre-rendered 10 FPS cutscenes with screen tearing everywhere. I also thought it didn't ruin the experience, but reducing the battle with Sauron to QTE prompts of E and SPACE kind of sucked. The whole final battle was just kind of underwhelming. The talons were weak as shit and some of them I killed without even fighting them, my warchiefs did most of the work for me. Other than that the story is really really good.

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The gameplay and systems were well-made and really fun. The combat is hard at first but gets easier as you unlock more moves, learn more strategies, and get better. Stealth is a fun and rewarding option, but if you're well-equipped you can also just tear through legions of uruks. It is easy to get overwhelmed though, so you have to have some good upgrades and know how to hold your own to actually succeed with this method. I also really liked the nemesis system and how you could abuse it. After a while it's easy enough to defeat warchiefs that you can just dominate them and then you get access to free intel, a small army by your side, and additional side missions. The hunting was also fun. Hunting or taming caragors and graugs was punishing and very rewarding.

The dreaded side missions aren't half bad, but they severely lack in variety. It's just finding relics, freeing slaves, and killing uruks. Of course there's some variety like hunting or the little challenges like collecting plants or killing spiders, along with different types of those 3 missions, like trials and in-fighting with the uruks. For the most part, the missions aren't that bad and do help with the rest of the game, whether it's making future combat easier or adding even more lore.

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The game looks and sounds really good. The graphics are beautiful, and the sound design is well-made. You can hear the different sounds that walking on different materials makes, there's a pretty big variety in voice lines from NPCs, and everything just has good quality. Nothing sounds bad or out of place.

In review, I really liked the combat and it's systems through and through, and the story was well-written and told well except for some bad decisions and what may have been technical limitations. The mission variety is extremely underwhelming but what we do have isn't half bad. The whole game has a level of quality that every part lives up to, including the sound and graphics. Again, I think this is a must-play for fans of The Lord of The Rings, and a good game that I recommend to the average consumer as well.

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