There’s no shortage of fantasy role-playing games poised to launch on PCs and video game consoles over the next year. Dragon Age, The Witcher and The Legend of Zelda are among those titles arriving between this fall and 2015.
But perhaps the most intriguing is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, an RPG rooted in the world of Lord of the Rings.
Taking place between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Shadow of Mordor stars Talion, a ranger slain along with his family by the armies of Sauron. After a wraith brings Talion back to life, he sets off to seek revenge.
Shadow of Mordor‘s most interesting feature is its Nemesis system, which comes into play when players are battling enemies. When entering the Nemesis menu, it displays an organizational tree with orcs at various leadership positions, topped by five warchiefs. Moving down the tree, each warchief has lieutenants. All these orcs vary based on powers, skills, motives and other attributes. Plus, every player will have a different set of enemies when they boot up the game.
During my hands-on playthrough, my goal was to take down a warchief. It starts by reviewing the tree and exploiting lieutenants. In this case, I spot one that I hope to convince to betray his chief and unseat him from his position.
Talion boasts a shadow power granted by the wraith that helps him gain advantages in battle. Early on, he uses it to control and mount a massive beast to ride across the land. During combat with one of the lieutenants, Talion uses the shadow ability on his weakened enemy to command him to join his side and betray his war chief.
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