New release Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is taking the video game world by storm, winning rave reviews and enthusiastic player feedback. The innovative Nemesis System, which alters the outcome of the game, is frequently cited in each review as a game-changer.
Shadow of Mordor has been getting positively compared to recent hits Assassin's Creed and the Batman: Arkham series for its open world format, where players can freely roam and go nearly anywhere in Middle Earth, and for the close combat style of fighting used to take down orcs. But in reviews, it's the groundbreaking Nemesis System that is really winning over critics.
The Nemesis System in Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor remembers a player's interactions with opponents, which alters how those same characters interact with the player later in the game. Simply killing every enemy in sight won't work. This puts more emphasis on gathering intelligence and influence over captains and warchiefs that are also fighting with each other for promotions and control over their own forces. A low-level orc can show up later in the game as a high-ranking and powerful commander that remembers when he saw you last.
"It has memory, specific to you, that makes encounters with these characters, and they really are characters, a story in and of itself," wrote The Daily Telegraph's Phill Cameron, who gave it four out of five stars in his review.
Erik Kain of Forbes, in a sprawling multi-part review, called the game "beautiful" and proclaimed it as "easily a contender for Game of the Year." Much of the praise was due to the unique play that came from the Nemesis System.
"The much-vaunted Nemesis system actually lives up to the hype, transforming normal enemies into more and more powerful ones as you're slaughtered time and time again," Kain wrote. "It makes the world feel much more alive than most games."
"Mordor's Nemesis system is the perfect balance where your own death actually makes the game more interesting and fun to play," wrote Paul Tassi, in yet another review at Forbes.
"What elevates Mordor above a generic hack-and-slash adventure is the Nemesis System created by developer Monolith Productions," wrote Lou Kesten of the Associated Press, who gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars. "The result is an addictive mix of strategy and fast-paced action."
PC users can also experience Shadow of Mordor and its Nemesis System in Ultra HD by downloading an HD content pack. Digital Foundry did a side-by-side review and found the improvement not quite worth the hassle, which includes a requirement of 6GB of video memory.
The events of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor take place between J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The video game is both based on the original books and the movie adaptations by director Peter Jackson. The final film adaptation, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, will be released in December.
[Image source: Prodigi Gaming]