The family of Talion, a ranger who guards the black gates into Mordor, is brutally killed by the black hand of Sauron. Talion is also killed but is brought back to life merged with a wraith that gives him inhuman powers. He ventures into Mordor to exact revenge and to help the wraith find his past identity and what brings the two together.
The family of Talion, a ranger of Gondor responsible for guarding the Black Gate of Mordor, is killed by Saurons armies, but Talion is revived with wraith-like abilities and heads into Mordor to exact his revenge.
I am in the middle of reading The Hobbit and I'm on the way to becoming a Tolkien fan. I feel that creating a video game out of his Middle Earth ideas could work, they could be great but I have heard most of them are either okay or bad except for this and maybe a couple of others. In terms of it living up to what's considered both the best fantasy stories ever written and the best fantasy films, along with being considered one of the absolute best trilogies in film history, this game has A LOT to live up to... It doesn't to the extent that I'm not even half way through and I feel like rage-quitting.
So the plot, Talion is a ranger who, along with his family gets murdered by Sauron's army. He wakes up as a Wraith in Mordor and bonded to him is another ghostly figure. It's up to you now to run around Mordor trying to stop Sauron's army from rising again.
Okay, my first complaint as nit-picky as this is I feel is warranted. When you read the books or watch the movies there are many places that, when presented with the idea of creating an open-world video game on that the idea of running around and exploring them sounds completely bliss, but they choose a barren wasteland most famous for a giant volcano and The Eye of Sauron (and if you think you can stumble on them in this game for consistency... You give this game too much credit!). I know the idea of making a world as huge as Middle Earth come to life in an open world is too high of something to ask but you can't get out of Mordor.
Now the story, is this really the best they can do?! The only way I remembered the maim character's name is Talion is through reading the plot synopsis before typing the review. This could be an investing story. But with this (and the gameplay, which I'll explain in the next paragraph) I feel that the developers were trying their damnest to rip off Assassin's Creed 2.
The gameplay... See if this sounds familiar, a stealth game where you can hide in bushes and have to run up towers to make the gameplay slightly less tedious and the protagonist has one long blade and one shorter blade for stealth killing. But the combat itself is ripping off another game, Batman Arkham. But you would think that with those 2 games with great gameplay that it would be a blast right... Well, at first. The game has permanent death, It's just you keep getting resurrected making missions you fail stay failed, this I wouldn't have a problem with but where my problems lie is the F#CKING CAPTAIN ASSASSINATIONS! Every time you fail to assassinate one their level goes up, making sure the next time you face him will be harder then the last. So if you want to finish what you started and just sucked at killing one like I did then you'll repeatedly waste your time running around, marking him, going to the Orc, then getting your ass kicked to the point where being cheap doesn't even begin to describe every encounter, it's a 2 hit death after a while and everyone else feels like a bad guy from Assassin's Creed or Batman again! It's annoying.
Last and definitely the least. DON'T get this on the Xbox 360 or PS3. The best way to describe my version is they forgot to tone down the graphics for the last-gen consoles. Thus making every cut-scene only play for a couple of seconds before a loading screen interrupts it and sometimes run across textures that look like early 6th Generation games to load in about a minute later. Needless to say if you have the option of playing it on the Xbox one or PS4 even after this then do it.
Onto what I enjoyed in the game. Well at times despite the increasingly steep difficulty curbs for the bosses if you die and despite me calling it a rip-off of Assassin's Creed and Batman Arkham this game at times does manage to capture the awesome way those games make you feel like a badass by combining stealth and the hack 'n' slash/beat-em-up. I also liked the way they represent the characters from what I've seen. While taking Gollum out on an escort mission he starts singing about how he worships the other ghost with you or "The Bright Master" for taking him to the One Ring (although he doesn't know he's lying) and insults Talion and "Bagginses". That alone is the best part of the game. Liam O'Brien is absolutely flawless in recreating Andy Serkis' Gollum voice. The rest of the voice acting is quite good too.
While there are some good things that someone may see as being passable as someone who has only played it on a PS3 (I'm assuming the PS4 and Xbox One versions are slightly better) to me there's barely anything in this game that's worth anything more then a couple of hours play per month. The worst thing is how increasingly cheap some of the people who've killed you will be (If this game makes a sequel, literally all I ask is consistency in the difficulty of taking down one guy). It's literally just Assassin's Creed meets Batman Arkham with the face Lord Of The Rings but getting about 40% of that right. I finished the game recently, and I do have to say that it was a game that you can enjoy.
When we saw the trailer, many of us already say the mechanics, and the climbing from Assassins Creed, and we were not wrong. The climbing, sneaking, distracting and fighting are a complete copy of the AC games. We even have bushes to hide in, stealth-take-downs from above and below, and that convenient counter-button. Thank goodness I know the AC series, that helped me get the hang of the game.
The game has it's lore-friendly moments. As a Middle Earth fan I know too much about the world and lore of Middle Earth so there were plenty of moments where i smiled all smug-like because I knew this detail, this artifact, this piece of back-story etc. On the other hand (and that hand is quite big), there are a lot, as in a lot, of moments that are not lore-friendly at all. I prefer not to give any spoilers, so i can't get into that too much. But prepare for some major flaws in the Middle Earth universe when you play this game.
There are also good points about the game. For one is the fact that it stays difficult. It is always fun to mow down 200 enemies with ease, but you always feel overpowered. Not with this game. Sure, at the end you are powerful enough to take down any enemy, but prepare to run when you fight 15 or more. Also the fighting mechanics are fast, and you need to pay attention if you don't want to die. No longer that single-button spam. The fights will keep you on your toes. The cut-scenes are also beautiful, and the environment looks amazing. The effects are nicely done and overall the game just looks really good. At least as good as AC IV.
If you are thinking about buying the game, think twice before you do it. If you are a Middle Earth fan like me, you will cringe a few times because of un-lorefrienly moments, but all in all it is a game that I can play without throwing it out. 7cb1d79195
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