Shadow of Mordor is the best Lord of the Rings game for nearly a decade, though considering the competition, that isn’t really saying much. More importantly, it’s a whole lot better than you might expect. It’s hardly the world’s most original game, but that doesn’t mean its short on thrills, drama or innovation. While descriptions of the game as Assassin’s Creed goes to Middle Earth aren’t entirely wide of the mark, they also don’t do the game justice.
In fact, it has as much in common with another Warner Bros. property: the Batman: Akham Asylum/City/Origins series. It’s another free-roaming, open-world adventure with the focus on combat and stealth, and while there are elements of Assassin’s Creed in its stealth kills and free-running acrobatics, it’s much less focused on urban spaces or vertical exploration. Meanwhile the hard-hitting, counter-heavy melee combat is closer to the Batman style, down to the slow-mo finishers when you put down the last enemy in a gang. And Shadow of Mordor does bring something new to the party, and while this feature sounds like a gimmick, it turns out to be surprisingly profound