Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor looks like a pretty decent recreation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works as a violent video game, but it sets itself apart and becomes interesting thanks to its Nemesis system. A new trailer from Warner Bros. explains how this premise works.
Every enemy in the video game has a name, personality, and a handful of traits. Perhaps a cowardly character will flea from you in battle or an orc will land a deathblow in combat. Regardless, if an enemy survives an encounter with you in any way, he will remember you and gain statistics and experience points elsewhere in the world.
Needless to say, destiny will reunite you with rivals, and they will prove to be more difficult the second time around. Naturally, the best way to counter this mechanic is to make sure no enemy gets away from you in battle, but that would disrupt the other great function of the Nemsis system: Controlling your enemies.
Some powerful beings are subject to mind control thanks to the protagonists Ringwraith powers. Encountering an orc in battle and breaking his mind will put you in control of a powerful captain within Sauron’s ranks, and he will continue to gain ranks and experience as he causes havoc behind enemy lines. You can summon these units to fight alongside you, or give them a power boost when they undertake their own quests.
I have a few reservations about Shadow of Mordor, like the overly “video gamey” aesthetic and silly idea of a half ranger/half ringwraith, but the Nemesis system sounds nothing short of amazing. If it proves to be a hit with critics and gamers, I might just have to try this one out. It might be one of the surprise hits of the year if it all comes together.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on Oct. 7.
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