Behind Enemy Lines

On October 7th, Warner Brothers Interactive and Monolith Productions will release a new Middle Earth based game that seems to not only fill in a bit of history not really covered in J. R. Tolkienís works, but also a new style of gameplay not really explored in other Lord of the Rings related games.

Set sometime in the 60 year gap between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor takes players into Sauronís lands in a way never really explored before. You play as a Ranger of Gondor, Talion, who was attacked by a band of orcs and forced to watch his family murdered before being killed himself. Oddly enough, Talion wakes up after his brutal death to find himself not only alive, but somehow possessed by a mysterious wraith. The pair quickly forge an alliance - Talion wants vengeance for his familyís death and the spirit, well, we donít really know what it wants.

Talion has three primary weapons at his disposal, a sword, a bow and a dagger, but he quickly learns that he can use the wraithís powers as well, and at least one of those powers will make for an interesting gameplay mechanic. Talion can turn orcs to his side at the touch of his hand, and it seems that converting an orc that leads other orcs also converts the followers. While Talionís main goal is to find the orc that led his familyís massacre, while working his way through Mordor, he also plans to do as much damage to the Dark Lordís war machine as possible.

Talion is directed to convert orcs and have his new followers challenge their superior officers, and with each higher ranking orc defeated, either your followers grow in rank, or you successfully convert the higher ranking creature and grow your armyís ranks that way. If you do manage to kill the higher ranking foes though, Talion will be rewarded with runes that can be used to modify his weapons.

One of the more interesting aspects of Shadow of Mordor seems to be the gameís Nemesis System. This system essentially gives more personality to the main enemies in the game, and those personalities change based on your encounters with them. Where one orc might run away in fear, another will be more stubborn and loyal to his commanding officer. The game even goes so far as to have a character remember if it killed you one. Given the fact that Talion is already dead and death seems to keep throwing him back in the fray, the orc that took you down will remember killing you before and react to the fact. The supposed result is that each playthrough will be different because the personalities and reactions of your enemies will be different from one game to the next.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor will come out for the Xbox One, 360, PS4 and PS3.