MThe Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor game has been openly scolded, cursed, scolded and scolded for being too similar to the Assassin’s Creed franchise and accused of shamelessly stealing from other games. Reality? Far from there.
There are about twenty other games that look like other games and yet have been very popular. We have Ninja Gaiden who researched other sources for its core gameplay, there’s Army of Two which is oddly reminiscent of Gears of War/Kill Switch and there’s Torchlight II with its Diablo-like gameplay. These games may have been inspired by and felt like other games from another era, but they are all brilliantly executed games that were on the whole praised by gamers. Following this order of things, I see no reason why Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor should be tossed into a chasm just to look and feel like another game. Why? Let’s take a closer look.
“The story of the game begins with Sauron returning to Mordor as he has us play as a ranger who goes by the name of Talion. Monolith had a lot of support on their pedestal. They had Peter Jackson telling them not to do movie game, but the best game out there.”
Many games have been taken from their predecessors and turned into something else. Some were cornered while others were applauded. Sure, there was the never-before-heard game called Chrome that originated in the crazy era of Halo, but it’s just because it looked like a game that it failed. The game itself was horrible. Poorly made, no execution and totally pathetic in every way. No wonder most of us haven’t even heard the name. So why should Shadow of Mordor’s allusion to Assassin’s Creed be the only determining factor in its failure?
A bit about the game first. Monolith’s Shadow of Mordor is a game that tells the story of events that happened between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The game’s story begins with Sauron’s return to Mordor as he plays as a ranger named Talion. Monolith had a lot of support on its base. They had Peter Jackson telling them not to make a movie game, but the best game out there.
And Monolith took great care to make the game flawless and flawless. And then they got a little help from stalwarts in different areas. They have Middle-Earth Enterprise which acted as the licensor for everything related to Tolkien. A team of Tolkien lore specialists were tasked with scrutinizing Monolith’s work and ensuring that every detail of the game adhered to the world that Tolkien had woven.
Needless to say, with the kind of work that Middle-Earth Enterprise has done with everything Tolkien since the olden days, we don’t have to worry about Monolith slipping anywhere on the detail front and precision in the game.
“Weta Digital, the visual effects company founded by Peter Jackson that was involved in the design of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, collaborated with Monolith for this game. It’s good to know that Monolith was careful and aware of the news and collaborated with Peter Jackson and Weta, especially considering this in light of the game being set between the events of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
On top of that, Weta Digital, the visual effects company founded by Peter Jackson that was involved in the design of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, collaborated with Monolith for this game. It’s good to know that Monolith was cautious and aware of the news and collaborated with Peter Jackson and Weta, especially considering this in light of the game being set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings.
Let’s get to the gameplay and the controversies surrounding the game. First of all, this is definitely not a video game. Monolith began developing the game on a different tangent than most developers would when adopting an already established preeminent franchise. Instead of simply borrowing the story directly from Tolkien’s world, Monolith only took Tolkien’s world as the backdrop for its creation.
It doesn’t seem to involve characters like Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, and Gollum. The game may still refer to the acts and consequences of the acts of the characters in the books, but we’re not sure yet. After putting you in the shoes of a loyal Gondor Ranger, Talion, the game will introduce you to many of the powers and abilities that Talion has at his disposal.
The game’s pre-alpha footage shows Talion on a mission to assassinate an Uruk (or Orc) leader, whom he had encountered and defeated previously. Now, with the reveal of these images, many have looked back at how Talion’s moves, gait, attacks, and climbing style were stolen from the Assassin’s Creed franchise alongside Shadow of Mordor’s animations.
“And just because a few traits in Shadow of Mordor allude to the first two Assassin’s Creed games doesn’t mean the whole game is a rip-off. The characters, the environment, and the game system itself are vastly different from the AC franchise.”
Former Ubisoft developer Charles Randall joked how the ‘Lord of the Rings’ game seemed to have been created by him. Now, the animations may have been inspired and redone similarly to that of the first two Assassin’s Creed games, but flying is something in and of itself.
Moreover, it is unlikely that Monolith would take the risk of a lawsuit with such a project. And just because a few Shadow of Mordor traits hint at the first two Assassin’s Creed games doesn’t mean the whole game is a rip-off. The characters, the environment and the game system itself are very different from the AC franchise.
The game had also been chastised for how it subtly ripped Detective Vision from the Batman games and featured Talion with the Wraith Vision. No one who said that cared to think back to when Frodo wore the One Ring and entered the Wraith world.
Now Wraiths have special abilities, including the ability to see differently than a normal person, in the seen world. These abilities come to Wraiths by being in the Unseen World or the Wraith World.
Talion being a partial Wraith has these abilities. From the alpha footage, we learn that Talion can enter using his Wraith abilities to hunt, terrorize, and compel the Uruks to do whatever he pleases. he can practically overpower an enemy with fear and control them to serve his purposes, such as sending possessed enemies to perform assassinations. This also means that if you subjugate an Uruk leader, you also control his minions.
“They used the Nemesis system for Shadow of Mordor which is an absolutely sweet work of art to say the least. The system ensures that each enemy Talion encounters reacts differently to the character. Each enemy has a different set of skills, abilities, strengths , Weaknesses, and Responses Each enemy responds to the decisions you make in the game. If you choose to spare an enemy, they will learn from it and grow stronger over time.
You can have your own army serving your goals among your enemies for infiltration purposes. Killing a fellow Uruk as a diversion? No problem. Start a riot? Yes please. And all this while you can either sit at a vantage point and enjoy the view, or happily jump into the heart of the gore festival.
Talion can even look into the minds of overpowered enemies and gauge their relationship with other Uruks through the Wraith abilities he possesses. Queer, I don’t recall Batman being able to do any of this with his detective vision.
Monolith has put a lot of work into this game and it would be unfair for us to issue derogatory comments based on such little evidence. They used the Nemesis system for Shadow of Mordor which is an absolutely sweet work of art to say the least. The system ensures that each enemy Talion encounters reacts differently to the character. Each enemy has a different set of skills, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and responses. Each enemy responds to the decisions you make in the game. If you choose to spare an enemy, they will learn from it and grow stronger over time.
Even otherwise, if you encounter an enemy briefly and encounter the same a bit later in the game, there’s a good chance they’ll be in a different situation with a different potential. Each character works alone and adapts to the changing world based on the choices a player makes. This ensures that no two encounters are alike. The game’s open world allows players to undertake missions at any time. Add to that the dynamic game elements, like changing weather, and you have the flexibility to use the game elements that suit you best for your goal.
Nemesis being such an amazing system, bears its own fate. Nemesis is a huge system that has countless aspects that require computation. This means that older consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3 will not be able to handle the original Nemesis system. Monolith said in a statement that they tried everything to make the experience consistent across the game’s different platforms, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible.
“Amidst all the controversy, Monolith took a huge responsibility on itself with Shadow of Mordor. ‘a Wraith.’
What this means to us is that unlike the game running on newer consoles, games on older machines will not have as much variety in the game world. Also, the environments and simulation would be affected. While this put a damper on some players’ morale, the situation isn’t actually that bad. The environment was affected, yes, but Monolith said the gameplay would remain the same throughout. Which is a relief for us.
Amid all the controversy, Monolith took on a huge responsibility on itself with Shadow of Mordor. They stayed true to Tolkien’s roots, retaining the odd mix of good and evil by granting an outsider the abilities of a Wraith. It harkens back to when Tolkien through Frodo, Boromir and Galadriel reminded us that power can corrupt you. This fusion of the two has held its appeal and it’s heartening to see that Monolith has paid such attention to detail.
Plus, shaping a story in an unprecedented timeline while adhering to Tolkien’s notion of the LOTR world is a hell of a task. It’s not fair to blame the game for a few flaws and throw it into the dark pits of hell for it. The game hasn’t been released and there’s a lot to know about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Monolith left no stone unturned, but only time will tell if they succeeded in their valiant endeavour.
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