OK, so I hope I'm doing this right. o___o First time and all.
A lot of people thought Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was one of the best games of 2014 (it released in September), but because of money/time/etc., I haven't gotten around to playing it until now. I tend to avoid open-world games because ugh, so much to do. I usually wear myself out running around and doing pointless side quests so much that I lose interest in the main story before I even begin.
So far, Shadow of Mordor has a good solution in place for combating that issue: the Nemesis system, in which you go around killing Uruk in the style of Batman: Arkham Asylum (and a bit of Assassin's Creed) until you die, and then the orc that killed you gets stronger and fights another orc to the death for his rank. So it's both a slap in the face and a good thing, because the competition gets tougher, but at least you have one less Uruk to deal with.
So a Power 1 Uruk might get promoted (and score more bad-ass gear) all because he managed to get in a lucky shot just after you slayed stronger Uruk and a big mob of orcs (these guys call for serious back-up). It's even more brutal when you realize that all the Power you gain from completing main missions and resolving power struggles resets when you die. I've only accessed the second ability tier so far because you need Power to unlock it, and the third tier costs like 200-something. I spent some time earning Power and then died, so now I'm back down to 10.
Having wraith powers is also awesome. You're bound to this dead elf lord, so he often manifests spiritually through you to interrogate Uruk for intel on Sauron's Army or grant you supernatural abilities, like shooting a mystical bow and arrow. When you die and come back and Uruk remember you, it actually makes sense with the story because Talion (the main character) is "banished from death."
It's all pretty cool so far, though I wish the environments were more varied. :/ It all looks edge-of-Mount-Doom-y. And the slave NPCs that you save are basically clones.
and destroying enemies as you ride around on them is fun, too. I set mine on fire temporarily by steering it through a campfire and was surprised to find that's a thing you can do without killing it.
A big part of the strategy for taking on hordes of Uruk is stealth, and stealth-running is just about the best invention ever. Because ordinarily, sneaking around is slow and boring. Another favorite thing of mine to do is knocking down swarming hives of Morgai Flies, which is the equivalent of kicking a bee's nest toward an enemy. It makes for a cool distraction. Or shooting campfires to make them explode, killing everyone nearby. Because that makes sense.
More stories from Mordor to come! Is anyone else playing this right now, or thinking about it?