Game Review: ‘Shadow of Mordor’ and the Nemesis System

Game Review: Shadow of Mordor and the Nemesis System

Shadow of Mordor is an action adventure video game set in the Lord of The Rings Universe. In Shadow of Mordor you play as a ranger of Gondor named Talion during the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.  While guarding the Black Gate, Sauron suddenly attacks Talion, killing him and his entire family. He wakes up resurrected from the dead by a mysterious wraith, with nothing on his mind other than revenge on Sauron.

But story isn’t the primary draw of Shadow of Mordor; it’s not what it won awards for, and it’s not what people think of when the hear about this game. The most interesting feature in this game is the nemesis system.

What is the nemesis system? Well, so long as the wraith is bound to Talion, he is essentially immortal. This means that unlike most games where dying will reset you to a point in time before you died, in Shadow of Mordor Talion is actually revived from the dead inside of the game’s canon. But this isn’t the nemesis system; in fact, this is only set up for the nemesis system. The idea behind the nemesis system is simple; if there’s a crazy guy running around Mordor who can not be killed, people will recognize him. Therefore, when you die to an orc, you will learn that orc’s name, and if he was not already a captain, the orc will be promoted. Then, when you encounter an orc that has previously killed you, the orc will have special dialogue options. Each orc has their own randomly generated personality and abilities. Some orcs will have witty dialogue, others will sing you poetry, and some will creepily breathe in your face and make you uncomfortable.

If that wasn’t interesting enough, later in the game, you unlock the ability to magically force orcs to join your side. This allows you to recruit orc captains with favorable abilities or personalities, which adds somewhat of a small strategy element to the game. The nemesis system is super interesting, and Shadow of Mordor is one of the best games I have ever played because of it.