Shadow Of Mordor Might Be The Perfect Lord Of The Rings Game #ForForgey

I first heard about the #ForForgey movement over the weekend. I saw something on social media from Monolith, the guys behind last year's Shadow Of Mordor. I heard that the games' Executive Producer - Michael Forgey - had a rare form of cancer that affected the brain; you can read more about the details in the Kotaku story here. Monolith's idea was that people play, stream and talk about the game in order to build awareness for the donation page to help out Forgey and his family. PLEASE DONATE HERE. Instead of streaming, I'll be playing then writing about it here (as you can read below).

I wish Mr Forgey and family all the best.

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It has been notoriously hard to create a Lord of The Rings game. While there have been some success stories, there have also been failures dotted along the path, causing the Lord Of The Rings in games to get off the road, and disappear - on occasion - from the conciousness of gamers.

However, Shadow Of Mordor seems to have changed that. Last year it was hailed as one of the surprise success stories and the nemesis system was branded as something "truly next-gen" (or current gen, as it would be now).

As a huge Lord Of The Rings fan, a fusion of Tolkien's classic series and another of my favourite things in the World - video games - sounds perfect. For some reason, however, I waited until just last week to pick the game up.

This is definitely a case of better late than never.

I think the main reason that the Lord Of The Rings would be (and has been) so hard to adapt into a game is the story. It's something that really is ideal for a book, above any other media type. Even with Peter Jackson's movies, you see him adapting the original story somewhat in order for a coherent and enjoyable movie experience to come out of the other side.

With a Lord Of The Rings game that followed the books entirely, you'd have to keep switching character, location, time-line: none of which sounds like it would make for a particularly engaging experience, or one that would make people feel pathos toward the characters or, more importantly, be fun for the player.

Herein lies the genius of Shadow Of Mordor: it doesn't take the story from Tolkien's supreme work, it creates a new one. We meet Talion - a ranger in Mordor who has just died. An Elf-Lord - Celebrimbor - brings him "back to life" in the hope that they can help each other achieve their goals. As you can see (assuming you're a fan of LOTR) this has heavy influence from Middle Earth, but isn't a direct telling of the story.

Whether this is down to licensing, or - in fact, as I would like to believe - to the creative direction that the developers wanted to take, remains to be seen - but it's still something that impresses me. While story isn't really a huge focus in the game (and, honestly - so far - I'm not finding it to be incredible, but it doesn't really need to be) the combat is something special: it's fast, fluid, fun and really easy to get a grip on. That, paired with the aforementioned nemesis system, makes for a really good game on it's own, without the "Middle Earth" branding.

But it is a Lord Of The Rings game (or, at least, one from Middle Earth) and I'm glad it is. Perhaps it isn't the LOTR game that I would love to exist - one set in the huge world of Middle Earth, where you get to play through some of the story - but I'm not sure something like that could ever be more than a dream, due to the limitations that I've discussed here. Because of that, I'm incredibly glad that Shadow Of Mordor is a reality: something that is, first and foremost, an excellent game and - in addition to that - something from the land of Middle Earth. And, if you haven't played it yet - as I hadn't - I really urge you to do so. You won't be disappointed.

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This post is my contribution to the #ForFogey Twitter movement. Neither I or it (it being this post) have any affiliation to Monolith, WB or Shadow Of Mordor other than me being a fan.

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