I don’t like the Lord of the Rings.
Cast your stones, be my guest, but I’m not a lover of fantasy in the slightest, preferring my dragons in the “How to Train” variety only. I slogged my way through the first chapter in the trilogy as part of an advanced literature class in high school, and while I appreciate on many levels the films by Peter Jackson, and to a much lesser extent The Hobbit films, they hold no real special place in my heart other than to remind me of the years those films came out in (my last year of high school and my first two years of university for the first trilogy…seems like so long ago.)
With all that out-of-the-way, it pains me that it’s not in the cards for me to get Shadows of Mordor as that game looks so insanely cool. When I saw the first trailer months ago I, like many, thought “okay, it’s Assassin’s Creed meets Tolkien, I’m curious” but now reading the numerous glowing reviews for it and finding it also borrows a page from the Batman: Arkham games with respect to its combat, I have a fever to get my hands on that game, whether by picking it up on a sale or by putting it on my “most wanted” things on this year’s Christmas list.
The fact that the game’s combat is inspired heavily by that of the “Arkham” games is not surprising as A) it’s a fantastic combat system and B) it too hails from WB Games, the publisher of all things DC in the video game medium. I haven’t seen any sales figures for this game, it only came out about two weeks ago, but I’m curious to see how well it performs, especially in the absence of the once guaranteed for fall 2014 Batman: Arkham Knight.
Those who purchased new or upgraded hardware in which to play Arkham Knight on and are maybe a little burnt out on playing the last generation trilogy of games are met with an interesting alternative if the high Metacritic score is to be believed, that is if you can overlook the license if you’re not a fan, which I for one am able to. Now Shadows of Mordor will become available for last generation consoles, however it will arrive a month and a half after the current generation version and will have its much touted “Nemesis System” downgrade to accommodate those machines. Not to say that Mordor PS3 or 360 won’t be a good game, of that I have no doubt, but the definitive edition seems to be for players who dived into the new wave of consoles.
WB Games certainly has a lot to gain from not having Batman: Arkham Knight in the fall, for reasons outside of giving Rocksteady the necessary time to make it truly spectacular. Firstly, they get to push their other remaining fall Batman title, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, and secondly gain more attention towards a potential new franchise in Shadows of Mordor, a chance that seems greater with no bats looming around the corner . There’s absolutely no way to track this information, outside of visiting a possible alternate reality where Arkham Knight came out this year, but I wonder if a percentage of players who may have picked up Mordor upon hearing about its “Arkham” feel would’ve passed it over had Rocksteady’s game made its initially proposed October release. If circumstances were different and if I had the opportunity to get one or the other, obviously I’d pick Batman, but with no Batman this year, I’m open for something to fill that void, of which Shadows of Mordor just might.
Whether I’m alone in this thought is impossible to know, but I’d like to think there’s at least a few if not a lot with a similar train of thought. Of course I’m sure there’s a section of players who perhaps are dismissive of Mordor, even with its “Arkham” DNA, due to the world it takes place in and I wouldn’t hold their opinion against them. For me personally at the very least, I want to dive into the world created in Shadows of Mordor because it sounds like a fun game, irregardless of what universe it plays with.