A 3rd Timewarp post? Incredible but true!
I picked up Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor on the latest Steam sale, because $7.50 for a GotY title seemed like a smart move. I was right. SoM is very good, especially because it uses the Farcry formula (I think Farcry started this type of game anyway…) in terms of an open-ish world, reaching towers to unlock more of the map, and having lots of side quests and collectibles along with a main storyline. Here however instead of guns you use a sword and bow.
Oh and you can die without the game just pretending it didn’t happen and resetting, which is a very refreshing feature. When you die in SoM, whoever landed the killing blow on you gets more powerful, and remembers that they killed you (next time you face them they will mention it). Death also ties into the excellent boss system, where certain orcs get promoted and become special, and they can gain further power as time progresses (or they kill you of course).
That power growth mechanic is interesting, because with more power bosses gain additional traits, such as being immune to ranged attacks or combos. As the system is random, the difficulty can sway by a good amount. Best (worst?) example for me right now? I have a power 20 boss who is ranged, immune to melee and stealth, shoots explosive arrows, and heals whenever he hits you. Basically the only way to damage him is by shooting him, but since he can also shoot, and shoots explosive arrows, its hard for him not to land a hit, and when he does, he heals. Combine this with other random orcs being around, and I’ve yet to figure out a good way to get rid of him (he’s also power 20 because I’ve now died to him a few times).
But that kind of difficulty is fun, because I don’t HAVE to kill him to progress, and (hopefully) I’ll eventually gain enough power and upgrades to take him down, which will feel very good. He could also be involved in a power struggle event (two bosses fight each other), and that might open the door to killing him as well.
Everything else about the game is solid. It looks good, runs great, and the story is good-enough to keep you going. If you haven’t played this one yet, its a solid pickup.