Shadow of Mordor First Looks: Never Play the Same Game Twice

Warner Bothers had a wildly popular showing at this year's E3, and form their star lineup of games, you can see why. 

I was lucky enough to check out a presentation demo with the executive producers, which was one of the more popular exhibits in the publisher's hall. The executive producers jumped right into explaining the nemesis system, which is what makes the new Lord of the Ring's installment so ridiculously unique. 

The primary focus of the presentation is to demonstrate the Shadow of Mordor's nemesis system. This incredibly complex, multi-factored system creates order to the enemies you fight. The randomly-generate mobs of Orcs you demolish also gain experience, and can even work their way through the ranks as powerful chieftains. Each higher-ranking officer has a personality which dictates how you should fight them. And since each of these Orcs is randomly generated, you'll never play the same Orc character in another instance of the game. 

For the audience, we too had a role; we were to dictate the choices our protagonist, Talion, made, deciding which one of the major chieftains we wanted to go after for the main quest line. This ultimately requires fighting the lower-level officers, which is beautifully displayed in the nemesis system's menu. 

Our group decides to go for the ridiculously well armored chieftain. Since he's so tough, we also decide to lure him out by killing one of his official officers. 

And with these decisions, we finally get to see the game.

When jumping into the game itself, the gorgeous graphics don't overwhelm nearly as much as Shadow of Mordor's battle system. The vast amount of killing options partially depend on a Wraith mode, which your character can travel between thanks to his spirit abilities. These same abilities allow for some fantastic combat options, which include stealth and character domination. His spirit powers allowed us to control orc-eating mounts, other orcs, and even chieftans if they are weakened. 

Unfortunately, we die in the process of killing the lesser officer, in part because another officer appears. But no worries, since through our death we discover that even the enemies have quests and experience points, and they rank up if they beat us. When we returned for revenge, they remembered us, and recalled our previous encounter with them during battle. 

The cuscenes during battle dance between the high-paced battles against multiple mobs and slow-motion dodges and parries of our main character. This game's combat is as much fun to watch as (I'm assuming) it is to play, since jaws were dropped when our assassination target entered a brief dialogue with Talion. 

In Shadow of Mordor, you are the disruptor. Entire societies have been created in your enemy's ranks. Strategy within an organized system has been laid out, only for you to plot against it. You can pinpoint exactly who you want to kill, and execute it in the most original ways. 

While some narrative points seem thrown together to justify the amazing system they've created, Shadow of Mordor is a game that every single gamer should keep their eyes on. Monolith's demo has me wondering...

If you went to E3, what was your Shadow of Mordor demo story?