Finally, a Lord of the Rings Game to Rule Them All
Quick, name the last great Lord of the Rings video game. Now name the last great Lord of the Rings video game that didn’t involve Lego characters. We’ll wait.
For a franchise and mythology absolutely littered with epic battles and monsters of all shapes and sizes, the video game output has been surprisingly lackluster. While there are games on this list that particular gamers will make a case for (The Third Age, anyone?), the last LotR game that was almost universally beloved was 2003’s Return of the King, which was two whole console generations ago!
In the decade plus since that game came out, the franchise has lent it’s name to over 20 different video games, countless board games, a pinball machine, and a Gambling.com review indicates that the official slot machine of the first movie in the trilogy is very popular online.
As great as it may be, a slot machine shouldn’t be the biggest gaming success of the decade from a franchise as ready made for epic combat as J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterworks are, and thankfully it appears to have been unseated. The newly released Shadow of Mordor has been generating buzz for months on the convention circuit, and is finally available to players around the globe.
Early buzz has been incredibly positive, hailing the game as a major success. The games biggest draw is the unique nemesis system which creates a shared history between the player and his enemies, and requires increased strategy to take out certain foes. The game features a character and story set between the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, something that can excite fans by allowing them to see a new saga from Middle Earth play out before them.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that the game is fun. While inspiration is obviously drawn from such places as the combat in the Arkham series of Batman games and sandbox exploration out of Assassin’s Creed, Shadows of Mordor presents a playing experience that is an impressive balance of familiar, yet wholly unexpected.
So rejoice LotR fans, rise up, and get your sword ready for another showdown with Sauron. This is the game you’ve been waiting for.