There is finally a Lord of The Rings game I can get excited about. It’s called Shadow of Mordor and does it ever look good, the game puts you in the shoes of Talion a warrior of Gondor who while defending the Black Gate (before the events of the movies, before Sauron re-inhabits Mordor) is overrun and killed along with the rest of his battalion. He is then brought back to life by a wraith (similar to the nazgul in the movies) he thus gains the power to move between planes, he can see the wraith world and use wraith like powers in battle but he is still mostly human. The game has RPG elements including a large open world, you must travel throughout the land of Mordor killing your way through the ranks of the orcs, trying to avenge your brethren.
The game looks great with gorgeous visuals, dynamic lighting and a very diverse set of enemies. This is not the most exciting part of the game however, the nemesis system has me most excited. This system promises that enemies will remember you if they manage to get away during a fight. During the demo, Talion is trying to kill off a high ranking orc officer which he battled before (leaving him with a half-burnt face). This event happened earlier in the game and when Talion encountered him for the second time the orc remembered the previous encounter even making a remark about it, this is a promising system because it is based on your actions.
There are a lot of games that brag about how your actions influence the game and your choices are meaningful, however most of those are a limited and either influence the game in one set way or another. In Shadows of Mordor you don’t necessarily make a choice, you simply act and depending on your actions the game will change. This is the kind of influence a player should have, just like in the real world you cannot always foresee the consequences of your actions. If the nemesis systems works as well as Monolith promises then we may see future open world games include a similar system. Imagine the next Elder Scrolls including something like this, where in game characters remember you and your actions and this changes the way they interact with you, more than just a statement or two about how you did that one thing that one time. This is an example of the next generation in gaming.