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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor trailer released, shows pre-alpha gameplay

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Monolith Games, the studio behind such hits as the F.E.A.R. series and Condemned, have just set loose upon the world their first official gameplay reveal of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and gamers have a lot to get excited about.

Shadow of Mordor follows Talion, a ranger character much like Aragorn, who is a protector of Gondor and guardian of the Black Gates that serve as a barrier to the hostile Mordor. Talion's fate changes when Sauron and his black captains return, killing everyone Talion loves, leaving the hero for dead. For those familiar with the literary and cinematic universe, Shadow of Mordor takes place between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.

An intriguing snippet from the video reveals that the game generates random enemies on each playthrough, ensuring a unique experience every time you play the game. Shadow of Mordor also has a "Nemesis System" which allows enemies you've previously encountered, to react dynamically to seeing you again, and remember your last battle. The video at the top of the article clearly shows that both enemies absolutely remember your last encounter, and will do their best to ensure their own survival.

Keen eyes will be quick to spot the similarities to the Assassin's Creed and Arkham series, and Monolith is quite honest and proud to admit the strengths of those titles served as inspiration for Shadow of Mordor. GameInformer was the first to break news of Shadow of Mordor, and posted a video of Monolith speaking of their attitude toward the game, challenges when using an established IP, and their excitement around the whole idea of an open world Lord of the Rings game. Michael de Plater, director of design on Shadows of Mordor, said of the inspiration for the game,

Arkham is such an inspiration, it is the model for how you should approach a license. It's not a movie game, it's just the best possible game it can be.

Shadow of Mordor showcases much more depth than being just a knock off of either Assassin's Creed or Arkham. The video showcases Talion's wraith abilities, and the way the player will track and use Sauron's against him forces throughout the game. The wraith ability allows Talion to identify his targets, by slipping in to a different plane of existence momentarily, and the visuals will be immediately familiar to those that have seen the Lord of the Rings films.

The wraith ability also grants powers, showcased in the video were a few powers, one of which allowed Talion to dash towards enemies on different buildings and structures, surprising and defeating them with ease. Also shown as a wraith ability was Talion drawing his bow and slowing time significantly to hit the fleeing orc, who was running fine until he took an arrow to the knee.

The final wraith ability showcased was called "dominate", and with dominate Talion essentially grabs an orc by the face and directly controls what they do next in the open world. As soon as an enemy is dominated, they are Talion's minion, doing the bidding of their master while still being able to slip into areas that the ranger would otherwise not be able to. In the demo, it's clear that you can force a dominated enemy to spy and provide information, spread chaos and terrorize his own ranks by telling them what he experienced, assassinate their former master, or sacrifice themselves in order to damage your next target.

Check out the video at the top of the article for yourself, and let us know what you think about this pre-alpha footage so far. Shadow of Mordor currently does not have a solid release date, or even a timeframe, which may give fans of the lore a hope that the studio is putting the necessary care and thought in to the storied franchise, and will deliver a truly AAA experience.

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