Ah, to rejoin the land of Mordor with more battle-sense than a hobbit. Being locked inside of the realm around Mount Doom leaves one predictably surrounded by danger and the fear of being found. Uruks, goblins, and caragors are just some of the physical complications that are present in Sauron’s territory.
At first, the game plays a little bit like Assassin’s Creed mixed with third person Skyrim. But once you get used to it, the game reveals just how singular it is. Perhaps it is the story that goes along with it, but the game feels darker, harder, much more amusing, and brings back the best of the Tolkien universe that we so love.
What really drives this game lies within the mechanic that your character can never actually die. He is haunted by an elf that has had some tragic past, linking him to the main character.This haunting allows for a comically strained, symbiotic relationship between the two as they prance around the rougher areas of Mordor. Each time the main character is killed in combat, the Uruk that killed it is promoted within the ranks of Sauron's army, gains power and is marked as a “Revenge Target”. This makes the game that much more involved and difficult. As I am a perfectionist when it comes to gaming, I do not like this particular aspect of the game, but the challenge is there for those that prefer competition and are okay taking a fall or two (with repercussions) before coming back through the ranks with a vengeance.
The second most important aspect to the game is collecting various items, including elvish scrawl and weapon runes which make the game easier and more interesting to play. Each collectable is unlockable through certain events and is usually guarded by a pack of Urukai.
A third aspect that is interesting, if not the only friendly thing about the game, is that you can avenge random players' deaths around the map. When they have died in battle against some particular Uruk that you share, you simply make your way over to the map marker and have at the disgusting Mordorian.
Needless to say, this game is fun and freeing. It inspires competition and stretches the comfort zone of those that delight in all things perfectly done. If you enjoy climbing, shooting and swordplay, killing Uruks and seeing familiar Lord of the Rings characters with a touch of Troy Baker, this is definitely a must play.