A Linux Gamer's Review of Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

Written by Eric Griffith in Linux Gaming on 5 August 2015 at 11:00 AM EDT. Page 1 of 3. 24 Comments.

A little under a year after its release, Feral Interactive have brought OS X and Linux users a new game to play… And thanks to Michael I spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday binge-playing Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor.

Small disclaimer: This review assumes some knowledge of the Middle-Earth universe, so I won't be stopping to explain every single name or place.

The Test System

Before we get into the game itself, it's important to set a level of expectations. As such, my test system is an A10-7850K CPU, 8Gbs of 2133Mhz RAM, and AMD R9 290 graphics card, running on Windows 10 Professional 64-bit only because the outstanding Catalyst driver bugs under Linux make this game basically unplayable. Nvidia Linux users reading this are in the clear, for more information read our Benchmarking Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor On Linux and Shadow of Mordor Performance: Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux.

Give Me Your Mind

The Story ( 7 / 10 )

This game centers around the main character, a human, named Talion. Talion is a ranger of Gondor who guards The Black Gate at the edge of Mordor. Talion's life takes a turn for the worst when minutes after starting the game The Black Gate is attacked by Sauron's orcs. Talion must watch his family and friends be murdered before finally being killed himself.

Talion does not, completely, die though. Instead, Talion's spirit is tied to an amnesic elven wraith that stalks Mordor. Neither dead, nor completely alive, Talion is brought back to the physical world with the wraith in tow. The wraith, whose name I am keeping out of this because: spoilers, acts as a guide of sorts for Talion, attempting to keep the Ranger in line when his anger might make him act too swiftly or without proper planning.

As Talion's shade stalks the land of Mordor he has to juggle the responsibility of avenging his family and friends, helping his wraith companion to regain his own memory, as well as assisting the trapped civilians and slaves of Mordor wherever possible.

Is the story 100% faithful to Tolkien lore? No, Talion and his companion are stuck somewhere between the physical form, the Dead Men of Dunharrow, and being classified as a Ringwraith. Frankly the introduction felt incredibly rushed and they writers did not do a very good job of explaining -why- you didn't die, as well as why this elven wraith is suddenly bound to you. Thankfully, once you get past the first 15 minutes or so the story begins advancing at much slower, more even pacing with well written, and well acted dialogue, interesting characters, and enjoyable quests.

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