While Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and the sequel are engaging action games set in JRR Tolkien’s iconic fantasy world, 2003 The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King will always be the better game. The epic novel trilogy, which was adapted into a blockbuster film series by Peter Jackson, has inspired many exciting fantasy games. The Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor duology combines Tolkien’s world with the iconic Nemesis System, but it fails to reach the line set by The return of the king.
The Midgard game developed by Monolith Productions puts a unique spin on JRR Tolkien’s world, and Shadow of Mordor’s The Nemesis System makes the world incredibly dynamic and interactive. The games cast players as Talion, a Ranger from Gondor who bonds with the spirit of the legendary elven smith Celebrimbor to challenge Sauron. The Nemesis system makes this mission deeply personal, with each Uruk the player encounters having a distinct personality and forming a unique relationship with Talion over time. While the Nemesis System stands out as one of the most innovative gameplay features in recent memory, the Shadow of Mordor games fail to reach the greatness of an older Lord of the Rings game.
Return Of The King is still the best LOTR game
While Monolith Productions’ Midgard game puts the innovative Nemesis System to great use, the LOTR: Return of the King the game released in 2003 more effectively captures the spirit of the franchise. The cooperative hack-and-slash game is based directly on Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, strictly following the film’s plot and transforming its gorgeous sets into actual interactive spaces. Players are able to embody iconic characters such as Frodo, Gandalf and Aragorn as they fight their way through hordes of Uruk, with co-op gameplay allowing two companions to enter battle together. While Shadow of Mordor game puts a unique spin on Tolkien’s world, LOTR: Return of the King is incredibly faithful and translates Tolkien’s themes of companionship into actual gameplay.
The world needs a new LOTR co-op game
While a third Midgard game hasn’t been teased or announced, Monolith Productions has confirmed that the upcoming Wonder Woman game will feature the Nemesis system in some way. With this beloved feature residing on a new property, now would be the perfect time for a new co-op Lord of the Rings games that truly capture the feeling of being on an adventure in a large community. A modern co-op game would let players band together to explore a new region of Midgard, like 2011 LOTR: War in the Northor might even serve as a direct adaptation of Tolkien’s novels rather than drawing heavily from Jackson’s films.
Many video game adaptations have put a unique spin on JRR Tolkien’s work, but no game has been as faithful as the co-op hack and slash game The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Titles like Shadow of Mordor and the dwarf-focused survival game Return to Moria is very innovative, but a cooperative experience that follows the actual events of Tokien’s Lord of the Rings The trilogy has been long overdue. Shadow of Mordor impressed with Nemesis System and original narrative, but Lord of the Rings games would be wise to return to the franchise’s roots.
More: Wonder Woman May Finally Bring Back the Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System
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Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Definitive Edition
- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Hack and slash, Adventure, RPG
- Single player
- PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC