I am a little late getting to this one if I am honest, my uncle recommended it to me quite some time ago but I don’t think the recommendation sunk in at all. Then recently I saw an old friend on my Playstation and he was playing it and it reminded me of the fact it was recommended and I know he has particularly good taste in games so I picked it up for very little money and decided to give it a go when I had finished Digimon.
The game itself is actually really well done, you play a ranger who is killed after being forced to watch his wife and child sacrifice in a bid to resurrect Sauron however you don’t die, you are instead bound to a spirit which gives you the ability to move around again and get revenge for your family.
The game has some really good mechanics, it isn’t just a hack and slash sword fighting game in fact there are some really good stealth portions and if that is your play style you can play most of the game that way, I also enjoyed the archery side of the game, it felt a little like Red Deads bullet time where time slows down and you can shoot a few shots off.
The skill progression is also pretty good, you have a couple of skills you use, the first of which are just unlocked through killing bad guys, you gain experience and overtime level up which unlocks skills. The next is unlocked through spending the currency you get from completing missions or selling runes. Finally there are the runes themselves, as you beat bosses and sub bosses they drop items called runes, you can add this to your weapons for additional powers and as you beat better bosses you have chance at getting better runes.
In addition to this with the game being open world there are a lot of exploration things to do, each of the weapons you have has around 10 missions to get you more accustomed to using the weapon and there are around 25 missions where you help out your fellow man, I especially enjoyed the fact that to unlock these you had to rescue people from the orcs and they would tell you about the missions. There are also relics which unlock lore from the game to find and also an Elvish script that you find in pieces through the game.
I did struggle a bit at the start of the game, especially as I like to be the hero running in an taking on the world but I quickly learned this is a sure fire way to die a lot and adjusted my play style to be a bit more stealthy and by the end I was destroying entire armies single handed.
The boss and sub boss system was pretty unique too, I can’t recall seeing anything similar in any other game, in essence there are certain orcs who are promoted based on killing you or each other and you create gaps in their lines by taking them out, each of them almost has a boss leading up to the more powerful warchiefs. It’s pretty hard to describe now I am trying to but honestly it really makes the game, with them having vendettas against you or having abilities which render some of your skills useless.
The only thing that really lets this game down for me is the last two boss fights, after struggling with getting through the min story and all the side quests you end up facing two bosses who are basically just press the right button at the right time, this does kind of let the game down a lot and cheapens the who experience, I’d still recommend playing it as it is really fun just be prepared for a lame duck of an ending.