November Video Game Challenge Progress Report: Middle Earth – Shadow of Mordor

The holiday season can either be a stressful time or a chance to get together and spend some quality time with family and loved ones. Or if you want an activity that doesn’t require any physical effort or movement after stuffing yourself to a satisfied plumpness, like the turkey you just ate, then video games is the natural option. Now that the long Thanksgiving weekend of eating or scouring stores for the best Black Friday deals are behind us, it’s time I wrap up the final day of November with my video game progress report.


When I chose Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor as this month’s challenge, I admitted in the reveal post that it may be a tough one to take on. Social engagements, NaNoWriMo, and finding time to go through all the main story missions hasn’t been very easy to juggle. I made do with the time I had and I managed to progress the story at a reasonable pace in spite of the challenges the missions themselves turned out to be.

The graphics and open world aspect of Shadow of Mordor makes the game fun and enticing to play. Having always been a huge fan of RPGs and open world games, I like the ability and freedom to explore and do missions at my own pace. When a game is as beautifully created as Mordor, you’ll want a chance to just drink it all in. While taking a leisurely stroll in Mordor can be dangerous when Uruks or caragors (aggressive beastlike animals) are lurking about, it isn’t entirely impossible.

There are plenty of side missions in the game you can do, so you’ll never run into any danger of not having anything to do. It sometimes may feel like there’s too much to do, depending on how you look at it. Leveling up Talion in Mordor is built to gain points to use towards unlocking new abilities in his skill tree. This can be done by either completing missions or killing Uruks you find along the way. Completing some missions may require a little break in between, and I have found killing low-level or high-ranking Uruks to be the best way to give yourself time to prepare for the next mission you take on.

Missions can range between being relatively simple to damn near difficult to complete. Playing through the story missions often ask you to complete a specific task in a certain way before you can get to the next cutscene or finish the mission entirely. I personally have a hard time with missions that require stealth while killing a certain amount of Uruks it asks for. This often means entering enemy territory where swarms of Uruks are spread out throughout the area and strategically picking the ones who won’t easily trigger the beacon to alert other Uruks for reinforcement.

Combat is varied and an absolute joy to execute a certain set of button commands to get Talion to deliver his deadliest of attacks on his enemies. The most annoying part about the game is dealing with swarms of Uruks all at once. Add in a captain or warchief into the mix and you really have your work cut out for you. The challenge can be exciting, especially when you want to see how far you can withstand that many enemies against one lone ranger, but mostly it can be exhausting and frustrating. Being overwhelmed by so many Uruks at once gets really old very quickly when all you want to do is complete the mission as soon as possible. This is when missions can take much longer than it should to complete when you’re busy trying to fight off the hoards at every corner. I kind of feel like the game developers went a bit overboard with making the fights too hard.

Despite the amount of fun I was having with Mordor, I unfortunately didn’t meet my goal to finish the game by the end of this month. I actually had just one final mission left to complete. In order to do the final mission, I still had to complete a few tasks before the game allowed me to take on the last main story mission. Between Thanksgiving and personal life stuff I needed to take care of, it makes playing the game consistently really tricky to fit in this month.

It’s unfortunate when you’re really close to finishing a game and don’t actually get to finish it. I’ve had this happen to me on more than one occasion, but some things can’t be helped. I had too much on my plate this month to really focus on this game like I would have wanted. I know I’ll be able to finish the game at some point, but for the time being I’ll have to leave it as a sort of failed challenge. Overall, Mordor is a fantastic game and is certainly worth picking up if you haven’t yet. I look forward to the day I can finally add this to my shelf of finished games.

Check back next week where I’ll have an announcement to make regarding my video game challenges.

4 thoughts on “November Video Game Challenge Progress Report: Middle Earth – Shadow of Mordor

  1. So close yet so far eh? Sounds like you had fun at least! I never finished this game either, but mostly because I got distracted by other games at the time. What did you think of the nemesis system? Personally, it was probably my favorite part of the game. Nothing in the game compared to running into an orc that had previously defeated you and bringing them down a peg!

    Those times when you’d get surrounded by orcs though…it felt very much like Batman’s current combat mechanic, which was actually a good thing though. Building up that combo counter really made me feel like I was the unstoppable ranger the game said I was!

    1. I actually enjoyed the Nemesis system. I always got really ticked off when an orc killed my Talion and I felt really blood lusty to exact my revenge! Sometimes I succeeded and other times I needed an opportunity to isolate the harder ones to defeat from the rest of the hoard. I totally agree that it’s really satisfying to wipe those arrogant smirks off their faces! 🙂

      I have been told by friends that the combat system is very similar to Batman with a bit of Assassin’s Creed thrown in. As I haven’t played either games at all, the whole system was new to me. I do enjoy the combat, but it does get exhausting to have to fight too many Uruks at once.

    1. If you’re sticking to playing the main story missions, then no it isn’t a long game. It also depends on how good you are at completing the missions. For me personally, I have a hard time with some missions more than others. This really has more to do with my skill at playing the game from how capable I am in dealing with the hoards to pressing the right buttons at the right time to do certain attacks. Before I knew it, I was already on the last mission and it never felt like I spent too long on the game either.

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