It’s time this little site of mine took on a new approach. No longer will you find just plain old reviews and list features, but from now on, I will tell you what I want, what I really really want every Thursday. These features, titled ‘Why I Want’ will bring ideas for new videogames, films, music, television shows and even books to the table, some entirely new, some sequels, prequels or even what features I’d like to see in a game that has already been announced. This is a new dawn (sort of) for my site, and I’d like you all to be a part of it.
To start it all off, I thought we’d all take a look at why a sequel to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor could be excellent.
In my original review, I said that I enjoyed Shadow of Mordor a lot, but thought it struggled a little in a few areas:
“Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is dark, gruesome and a lot of fun. Its clean menus, empty areas, easy difficulty and underwhelming moments do slightly tarnish what is otherwise a very, very good game”.
A sequel, built from the ground up for modern hardware could have the possibility to blow people’s minds. Building on the successes of the original game, those folks over at Warner Bros. could be onto a real winner with Shadow of Mordor 2, but I have some advice onto how they could truly improve on what’s already an impressive game.
Fix the boss battles
Shadow of Mordor featured incredibly smooth, polished gameplay mechanics. It’s combat system was inspired* by the likes of Rocksteady’s brilliant Arkham trilogy of Batman games. The combat flows beautifully, with gratifying gory kills and limb chopping. The way you can throw in Talion’s awesome set of skills into any fight is effortless. Every fight was like a glorious set-piece from the best action films you’ve seen. Somehow, however, the boss battles all fell flat.
Talion’s skills were incredible, but this made him feel too powerful at times. No matter how you upgraded your fighting abilities, the bosses were never too much to fear. Indeed, Shadow of Mordor found itself in a similar situation to the aforementioned Arkham trilogy in that it’s boss battles detracted from the overall experience. In a Shadow of Mordor 2, I’d either remove the underwhelming boss fights, or make them harder, more akin to the gruesome, large-scale bosses of the Dark Souls games.
Increase in variety of side-quests
The side-quest problem was Shadow of Mordor’s problem. It’s something that plagues many games, especially open-world affairs. Go there, kill some guys, come back. Fetch me those mushrooms. Go there, kill some guys and bring back their mushrooms. Enough. Shadow of Mordor was fun, but an increase in the variety of side-quests could be great for a potential sequel. Have more fun with Talion’s mighty powers – use them to create more wacky gameplay opportunities in the side-quests.
Less vast open spaces in the map
Shadow of Mordor is in no way the worst offender of this other issue that plagues open-world games, but at times the map did seem a little too devoid of life. Sure, running through different environments and taking in the sights is a great part of what makes open-world titles so appealing, but Shadow of Mordor is either brown or green. There’s little in the way of visual variety, but what is there looks fantastic, and the areas where there is orc life feel like living and breathing environments. Shadow of Mordor 2 should have less empty space on the map and perhaps a little more variety of locale, but, hey, it’s mordor, what can you do?
Make more of Talion’s manipulation abilities
Spoilers for the first game, but you know that feature that was harped on about since the original reveal? You know, where Talion can take control of enemies by putting his hand on their face? Yeah, that isn’t used until towards the end of the game. If Shadow of Mordor 2 lets you use this power from the start, they could create some very interesting army and base mechanics, where you could set up a base and fill it full of “recruited” orcs. They could totally steal ideas from games like Metal Gear Solid V, with you being able to choose who does what in the base, and level that up. Hell, they could even throw Player versus Player (PVP) stuff online, where someone connected online could visit your base and try to clear it of your soldiers, taking a band of their own with them. A move like this could certainly add a level of strategy and unpredictability to the game.
Don’t go in for clean menus this time around
This might sound odd, but I found the menu screens and HUD in the original Shadow of Mordor too clean, jarring with the dirt, debris and gore of the game’s world. Sure, make sure the menus are slick and easy to use, but, throw a bit of mud on them, will you?
With these changes in mind, Shadow of Mordor 2 could be a stonkingly brilliant game. The base is already strong, but with some tweaks (some more minor than the others), a potential Shadow of Mordor 2 could make the most of the interesting mechanics that were slightly wasted in the original game. A bigger, bolder title incorporating strategy, PVP elements and wickedly strong boss battles would be awesome. Make it happen Warner Bros.