Generally favorable reviews - based on 85 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 77 out of 85
  2. Negative: 0 out of 85
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  1. Oct 7, 2014
    Right now, it’s my main contender for game of the year, simply because, in its lack of pretension, its attention to detail and its understanding that video games first and foremost should be fun, it puts everything else I’ve played recently in its long shadow.
  2. Sep 30, 2014
    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is the most fun I've had with an open-world game in a very long time...Whatever your feelings on J. R. R. Tolkien and the Middle-earth milieu, it's hard to imagine any fan of open-world action having anything less than a great time with this game.
  3. Sep 25, 2014
    What would have otherwise been a competent sandbox game with solid combat mechanics and an interesting twist on a known fantasy world is elevated by the Nemesis System. Shadow of Mordor is the strategic person's action game.
  4. Oct 30, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is without a doubt the best The Lord of the Rings game that I have ever played, and quite probably the best game I've played this year. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great action game.
  5. Sep 25, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is that ultimate rarity. It tells a fun little story that would be enough to hold up most games on their own. But it also provides all of the tools to ensure that the most interesting tales to come out of the game will be the ones that were not scripted.
  6. Sep 25, 2014
    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor stands out from other open-world action games by putting a great new layer on top of the trail that Batman blazed. I was surprised at how well it integrates its excellent combat with rewarding feedback and progression not just for me, but also for my enemies. I
  7. Sep 25, 2014
    All in all, I really enjoyed Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. While the game had always been on my radar, I still find myself pretty surprised with how fantastic it ended up being.
  8. Jun 12, 2015
    For people who are alright with playing fifteen hours or so of Helm’s Deep-style carnage, Shadow of Mordor is a delight – and even for people who couldn’t care less about Lord of the Rings, the exciting combat and unique Nemesis System are more than enough to make the experience worthwhile.
  9. Dec 24, 2014
    As a gamer you owe it to yourself to experience Shadow of Mordor if not for anything else other than the Nemesis system because playing a single-player game never made you feel less alone.
  10. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Oct 30, 2014
    A precious package that is both incredibly challenging and rewarding in all the right ways. [December 2014, p70]
  11. Oct 14, 2014
    While there are a limited number of genuinely memorable landmarks in the world of Mordor, the real points of interest is the captains being hunted.
  12. Oct 10, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is without doubt the best Middle-earth game available on consoles.
  13. Oct 9, 2014
    A stunning title that mixes the best parts of other games, whilst introducing its own ideas.
  14. 90
    Combining the transversal and exploration of Assassin's Creed and the combat of the Batman: Arkham franchise, Monolith Productions has created not only the best title in the Middle-earth franchise, but probably the best action title of the year.
  15. Oct 6, 2014
    While not perfect, Shadow of Mordor surpasses expectations - it's fun, engaging and truly impressive. The Nemesis System is a stroke of genius and sets this game apart from its competitors. A serious contender for Game of the Year.
  16. Oct 6, 2014
    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor isn’t perfect. The somewhat repetitive nature of the side content and lame final acts prevent it from achieving our top score, but do not mistake us when we say this, because it’s one of the best games that we’ve played this year.
  17. Oct 6, 2014
    Dark, compelling, and occasionally unflinchingly brutal, Shadow of Mordor is Lord of the Rings for grown-ups. It’s not just a good game based on an established franchise, but a fantastic game in its own right and one that deserves to be judged purely by its own merits, and not by what has come before.
  18. Sep 30, 2014
    A great example of what´s possible to make with talent and passion and a popular license. One of the sleeper hits of the year.
  19. Sep 29, 2014
    The game isn't perfect - resurrecting foes can be frustrating - but those issues won't hold you back from enjoying yourself.
  20. Sep 29, 2014
    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is the first game on these new consoles that screams next generation game play.
  21. Sep 28, 2014
    A beautiful third-person action title that has deep role-playing game elements embedded firmly into it. You also get enormously detailed and deep environments, with unique enemies to populate it. This is simply a superb game.
  22. Sep 26, 2014
    Middle-earth just wants the player to explore it like a playground. You can climb up structures, leap from them to tackle a wild creature of the land, and even enlist your own group to drive the dramas that ensue. Shadow of Mordor paints the pictures that rest somewhere between bookends.
  23. Sep 26, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is a triumph, its final irony being that it's arguably the best and most pure Assassin's Creed game to date.
  24. Sep 26, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is the rare Arkham clone that transcends its status.
  25. Sep 25, 2014
    Although it comes in the wake of dozens before it, Shadow of Mordor is the definitive Middle-earth experience. It smartly avoids trying to adapt already existing plot points, instead crafting its own unique story and overall experience.
  26. Sep 25, 2014
    It’s a fun game that lets you experience The Lord of the Rings regardless of how much knowledge you have of the world coming in. Great combat and an amazing setting round out one of the best Lord of the Rings titles in years.
  27. Sep 25, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is influenced by other games, but not defined by them. Instead it takes pieces from some of the best games of the last few years, augments them with RPG mechanics and the new Nemesis system, and integrates them all so well together that it's sometimes hard to tell where one system begins and another ends. It's a remarkable achievement.
  28. 90
    If you are not overly familiar with the lore from the books and movies, you may find it difficult to appreciate most of the content available here, but you will still find a fantastically fun fantasy action title with a robust amount of content, with some familiar core gameplay.
  29. Sep 25, 2014
    By turning your every death into the start of a personal vendetta, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor makes you that much more invested in its open-world. The savage combat and satisfying stealth are just the means to exacting your ultimate revenge.
  30. Sep 25, 2014
    As an open world game set in Middle-earth, Shadow of Mordor delivers unique emergent gameplay, finely-tuned combat mechanics and a story which avoids typical fantasy fare. While the main storyline can be finished relatively quickly, there is a lot of content in Mordor for you to pursue however you like.
  31. Dec 8, 2014
    A solid side-story from an established universe with spot-on gameplay makes this a surprise contender for one of the year’s best games.
  32. Oct 26, 2014
    A very satisfying, Uruk Hai quality Tolkien experience.
  33. Oct 15, 2014
    It’s not without its flaws – the story could have been better focused and the campaign missions less repetitive – but Shadow of Mordor is easily the best video game set in The Lord of the Rings universe to date.
  34. Oct 6, 2014
    Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor is a remarkable game, with an uncharismatic main character surrounded by enemies whose design is really spectacular, lots of content to complete and guaranteed fun. And, on top of that, it's a game that, despite being clearly influenced by others, has its own style.
  35. Oct 1, 2014
    This is a great, fresh open world action adventure game, with a very well-implemented Nemesis system. It's an outstanding surprise, and we think it deserves a try.
  36. Sep 25, 2014
    It will appease hardcore fans of games like Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkham series, while introducing new gameplay mechanics that fundamentally change the structure of the game. A unique experience for any gamer indeed.
  37. Games Master UK
    Oct 22, 2014
    The Nemesis system alone is worth giving this a go, let alone the LOTR setting. [Dec 2014, p.70]
  38. Oct 17, 2014
    Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor definitely isn’t for everyone, but I can almost guarantee that everyone who gives it a shot will find something enjoyable about it, regardless of whether you are a Tolkien fan or not.
  39. Sep 30, 2014
    A game that delivers the fantasy goods in spades. The ultra-anal Tolkien lovers might take issue with Talion and how the game is presented, and the AI and frame-rate issues are clear. That being said, this remains a wildly immersive, engaging adventure with an excellent combination of action and platforming elements.
  40. Sep 29, 2014
    A tale of revenge, madness and brutality, this is not a fairytale epic quest, but a bloody journey of hunting and killing. And with the best Uruk-hais enemies the Nemesis system can provide. A good game, a great experience that can be enjoyed by fans and non-fans of Tolkien.
  41. Sep 26, 2014
    The world feels alive and treacherous, the combat gives you lots of gruesome options, and the enemy army is always evolving. It might not offer the challenge you crave, but if you enjoy killing orcs, there are two maps filled with the savage monsters and they're all looking for a fight.
  42. Sep 30, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is the utter proof that to build an engaging, deep and fun experience you don't have to innovate - not necessarily. There are small flaws, especially in the repetitiveness of the mission structure (especially in the second half) and in the open world maps, which are too empty even for Mordor. But that's not nearly enough to spoil the fun, and the Nemesis System is something every developer should look into (and probably will).
  43. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 25, 2014
    Despite the dark setup, Shadow of Mordor doesn’t offer any surprises. It’s a solid action-adventure spiced up with some RPG elements and a familiar license. As far as the license games go, Talion’s trek is well executed mesh of Arkham games and Assassin’s Creed. You could do a lot worse. [Oct 2014]
  44. Oct 18, 2014
    Despite the use of a lot of recycled mechanics, the developers have demonstrated passion and intelligence, mixing the ingredients and creating a product that, despite the similarity with some of the most acclaimed series, retains its uniqueness and features a campaign with a perfect rhythm.
  45. Oct 7, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is the best Lord of the Rings-game ever, maybe because it ignores so many of Tolkien's written rules. Thanks to the fantastic Nemesis-system and the familiar feeling of climbing and fighting, this game knows how to avoid the curse of bad licensed games.
  46. Oct 1, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor takes lots from other games but offers enough originality to make it worth your while. You should be even more interested if you're a fan of Jackson's movies - Monolith's game is based first and foremost on this particular license. The game mixes slasher and stealth elements very well, presents a juicy and brutal piece of Middle-earth's story and proves that neglecting this universe isn't a good thing.
  47. Power Unlimited
    Sep 26, 2014
    Slaughtering Orks with Assassin's Creed-like stealth-gameplay and beating them silly with the fighting-system we know of the Arkham Batman games: it's lot of fun for a good while. Shadow of Mordor offers raw, nasty action, plus enough collectibles, upgrades and other free-roaming tricks to keep you hooked. The biggest surprise though is that it's all interwoven by an interesting, almost Tolkien-worthy narrative.
  48. Sep 25, 2014
    The landscapes and exploration elements might not be on the level of some of its open-world brethren, but Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor delivers one of the best games to feature the intricate lore of J.R.R. Tolkien—and its innovative, addictive Nemesis system could redefine the way developers design enemy encounters in the future.
  49. Sep 25, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is an unabashedly challenging and complex experience, sometimes at the expense of accessibility.
  50. Sep 25, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is a visually stunning, narratively compelling action RPG that had me enthralled from start to finish. This is how you make a non-canon story in Middle-earth feel like it belongs, like it could be its own book or film in the world Tolkien created. It’s violent, it’s addictive, and it controls like a dream.
  51. Oct 6, 2014
    A lot in Middle Earth is reminiscent of other games: Fight like Batman, sneak like Ezio and his brethren, explore the world like in Red Dead Redemption. What sets Shadow of Mordor apart is the Nemesis system that works surprisingly well – even though it lacks drama in the end.
  52. Play UK
    Nov 16, 2014
    In many respects, Shadow of Mordor is a rip-off of other titles, but its one original idea - the Nemesis system - ensures that doesn't matter. Manipulation and subterfuge are always fun. [Issue#250, p.66]
  53. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Nov 16, 2014
    It could do with a little more polish, but Mordor is still one of this year's better surprises. [Dec 2014, p.88]
  54. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Nov 12, 2014
    Assassin's Creed meets Batman and gets up close and personal with the orcs. The most exciting visit to virtual Middle-earth in years. [Issue#246]
  55. Oct 17, 2014
    Finally a truly decent Lord of the Rings game, with an intriguing story, quality gameplay and exciting setting.
  56. Oct 16, 2014
    Still, Shadow of Mordor is a really fun game that being some innovation to an already strong start with the 8th generation.
  57. Oct 15, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is a good surprise for many reasons. We were not expecting anything from another Lord of the Rings game, but this one is a very good action packed open world RPG.
  58. Oct 15, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor expands the lore of the Lord of the Rings books in a respectful and great way and the Nemesis system is something that many developers should copy. There are some problems here, but the truth is that this is one of the best "Lord of the Rings" games ever made.
  59. Oct 14, 2014
    It may not be wholly original, but thanks to a compelling Nemesis System, Shadow of Mordor forges its own unique path, which marks it out for praise.
  60. Oct 10, 2014
    Fans and non-fans of The Lord of the Rings, especially the people who enjoy open world games – such as the two games that inspired Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – would be hobbit mad to miss this great action game.
  61. Oct 8, 2014
    If Monolith's ducks had all been in a row, Mordor could have been a top contender for the year, but even so, it's still worth getting into for no other reason than it delivers what I've wanted from Assassin's Creed since the start.
  62. Oct 7, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor combines different parts of other successful games, like Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham City, but the game has a unique selling point: the Nemesis-system, which really makes Mordor come to life. Even though the story is insignificant here, Shadow of Mordor remains a fun and original game.
  63. Oct 7, 2014
    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor remixes influences from both the Batman: Arkham and Assassin's Creed-series together with it's own ideas and the result is the best Lord of the Rings game so far. The story may not carry all the way but this is a violent, intelligent and varied action game that rewards creativity and strategy from the player.
  64. Oct 5, 2014
    This isn't the one game to rule them all, but it's a powerful experience in its own right, one that every fantasy enthusiast should pick up.
  65. Oct 4, 2014
    The take away from Shadow of Mordor is that it’s fittingly a game that should inspire games in the same way it has so clearly been inspired, taking strong systems from big games and adding a few new ones of its own. I’d love to see the nemesis system be applied in a more intricate way to the handling of intelligence assets in the world of international espionage, for example, or maybe even an interpretation of the interpolitics of mafia families in the mid century.
  66. Oct 1, 2014
    A good game in its own right, Shadow of Mordor doesn’t need nor improves upon Tolkien's fiction. Sadly, though, exploitable combat mechanics, repetitive missions and an unsatisfactory navigation system hinder its chances of becoming one of the best games of the year.
  67. 80
    A far better game than many would’ve imagined, not just in terms of its action and Lord of the Rings authenticity – but in bringing a genuinely new idea to gaming.
  68. Sep 30, 2014
    An engaging, fun and more organic open world than the ones we’re used to, but its essence lies almost exclusively in the prolonged, never-ending combat that in the long run wears a bit thin, no matter how well built it is.
  69. Sep 30, 2014
    So it's true. One does not simply walk into Mordor. But seeing as we're already here, we might as well pull some Uruk Hai strings, watch a few heads roll and make ourselves at home.
  70. Sep 30, 2014
    Fantastic gameplay, great graphics. Just wished the story was a little bit stronger.
  71. Sep 26, 2014
    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor plays heavenly thanks not only to the stolen gameplay system but the interesting never-before-seen Nemesis system. The story will certainly please fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings thanks to the interquel nature of the story. It’s just a shame that the characters from the original Tolkien novels that make an appearance are sorely underused and therefore pointless. Furthermore, the two maps are fairly small, and certainly so when compared to other games with an open world design.
  72. Sep 25, 2014
    I think Shadow of Mordor deserves a huge audience. I like it bordering on loving it. Had Monolith tightened up a few things, I’d probably love it bordering on considering it one of the best games of the year.
  73. Sep 25, 2014
    A hugely entertaining, tongue-in-cheek and fulsome experience, it’s a worthy expedition whether you’re a Rings fan or not.
  74. Sep 25, 2014
    Easy comparisons aside, this is a great game in its own right, narratively disjointed but mechanically sound, made up of excellent parts pieced together in excellent ways.
  75. Sep 25, 2014
    At the start of the game you're not much more than a lowly Ranger, sneaking through camps and silently slitting Orcish throats in the night. By the end of the game you're boldly strolling through those same camps, as terrified uruks whisper tales of the Ranger-turned-Gravewalker over fortifying gulps of grog.
  76. Oct 9, 2014
    These theoretical games are why it can feel like Shadow of Mordor is not “a good Lord of the Rings game” but simply a good game. But the truth is that it is a good game in spite of the fact that it has bones that threaten to burst from the fantasy skin laid overtop; that it is yearning to mutate out of this Lord of the Rings form and into something truly revolutionary.
  77. CD-Action
    Dec 13, 2014
    Batman’s Creed: Shadow of Mordor – Monolith’s inspirations are so obvious that you could call their game a rip-off. Its greatest sin though is the fact that it fails to vary gameplay the way Assassin’s Creed or Batman do and offers almost nothing apart from killing stuff and playing with the Nemesis system (which, I admit, has its moments). I got so tired with its repetitiveness that I wouldn’t have finished the game if I didn’t have to. [Dec 2014, p.48]
  78. Edge Magazine
    Nov 5, 2014
    It's a shame that the terrain you wander through as you do all this is so visually substandard. [Dec 2014, p.116]
  79. Oct 27, 2014
    Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor emerges as a highly entertaining proposal and is able to entertain for hours on end, unless you have an ethical problem with killing Uruks.
  80. Oct 9, 2014
    Although Shadow of Mordor's world never feels as alive as the ones from Skyrim or Fallout, the new Nemesis system is a great idea that makes normal battles something much more interesting.
  81. Oct 8, 2014
    With the Nemesis system, Monolith Productions has created a living, breathing power struggle in an otherwise disappointingly empty world. It alone makes the game worth playing.
  82. Sep 26, 2014
    But this invigorating combat and intriguing enemy hierarchy system exist in an empty-feeling world, and not even the lovingly written lore in the game’s appendices can inject much personality into Mordor.
  83. Sep 26, 2014
    Shadow of Mordor is really cool to play and introduce an interesting Nemesis System mechanic, but at some point it becomes a little bit too repetitive.
  84. This carefully designed, constantly evolving, and weirdly dynamic army of Orcs – especially those strong enough to repeatedly defeat me (more on that in a bit) — is what made me keep playing Shadow of Mordor through to the end, even as I felt growing dissatisfaction with the game’s stillborn and often threadbare narrative.
  85. Sep 25, 2014
    Ultimately, like many ambitious projects, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor doesn't deliver on everything it sets out to do.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 2575 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Sep 30, 2014
    With some issues aside, which I hope will be patched soon, the game stands to its hype. Extremely fun combat, with awesome visuals and not toWith some issues aside, which I hope will be patched soon, the game stands to its hype. Extremely fun combat, with awesome visuals and not to mention the much loved world setting of Middle-earth, which I'm sure even non-Tolkien fans will rejoice. This is a RPG that I cannot wait to delve further into. Full Review »
  2. Oct 1, 2014
    The game feels like a poor Assassin's Creed rip off.

    The camera is so bad that it becomes a challenge in itself. If you fight near a wall
    The game feels like a poor Assassin's Creed rip off.

    The camera is so bad that it becomes a challenge in itself. If you fight near a wall it completely goes crazy and points to random directions. It reminds me of old N64 games.

    The stealth mechanics are bad. It's an open world most of the time, so the enemies just have super small sight. You can kill 3 enemies stealthly when they are all side by side and nobody notices. It's made to look like you are stealth, but in fact I think they found out that in LoTR orcs are deaf and have very poor vision. Also, there is no "go behind the wall mechanics", so when you go close to a wall, the camera focus on the wall and the controller gets clumsy (since you can't walk by the wall).

    Combat mechanics are a bit better, but still clumsy. Fighting has lots of button smashing and the player moves in random directions sometimes. To compensate for the easiness of button smashing, the game throws tons of monsters at you at the same time. This changes the mechanic into: button smashing, run far from everyone (which you do faster than them anyway), wait for them to come in line, button smashing and repeat. Also, the bow mechanic is worse than Tomb Raider. The only ok point of the combat system is that you don't have to actually switch weapons (press square you use the sword, press R2/L2 you use the bow).
    The open world part seems to be ok so far and the nemesis/famous orcs part works well. The respawn system is very aggressive (more than Destiny, for example). It means it is virtually impossible to get rid of all orcs in an area before killing the big guys. You kill a bunch of them, walk 15 steps, look back and there are more of them again. The only way to clear an area is killing the bug guys. It is designed like this because the fighting is very easy 1vs1.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 30, 2014
    Finally we have a LoTR game worthy of many hours of our time! Shadow of Mordor brings free roaming adventure and game changing new featuresFinally we have a LoTR game worthy of many hours of our time! Shadow of Mordor brings free roaming adventure and game changing new features together to make one amazing game. One of those games where you get lost in its mechanics and find yourself putting the story on the back burner. For me that's a good sign of a game with good longevity.

    Nemesis system is great, combat is satisfying and gory to boot. Story is there but I find myself making my own story to enhance the main one. RPG elements are there. I especially like how the weapons upgrade with ruins you collect off of war chiefs or other notable enemies. Graphics are great. There is not much tediousness that comes with the open world genre. You can fast travel pretty readily conveniently. But this is one of those worlds where I prefer to get lost in and take that short cut threw the woods.

    Even if you are not a fan of Lord of the Rings check this game out. It is an amazing game on its own.
    If you are a die hard Tolkeinite the lore should not be that blasphemous to you either.
    Full Review »