Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System
Despite being very different games, both Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and the titles in the Batman Arkham series had lots of things in common. These similarities were mostly based on game mechanics and combat style. In other words, the overall sensation was somewhat the same.
What made Shadow of Mordor really stand out among 2014’s games was a mix of technical improvements, a different setting, and the unforgettable Nemesis system. The way orcs behave and relate with each other is a real highlight and should be thought of as a massive innovation.
Even though this statement may strike as an exaggeration, the Nemesis system is what makes the game’s world seem truly alive like no other game has actually achieved. Sauron’s army feels endless and when one of its captains is defeated, there’s already a new one waiting to fill the empty spot. Additionally, the hierarchy relationship between orcs adds a lot of depth to the lands of Mordor, making players feel the world keeps moving even without their presence.
Besides this feeling of dynamism, the Nemesis system also makes players feel they are leaving a mark in the world. Orcs remember if they were defeated (or killed Talion), and even reappear showing scars from previous battles. Mordor becomes a familiar place, in which already known foes become tougher as they gain experience and power. This also works for players, since any orc who kills Talion is immediately rewarded. This creates a very interesting revenge situation, especially when orcs remind players of their defeat in their dialogs.
The Nemesis system is an excellent addition and without it, Shadow of Mordor would have been a good, yet forgettable game besides other titles released in 2014. This feature works both as an enhancement to the game’s setting, and as a way of making the whole gameplay experience a lot deeper. Taking all of this into account, recycling and improving such a innovative idea really feels like a must, even for other gaming genres.