Shadow of Mordor is an excellent game that I recommend to any fan of action-adventure, open-world gameplay or interactive narrative. In particular this is because of the Nemesis system. The short version is that enemies who encounter you will remember you later and all have unique stats, names and titles. When you’re killed, time advances and you return after various power struggles in the orc hierarchy have settled. I realize that this doesn’t sound all too amazing on its own, but trust me, it IS incredible. I found myself making up stories for each of the captains and warchiefs I encountered throughout my personal gameplay.
This is a tale of one such adventure in Shadow of Mordor. There will be no plot spoilers in this tale, but if there are in the future I will make sure to warn you.
Please keep in mind that everything told here (other than the stronghold) is randomly generated – none of what I’m about to tell you is going to be the same for each player’s playthrough.
Gharm the Vile is… kind of a sad tale.
See, I’d just recruited him on the basis that he had a lot of weaknesses i could easily exploit (to recruit an orc, you need to brand him, which generally requires either beating him up a lot or a stealth-branding). I wanted him to become a bodyguard for Borgu the Mangler, one of the orc’s warchiefs. Borgu had already managed to kill me twice, and was immune to most of my attacks for reasons too deep in the mechanics to explain here. Just know this guy was BAMF. On top of that, the mission used to call him out to fight (you gotta do that for warchiefs) involved raising the alarm in an Uruk stronghold and fighting until you’d killed 35 orcs, which generally meant that by the time he came out to fight, I was surrounded and close to death.
However, if Gharm could become Borgu’s bodyguard, I’d have an ally directly in Borgu’s entourage. He would be the third or fourth such bodyguard, so I was planning on killing Borgu as soon as Gharm became a bodyguard.
So Gharm goes on a recruitment drive to impress the warchief, and I notice that while he has a ton of weaknesses, he also hates getting injured, which means that if you don’t kill him outright, he’ll fight you until you die. (My exact words were “He SHOULD be afraid of everything… but he ain’t. Huh.”)
I interfere in the recruitment so he’ll get his new recruits (naturally) but we ended up doing it in a stronghold, so we get surrounded by enemy Uruks. He actually ends up getting the bodyguard promotion, but we’re surrounded by enemies. We fight bravely, both of us bleeding everywhere (well, our hp was low, you get the idea) and all of the supporters he’d just won dead.
And then he gets killed in the fight, and I actually yelled out “No!”
I had to run at that point, more were coming and I was too low to win… poor guy… why’d he recruit in a stronghold…
Again, aside from the location of the stronghold, that entire story occurred through random generation and my own actions. Stories like that are what Shadow of Mordor THRIVES on, and I intend to tell you all more. I’m kinda sad I never got a picture of Gharm to show you… It would’ve been a nice punch to the gut.
In the next Tale of Mordor, I’ll tell you about Humgrat the Hunter, and how my planned vengeance for Gharm turned sour… in all the right ways.