It’s natural to be sceptical about licensed video games, and everyone has the right to feel this way about them, especially when a blockbuster-sized one comes around with a burden of expectations and hype to live up to, despite having a broad ancestry of mediocre releases. Of course, we’re referring to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and the many Lord of the Rings titles before it. Much of this problem could be attributed to the Tolkien Estate, which has been difficult with game developers about the IP since the beginning, or you could say that game developers have just never done justice to the captivating beauty, depth, and lore of J.R.R.’s epic fantasy universe. It’s probably both, but we believe that Monolith Productions’ latest stands as one of the first commendable successes for the franchise in the video game realm, finding a balance in combining and improving upon elements drawn from obvious inspirations, while making a name for itself with innovative design that sets a benchmark for future games to meet.

Read the full review on Push Square by clicking here.