Talion – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor’s central character – is a man holding a grudge , not to mention a very large sword. Having had his family murdered by Sauron’s armies, seeking vengeance on those who wronged him is set to become the driving force behind Monolith Games’ forthcoming Lord of the Rings spin-off when it launches on 30th September 2014 for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.
In preparation, we got our hands on an early build of the game to put it through its paces. Here are just a few of the ways we found that Talion can wreak his revenge…
Choose your target
As Talion enters a new area, he can survey the land for Sauron’s armies and check out which of his captains control the various sections of the map. If he’s encountered one of them before – or managed to wring vital information from their spineless foot soldiers – he can check out their strengths and weaknesses, see where they can usually be found and start planning his attack.
Dominate the weak
In the thick of battle, Talion can grab a weakened enemy and use his wraith powers to dominate them, turning them to fight alongside the outnumbered ranger. Alternatively, if you want to change tactics half way through a mission, Talion can grab an enemy and interrogate them, extracting vital intelligence about battlefield positions or the strengths and weaknesses of their evil comrades.
Spark a mutiny
If Talion’s targets are high-ranking captains in Sauron’s army, rather than heading straight into the thick of battle, he can choose to dominate the captain’s soldiers and guards to turn them against their master. Turn them into assassins, create a power struggle within their ranks – whatever it takes to cause chaos in the orc armies.
Make a fast entrance
Talion can use the element of surprise to take down enemies from a distance; aim at them with his bow and hit the cross button rather than unleashing an arrow, and he’ll become a fast-moving shadowy blur, covering ground at immense speed to pop up and slay his target.
Hitch a ride
Sauron’s soldiers aren’t the only things that Talion can bend to his will; throughout Middle-earth, wild, savage beasts and monstrous troll-like creatures roam the land. Dominate one of these and Talion can leap onto their back and ride them into the fray, scattering enemies or dealing savage bites from their jaws or lashing out with colossal attacks. Dismount, and the beasts will continue to attack, giving Talion a formidable ally.
Come back from the dead
Being part wraith, Talion is technically dead already – but his foes don’t know that. If he falls to a certain enemy, finding them on the battlefield can spark fear and confusion as, thanks to the game’s innovative “Nemesis system”, that enemy will recognize Talion – so slaying them second time around will be all the more satisfying.
Keep watch over Sauron’s armies
Orcish society is full of backstabbing – quite literally – that Talion can use to his advantage. Each gruesome character has their own ongoing grudges and power struggles going on behind the scenes, so if you spot one of these being played out, you can twist it to your advantage.
Do things the old-fashioned way
Relying on hack-and-slash swordplay or a precision arrow to an unsuspecting enemy can be immensely satisfying. Talion’s quick use of a blade lets him cut down large groups of enemies with brutal force, building up combos to unleash devastating, head-removing finishing moves.
Think you’ve got what it takes to take on Sauron’s minions and survive? Find out when Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor comes to PS3 and PS4 next month.