I’ve never been easily led when it comes to entertainment; if my friends think something is worthy of my attention, then it will take countless assurances that I will enjoy it before I even give that something a look. Take Supernatural for instance; I wasn’t too bothered about watching two overly handsome men run around in a world that I felt I had explored thoroughly in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. However, when my girlfriend asked for the BluRay box set for christmas last year, I made her wish come true, only to be told that I had to watch the whole thing with her. Long story short, I’m now on season 7 and I can’t wait to see what happens next. It turns out handsome men are better at slaying and keeping me captivated than Sarah Michelle Gellar ever was…read into that what you will.
The story of the Lord Of The Rings world is a whole different kettle of orcs (snigger). Sure, when the films came out, I found myself apathetic about the whole thing – I was about 13 and the dungeons and dragons element of a franchise set in ye olde lands full of swords and war just didn’t appeal. I wanted superheroes back then (and still do!), and never jumped into the world that everybody was raging about. Frodo was a short wimp with nothing to offer, and Gandalf was just Magneto in an unwashed robe. Sure, I saw the films, as my friends did, but only due to the hype. None of them, however, left me eager for the next film, and none of them made me want to pick up the books, despite being an avid reader.
Fast forward to October 2014, where am knee-deep in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and my interest in Tolkien’s world is truly peaked. In the game, for those unaware, you play as Talion, a Ranger from the Black Gate whose soul latches onto that of an elven wraith in his quest for justice against Tolkien’s big bad bruiser Sauron. I won’t write 600 words detailing the mechanics of the game – it would spoil your fun. I’ll just say that I’m 56% of the way through and I can promise you that SoM is a beautiful game; it’s full of those reliable ideas of old that, when mixed in with awesome new elements such as the nemesis system, make for a great experience and a quick route into the heart of the works of Tolkien.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor should be congratulated for its beauty, and for the effort that went into creating a new segment of an already closely guarded world. The wilderness that is Mordor is truly alive, and the horrors to be found in the dark corners only make for a more thrilling adventure. As I find artefacts, and unlock lore profiles, I find myself wanting to know more. As I did with the world of Harry Potter in my teens, I have begun to crave information about the fictional characters and beasts that exist in the canon; I am reading everything I can about the characters both in the game and those of the films; I’ve even ordered the BluRay box set of the original trilogy. I have a bug; the same one that was given to me by Harry Potter, Blink 182, Supernatural, Breaking Bad, most of the characters in the Marvel and DC comics roster, and WWE. SoM has infected me in much the same way, and I won’t be taking any medicines to shift the symptoms just yet.
I’ve already seen some keyboard warriors screaming like a gutted orc captain about the way that the written world is being further demolished by yet another modern effort to pay homage to Tolkien’s writings (you’d think they’d be happy it was being considered for such things?), but I don’t care. The portion of Middle Earth I am carving out for myself is one I am happy to spend hours in, only to leave it to find more decorations and knowledge. That is the essence of cultural indulgence, and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor has won me over, and then some.
Agree with Me? Leave a comment or contact me on Twitter to let me know your thoughts!
Thanks for reading!