This Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor walkthrough video makes us wonder why Assassin's Creed never signed onto a Lord of the Rings contract.
In Shadow of Mordor, you play the ranger Talion. He packs some wraith-like abilities that draw a dark scar across the entirety of gameplay. Despite the fact his climbing, parkour, and fighting style is directly lifted from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series, there appears to be more at work here. In this open-world action-adventure, Talion doesn't just fight off hordes of lookalike orcs – well, he does that, too – but there's also a "Nemesis system" at play.
With this Nemesis system, Talion hunts down very specific bosses working for Sauron, all in the name of revenge for Talion's own death and wraith-y resurrection. Each boss seemingly recalls a previous encounter with Talion, back when he was a not-undead ranger for the nation of Gondor. The bosses spout some hatred about that previous encounter to Talion, then the fight's on.
This is all an attempt to make boss battles more "personal," but we'll see. It's unclear from this single video whether or not you did previously encounter these bosses in-game, or if you'll just have to take their word for it that you did. If it's the latter, then that's a weak ploy to personalize things and will account for little but a quick pre-battle speech. But if you did indeed encounter this one specific boss in Talion's previous life and, say, burned off half this orc's face, which he succinctly remembers, then yes, that's going to ramp up how personal these showdowns turn out.
Either way, this alpha footage looks great, and probably marks the first Lord of the Rings game I've been excited for since Lord of the Rings Online.