MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

Growing up, I mostly played video games to tune out and unwind. However, when Shadow of Mordor came out when I was in middle school, I remember being fascinated by its mechanics. Shadow of Mordor has a few key game mechanics. First, it functions as a third person open world slasher/RPG. The user presses (on an xbox) X and Y to attack enemies with a sword. The user can sprint by holding A and moving the left stick forward. Additionally, the user can mount animals to better traverse the map. All of these are common with “third person RPGs”. The mechanic that really sticks out with Shadow of Mordor is its nemesis system.

Essentially, in SoM, the user plays as a “good guy” against an army of “bad guys”. At the start of the game, the user is alone vs the entire “bad guy” army (which is very, very big and diverse). Simply put, the goal of the game is to take over the entire bad guy army while also getting high level gear. All enemies in SoM can be converted onto your side (the good side). This gives the player tons to think about: do I kill the strongest enemies to get the best gear or convert them onto my side to fight against more enemies (and get more gear or convert more enemies in the future).

This creates a fascinating 3rd person rpg slasher + strategy game that (depending on the difficulty), requires a fair amount of thought and consideration (i.e. do you kill or recruit enemies?). SoM does a great job at representing this dynamic through a cool Lord of the Rings lens as well.

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