Good Lord of the Rings or Middle Earth themed games have been few and far between. Battle for Middle Earth I & II were great, but not much else. Average seemed to be the descriptive word for most LoTR titles. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor breaks this pattern by actually being good. How? Oddly enough, it involves Batman.
This is the first decent Lord of the Rings game in years (counting War in the North), and what's more interesting is that it doesn't even follow the One Ring story, nor does it focus on any of the principal characters (the Fellowship). Instead it delves deep in the lore, and pulls out an original, though not necessarily an interesting plot.
Serviceable, but not great.
I mentioned Batman (specifically the Arkham series one), but he's not the only one who inspired this game. There's a bit of Assassin's Creed in there too, and maybe even some Far Cry. However, its all glued together cohesively by the Nemesis system, which manages to differentiate Shadow of Mordor from its sources of inspiration.
There are multiple limitations, and if you don't like murder, subterfuge, and assassinations, then this game might not be for you.
Why? Because without killing or playing with death, you're mostly left with faults and defects. Now let me explain.