Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review - Uruk killing Sim

First Look

Unlike previous Middle Earth titles, you can tell Monolith spent a lot of effort with this title. Everything about it is obsessively polished, with the devs going to great depth to make sure all the bits and pieces work. They do, for the most part; this is most assuredly not Watch_Dogs, and I cannot say I've encountered any game-breaking bugs. 

The voice acting is stellar, with the protagonist, Talion, and the Elven Lord speaking with a ton of gravitas, the orcs, sorry, uruks featuring that staple cockney voice, and even side / episodic characters delivering their lines accordingly.

I have a complaint though. While Middle Earth allows you to change keybindings, the AAA lack of understanding for keyboard and mouse is alive and well, and you will get 3-4 actions mapped to one single key.

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor - Control

Sadly, except being slightly frustrating, I can't say I didn't get used to pressing Space for hugging walls, sprinting, jumping, climbing, having a drink, going to sleep, throwing myself off a cliff, or hunting bouncy cats in the tall-grass.

As for graphics, the game looks good, even though I can't say it's flat-out impressive. The lighting is good, animations are fluid, but the texture quality really doesn't justify the system requirements, specifically the Ultra HD pack, which is an added download. 


Overall, I'd say Middle Earth is properly optimized. I ran it on Ultra, with only Texture Quality set on High, and had 60+ FPS consistently, with only small dips in frame-rate when plenty of particles were visible on-screen. That's the reason why I think the official system-requirements are a bit bloated.

The machine I tested the game features an I5 CPU, an AMD Radeon HD 280X, and only 8GB of RAM. Ambient Occlusion is probably the one having the highest impact on frame-rate, but other than that the game runs perfectly on Ultra. 

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor - Advanced Video Req

Worth noting is the added Ultra Texture Pack, which needs an additional 10GB of space, and improves the texture quality for about 5-10%. Somehow, I don't think that justifies the 6GB video-RAM requirement slapped onto it.

Below you can find the minimum Specs needed, and the machine I used to run the game.

Minimum System Requirements


Core i5-750 2.66GHz or Phenom II X4 965




40GB available


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD 5850

Operating System

Win Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Win 8.1




Gaming Rig


Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3300 Mhz


Corsair 8GB, DDR3


OCZ Agility3 60GB, SATA3


Sapphire Dual-X R9 280X

Operating System

Windows 7




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