Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor looks good but is it Lord of the Rings?

No hobbits here, sir
Aug 12
// Alasdair Duncan
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has gotten a lot of people excited because of its seemingly great combat and interesting reputation system but is it me, or does it just look like a generic dark fantasy game? I'll be honest, m...
Middle-earth photo

Engage in psychological warfare with Shadow of Mordor's Wraith

Dominate and terrorize, you hellion
Jul 31
// Brett Makedonski
You might've thought that Orcs were all fleshy and a good ol'-fashioned sword through the squishy parts would be enough to take care of them. False. Some might fall to the blade, but you'll need something decidedly more cere...
Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor shall not release on October 7 anymore

It's September 30 now
Jul 25
// Brett Makedonski
October is going to be ridiculously packed with high-profile videogames, so the news that Warner Bros. has decided to fast-track Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's release from October 7 to September 30 is certainly welcom...
Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Epic space battles. Huge mecha. And a gorgeous Xenosaga-style art direction. Monolith Soft's new game is called Xenoblade Chronicles X and it looks absolutely stellar. Do want. Hiroyuki Sawano, composer on numerous anime series like Attack on Titan, is handling the music on the upcoming Wii U project, which should be launching sometime in 2015.

Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

New Shadow of Mordor trailer moves like a ghost, fights like a devil

Stabs like a Lord of the Rings character
Jun 05
// Brett Makedonski
We spend so much of our lives working. When I die, if there's some sort of afterlife, I want to just chill out. Make it look like a never-ending Corona commercial or something. Doesn't that sound nice? That's not a position ...

First hands-on of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor won me over

May 22 // Dale North
[embed]275215:53980:0[/embed] Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC [previewed])Developer: MonolithPublisher: Warner Bros. GamesRelease Date: TBA 2014 (For the full rundown, see our initial preview on Shadow of Mordor.) One does not simply walk into Mordor for the first time without understanding of the game’s structure. Ranger for the kingdom of Gondor, Talion, is well-equipped to do battle Batman-style chops and new Wraith powers. But he can’t do it alone. He’ll need to influence Orcs to take Sauron’s army at its heart, turning it inside out. So while this is a third-person action sandbox, there’s an ongoing strategy game tied to your choices. Using the power of Wraith you’ll build up, orc by orc, until you have own own sizable army. Or tear Sauron’s army down, orc by orc, until you can properly take it down.  What’s interesting is that you’re completely free to decide how you’ll go about achieving this ultimate goal. Every enemy in this huge world can be a part of your army if you work hard enough at it. A screen with orcs laid out by rank lets you dig down and gather intel so that you may use its strengths and weaknesses to your advantage. You can mark any enemy from this screen and then jump into the world to hunt them down and use them as you will. I started out by trying to take out one of the bodyguards of a captain that I wanted to control. Hunting him down could have been easy, but he was completely surrounded in an orc camp, and one mistake could have the entire camp coming down on me. Using fast travel, I got close to the camp’s gate, letting me use some of my Wraith powers to scan through walls to find my target and mark him. Going in, I used stealth to sneak around the walls of the camp, staying close to the leftmost mountains, moving as slowly as possible. Hidden in the grass, I happened upon a platform where my mark just happened to be taking a break, urinating against a camp wall. I thought it would be a perfect time to take him out. I used stealth to sneak up behind him but my takedown attempt was unsuccessful, which had him sounding the camp alarm to warn of an intruder. Suddenly I was running for my life, using Shadow of Mordor’s free traversal to get as far away from the camp as possible. I had several on my tail, so I took advantage of verticality to hop over the camp walls, scramble up in the mountains, and let my health uncover. Eventually I got back in and found the target mostly alone. Instead of sticking to my original plan of capturing him, I killed him on the spot. That felt good. I picked another bodyguard from the army screen with the hopes of taking over his mind with Wraith powers to use him against his boss. This hunt was a bit easier, and it let me try out Shadow of Mordor’s Batman-like combat system. Hard hits, combos, blocks, and parries are all here, but the Wraith powers add another dimension with ranged and psychic attacks. All of this at your disposal makes Talion feel like a walking army. It’s no problem for him to take a small group of orcs out on his own, and with careful approaches and proper use of the Wraith powers, he could probably take out a sizable unit alone.   This bodyguard lived — I took his health down just enough to be able to dominate him, making him a follower. From there I was able to command him to go after his boss, the war chief, my ultimate target.  I followed my new underling to oversee his mission and saw that while he was strong enough to make a dent in his boss’ life bar, he would die if I left him alone. So I joined the fight and took him down to next to nothing. But instead of killing him, dominated him as well, saving him for an even bigger takedown later. A Monolith rep told me that it’s possible to take a large group of captured orcs together to form a small army to take out a bigger target. Or you could just use their bodyguards to help you kill them all. Or, if you’re good enough, use stealth and/or brute force to take them all out on your own. It’s totally up to the player on how to approach the overall goal, with missions opening up along the way to let them create their own stories. Ridable beasts, customizable weapons, and a world so big that I can’t imagine seeing it all will make this one heck of a sandbox to get lost in.  If you're a fan of Assassin's Creed's open-style sandbox play, know that this takes it and turns it up a few notches with better combat and an underlying strategy side. Again, less than an hour of play had me wanting more.  Look for more coverage leading up to its release worldwide on October 7, for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.  
First-hands on
I had absolutely no expectations for  Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I’ve never played any of the franchise games, and I knew very little about the upcoming title. But my first hands on was a very pleasant surprise. A mere 45 minutes of play of its sandbox game got its hooks in me and now I'm totally sold.   


Voice cast for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor revealed

You know these folks
May 22
// Dale North
Upcoming game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be voiced by some of the best in the business. Troy Baker will voice lead character Talion, while Nolan North, Laura Bailey, Alastair Duncan, and Liam O'Brien hold down other ...
Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is looking stabby

Runes and weapons trailer
May 19
// Jordan Devore
This video for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is supposed to be about runes, which are dropped by fallen foes and used to upgrade protagonist Talion's weapons. And it is. But I can't not concentrate on how ridiculous the act...

Monolith's X is still on track for 2014, for both Japan and the west

Phew! And other launch dates revealed.
May 08
// Dale North
Monolith's Wii U game, which I guess we're still calling X, is still on track for 2014. Nintendo's financial results says that that "brand new title developed by Monolith Software Inc" is due out this year not only in Japan, ...
NOLF photo

Trademark spotted: No One Lives Forever may live again

Nothing's gone forever
May 02
// Steven Hansen
No One Lives Forever's rights disappeared last year. Activision said it didn't have them and, in short, no one seemed to have them. Siliconera spotted trademarks for No One Lives Forever, The Operative, Contract J.A.C.K. and ...
Middle-earth photo

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor set for release on October 7

New trailer and pre-order bonuses revealed
Apr 02
// Alessandro Fillari
It's been awhile since we last heard from Monolith's new action-adventure title set in Tolkien's fantasy universe. Now, WB Games has revealed the release date, and fans will get to experience Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor&nb...
Middle-earth photo

Monolith talks cross-gen differences in Shadow of Mordor

PC, PS4, and Xbox One are the focus
Feb 21
// Jordan Devore
One of the big talking points for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has been developer Monolith's Nemesis system, which involves procedural generation of orcs ranging from their fighting styles to their individual rank and role ...

Brand new footage from Monolith's X for Wii U

Feb 13
// Dale North
On today's Nintendo Direct, brand new battle engine footage from upcoming Monolith Soft Wii U game X was shown. Aside from the uninterrupted gameplay, Nintendo didn't give much more for us to go on other than that the battle...
Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

First footage of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Is there anything Talion can't do?
Jan 23
// Jordan Devore
My initial reaction after hearing about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and seeing this eight minutes or so of footage was that it's a shame Monolith didn't come with an original setting. Even if you aren't a diehard Tolkien ...

Preview: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Jan 23 // Alessandro Fillari
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC [previewed])Developer: MonolithPublisher: Warner Bros. GamesRelease Date: TBA 2014 The developers at Monolith weren't shy to talk about the reputation of movie games, and they were clear to share what their influences were, in particular Batman: Arkham Asylum. In terms of production, the Batman series served as motivation during the development of Middle-earth. "We saw Batman: Arkham City as the model," said director of design Michael De Plater, while discussing influences. "We looked at that game as the way to make licensed properties. It's best to make the best game you can first, before trying to make good movie game." Set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, players take on the role of Talion. As a ranger for the kingdom of Gondor, Talion was a guard for the black gates on the eastern side of Mordor -- but on a night like any other, a massive army of Orcs siding with Sauron invaded. Killing many of his allies and loved ones, he is left for dead by the orcs. Unexpectedly, Talion is saved from death by the spirit of a Wraith and given new life and along with new powers. From here, our hero makes his way into Mordor to seek revenge, learn why the Wraith saved his life, and discover what the forces of Sauron have planned. Of course, this story may raise some eyebrows among loyal Tolkien fans. It's somewhat of a departure from the lore, and plans to stick more to the film's style, but the developers at Monolith are confident that fans will enjoy the narrative, as it's one of the bigger focuses of Middle-earth. The lead writer of Shadow of Mordor is Christian Cantamessa, who was also the lead writer of Red Dead Redemption, and he's placed a lot attention on fleshing out Talion and making sure it's in keeping with Tolkien's lore.As an open-ended sandbox action game, players will be able explore Mordor as it was before the return of Sauron. In fiction, Mordor was mostly known as a volcanic wasteland, but Middle-earth plans to show off areas that were filled with wildlife and flora untouched by the volcanic ash of Mt. Doom. Players can even interact and use items and animals from the game world for scouting and combat purposes. Large trees and bushes allow for cover during stealth, and utilizing bait can manipulate aggressive animals against the orcs. As a ranger, Talion possesses abilities that suit him for mobility, and melee and ranged combat. Batman: Arkham Asylum was a key influence and the developers took notes from the design of its action and traversal. Combat utilizes a similar free-flow fighting system from the Arkham series; specifically where players can freely move between individual enemies in a group and maintain combos to unlock special moves and power ups. To take things further, Talion has access to a series of new abilities while in his Wraith form. In this phase, he can enter the Wraith realm (in similar fashion to how Bilbo Baggins uses the One Ring) and observe enemies and points of interest in the game world. Moreover, he also moves much quicker and possesses enhanced archery and combat skills while in Wraith form. When engaging enemies, Talion can switch in and out of his Wraith form to expose weaknesses in enemies and pull off quick shots with his bow and arrow.As expected in a sandbox game, exploring and taking on new challenges will lead to great rewards, such as experience points and journal logs detailing more of the story and history of Mordor. Talion can also acquire ability points through leveling up which can be spent on unique skill trees for his Ranger and Wraith abilities. At the beginning, players will find the offerings somewhat bare, but eventually when you gain new moves and skills, such as a teleport attack called Shadow Strike, Talion becomes a force to be reckoned with. In order for our main character to exact his revenge on Sauron's army, players must create chaos in Mordor to undermine the influences of the orcs in the various zones. This is accomplished by strategically battling through the hierarchy of command by taking out enemy strongholds and camps, to draw out Sauron's Lieutenants to cripple their forces. Of course to do this, players must start at the bottom. In each zone of Mordor, there are a number of captains and war chiefs to combat with, and even pit against each other.  During our presentation, we saw Talion stalking an Orc captain by the name of Ratbag the Meathoarder. Starting with the stealthy approach, Talion takes out various orc soldiers utilizing both ranger and wraith abilities before breaking out into a full-on brawl with the entire camp. Realizing he's outmatched, Ratbag makes a run for it, but is captured when Talion uses a Wraith arrow to immobilize him.From here, players can approach the captain and interrogate him to gain Intel about the other officers in the zone. In a surprising twist, Talion can utilize his wraith abilities to take control of weak-willed captains and use them as temporary pawns in his struggle against the armies of Mordor. The player can assign tasks such as spying on other unknown officers, or assassinating other captains and war chiefs. Using his Wraith form, Talion marks Ratbag as a temporary ally and assigns him a mission to assassinate a war chief by the name of Orthog the Troll Slayer. This decision will create a brand new mission within the zone, which players can choose to accomplish at their leisure. Skipping ahead, we start the assassination mission and see that Ratbag is the second in command to Orthog. Moreover, the captain-turned-pawn has his own band of orcs at his side which will allow for Talion to gain the upper hand against Orthog, but also have a group of orcs fighting by his side under Ratbag's leadership. Surprisingly, the central enemies within Sauron's army are all procedurally generated by the game. Known as the Nemesis system, Middle-earth aims to create a greater level personality and uniqueness for each playthrough. The orc characters seen in the presentation will likely be entirely different for players. Since these characters are randomized, their knowledge and fighting abilities will be completely different for each player and for every repeated playthrough of the game. Everything from the names, fighting style, roles in Mordor, and their personality will be different for each player, according to Monolith. "We put a lot of effort into actually letting players make their own personal and unique bosses and villains in a living world, that was a big focus for us," De Plater said of the Nemesis system. These are not just for cosmetic purposes, but by design for strategic gameplay. During key moments in battle, Talion can acquire Intel from captains, such as strengths and weaknesses about other officers in Sauron's army. How deep their knowledge goes largely depends on the procedural element of the game's engine. One captain may have a deep knowledge of others in the zone, while another may be largely ignorant of who's who.The experience of death leaves a lasting impression on the game world and the morale among the forces of Sauron. Even the lowliest of grunts have potential to become a serious threat to Talion. When Talion is killed in battle, the Orc who lands the killing blow will be promoted in rank and added to the list of officers that Talion will need to take out. Even the lowliest of minions can kill Talion, and their promotion will create a new challenge for players. When revived at the various Forge Towers across the zones, they'll see that their death has motivated forces of Sauron, which will make creating chaos a bit more challenging. Moreover, enemies that escape from Talion during combat will live to see another day and alter their tactics for when players encounter them again. This creates another layer of challenge that emphasizes strategy. Some battles may not be worth running blade first into and will only result in player’s death and a new captain or war chief to eliminate. Even in this fairly short showing of the game, it's clear that the content in Shadow of Mordor is massive; and the developers plan to support players who may feel a bit lost. Warner Bros. Games and Wikia plan to release a companion app for tablets called Palantir. In real time, players can have the app on standby and learn details on the lore, locations, central characters, and other details while playing the main game. Though it's not really necessary for the game, it's a neat little app to have, if you're curious about any references or characters in Tolkien's lore. This title is quite the departure for Monolith games, as it's their first sandbox action game. This presentation of the vertical slice for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was pretty impressive, and shows the ambitious nature of the game. I left quite impressed with what Monolith has got in store for Middle-earth. The Nemesis system in particular is an inspired idea that will definitely incentivize players yearning for a deep single-player experience to revisit. While it’s still a ways off, and showed a number of graphical quirks and glitches that need to be cleared up, it's gotten me interested in what's in store.
Middle-earth preview photo
Sandbox chaos in Mordor
Whenever games tied to a major license are announced, there's usually a collective grumble from fans. Titles based on movies, television, or comics usually don't end up well, as most of the time they're developing with the fo...

Middle-earth photo

New screenshots for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Take down the forces of Sauron in this new open-world title
Dec 16
// Alessandro Fillari
Last month, we saw the reveal of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a new open-world action/RPG set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. While we didn't get a look of the game, we did learn what to expect ...
Middle-earth photo

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor announced

Cross-gen action/RPG prequel to The Lord of the Rings
Nov 12
// Alessandro Fillari
As the second film in The Hobbit trilogy is set to release next month, WB Games is gearing up for its return to Middle-earth. In the upcoming December issue of Game Informer, the publisher lays out its vision for this brand n...
Lord of the Rings photo
Lord of the Rings

Console MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth coming to PC

Well, this is a bit awkward
Aug 15
// Jordan Devore
Monolith took a crack at making a multiplayer online battle arena experience for consoles with Guardians of Middle-earth. It was an admirable attempt -- and I enjoyed the game quite a lot for what it was, which was a trimmed...
Betrayer photo

Betrayer is the debut game from Blackpowder Games

This striking trailer is brought to us by ex-Monolith devs
Aug 05
// Alasdair Duncan
If you make a trailer that combines a striking look and an unusual setting, you're sure to get my attention. This trailer for Betrayer, the debut game from Blackpowder Games, does just that. The studio was started by former ...
No One Lives Forever photo
The studio behind James Bond almost stopped Cate Archer in her tracks
We've been hearing little snippets of information concerning No One Lives Forever recently, like how no one actually knows who has the rights to the IP. A new interview on the Jace Hall Show reveals how the original game may ...

Project X Zone photo
Project X Zone

Twist that knife just a bit harder, Project X Zone

Jun 28
// Tony Ponce
Thanks, guys. Really appreciate that. That's so wonderful. jiggerstick [Tumblr via Tiny Cartridge]
New open world Wii U game photo
New open world Wii U game

Open world Wii U game 'X' uses flying robots

Team from Xenoblade is developing
Jun 11
// Patrick Hancock
The Wii U game "X," being developed by MonolithSoft, was show again at today's E3 Nintendo Direct, and holy gee whiz does it look amazing. As an open world game, the player will be able to pilot a giant robot in what seems l...
Project X Zone photo
Project X Zone

Push the buttons: Project X Zone demo is up

Five-use limit is weaksauce
Jun 05
// Tony Ponce
If you've been itching to put the SEGA X Capcom X Namco Bandai strategy RPG extravaganza, Project X Zone, through its paces, you finally get your chance today. "Demo A" -- a combat scenario with the teams of Ryu & Ken (St...
Localized Wii U games photo
Localized Wii U games

SMT X Fire Emblem, Monolith Soft's X reconfirmed for West

Confirmed before, EXTRA confrmed now
Apr 25
// Tony Ponce
[Awkward Zombie by Katie Tiedrich] Two of the more mind-blowing Wii U announcements in the past few months have been Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem and Monolith Soft's "X," the spiritual successor to Xenoblade. For the soft...
GoME DLC photo

Kili comes to Guardians of Middle-earth

More DLC for the console-based MOBA
Apr 18
// Harry Monogenis
Alright guys, we've got ourselves yet another downloadable character for Monolith's MOBA game, Guardians of Middle-earth. This time around, we've got Kili entering the fray. Classed as a Striker, he comes with some surprisingly good moves. Wound, for example, shoots an arrow that stuns Guardians and creatures, while Flare blinds then reveals hidden enemies. Anyone given Kili a go?
No One Lives Forever photo
No One Lives Forever

No one knows who owns No One Lives Forever

That headline could've been much more confusing
Apr 08
// Alasdair Duncan
Part of the problem facing older franchises is that after the dissolution of a developer or publisher, the rights to the IP are inevitably a tangled mess. Such is the case with the humorous spy adventure N...
Guardians of Middle-earth photo
Guardians of Middle-earth

Free map skin, new guardian in Guardians of Middle-earth

Have a look at GoME's latest striker
Mar 20
// Harry Monogenis
Just a few days after the release of the White Wizard himself, Monolith has today launched yet another guardian for its console MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth. Unglob is classed as a Striker and her abilities certainly seem ...
Saruman photo

Guardians of Middle-earth now has Saruman

White Wizard released as DLC
Mar 15
// Harry Monogenis
Guardians of Middle-earth, Monolith's MOBA which launched on consoles last December, has had yet another downloadable guardian released. This time around, it's Saruman the White. Saruman servers as an Enchanter and has some ...
Guardians of Middle-earth photo
Guardians of Middle-earth

Gloin-Hit! Monolith announces newest playable character

That's one mighty fine beard
Feb 08
// Jason Cabral
Monolith may be drip-feeding its MOBA DLC to their customers, but for those avid Guardians of Middle-earth fans, a new character is about to enter the battle. The newest addition to Guardians roaster is Gloin, father of Giml...
Monolith Soft on 3DS? photo
Monolith Soft on 3DS?

Monolith Soft also working on a 3DS game?

Pretty tease art
Feb 03
// Dale North
After the announcement of an upcoming Xeno-series game from Monolith Soft for the Wii U last month, I had everything I needed from them for this year. But today a surprise pops up -- another potential Monolith Soft game for 3...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...