Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis System Is A Game Changer

Shadow Of Mordor’s Nemesis System Is A Game Changer

Death has become a little bit of a joke in most modern video games. Quick saves, lacking of challenge, the threat and consequences of death are simply not taken into account any more. Sure there’s rare cases of death being seen as a threat in the likes of Dark Souls, Zombie U and Alien: Isolation, but they don’t effect the game world.

The concept of the players death effecting the game world is intriguing, this is where Shadow of Mordor comes in. Death is simply a event, it’s a game changer. The Nemesis system gives the act of dying a sense of real impact, the game is getting harder, the enemies are becoming tougher, death has genuine consequences. Being slain by a enemy, seeing that enemy earn a promotion for the kill, becoming more powerful, it’s a oddly giddy experience. There’s a morbid curiosity to witnessing how the players death affects the game world.


The Nemesis system install a organic sense to Shadow of Mordor, almost to the point where it feels like a reactive world. The player simply isn’t there to interact with their surroundings, they’re there as part of a progressing universe, a cog in the system. The fact enemies can grow and improve by killing the player, gives each battle a sense of risk, making it a much more intense experience.

In the grand scheme of the Nemesis system doesn’t just focus on the player. There’s a deep rooted civil war that sees the game in a constant state of change. Taking out a captain open ups a gap for a new captain. When the player is killed, a new captain is created who in turn brings his friends into the other vacant roles. This kicks off a chain reaction or power struggles and recruitment attempts, a truly organic system changing the games world. The players death is always a huge event in the game, and the knock on effect can be felt for hours of in-game time.


Shadow of Mordor should be praised to the high heavens having such a brilliantly devilish system at it’s core. It’s rare that modern video games tries something truly new, something truly game changing. Similar systems could easily be put to use in other genres, such as sports and racing games. The concept of a rival remembering the player, improving from their last encounter, is mouth watering. The Nemesis system could usher in a new bloodline of video games where the worlds feel more organic and reactionary. Here’s to hoping that this is the first step into a whole new video game world.

Sean Halliday

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