Shadow of Mordor hits October 7, pre-order now to get "exclusive leaderboards"

Emanuel Maiberg at

It’s impossible to avoid the reductive pitch to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. It’s Assassin’s Creed set in The Lord of The Rings. Hopefully it’s a lot more than that—Monolith and Warner Bros. are certainly trying to present it that way—but even if it’s not, that’s still a damn good pitch. Today, the companies announced we’ll be able to find out for ourselves when the game’s released on October 7. They also revealed what extra stuff you’ll get if you pre-order the game.

There is, predictably, an exclusive skin: The Dark Ranger, which embodies protagonist Talion’s “darker side.” He looked dark to begin with, but okay. More interesting is the Test of Power Challenge Mode, in which you’ll face Sauron’s Captains to earn powerful runes. Curiously, The Test of Power will also give you access to an exclusive leaderboards, in which you’ll compete with other players. I don’t see why you’d want to lock leaderboards behind a pre-order bonus, but these pre-order bonuses also have a tendency of being offered as DLC after release, so maybe you could buy your way in later.

If you missed our story about the first gameplay footage from Shadow of Mordor, it’s definitely worth watching. Even as a Tolkien fan, I’m less interested in the game’s fiction, which focuses on Sauron’s return to Mordor between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, than I am in introducing monsters, magic, and other fantasy elements to the Assassin’s Creed formula.

To be clear, Assassin’s Creed and Ubisoft have nothing to do with Shadow of Mordor, but they’re aware of the similarities. One former developer even accused Shadow of Mordor of lifting combat and air assassination from Assassin’s Creed.