Monolith and Warner Bros. released the first gameplay footage for a new Lord of The Rings game, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It's eight minutes long, all of which are worth watching. An impressive feat given our eroded attention spans.
The game is set in between The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings movies. I would say “books” but the game is clearly making use of the rights to Peter Jackson's interpretation of the material. It follows Talion, a ranger who loses his family and other important things when the baddest of bad guys Sauron reclaims the Black Gate.
I'll repeat the obvious: It looks like an Assassin's Creed game set in Middle Earth. So much so, in fact, that one former Ubisoft developer has accused the game of lifting code directly from Assassin's Creed 2. Whether that accusation has any merit doesn't change the fact that Shadow of Mordor is clearly inspired by Ubisoft's hit series. The enhanced vision mode, open world, climbing, air assassinations, and context-sensitive combat all look very familiar.
Not that this takes much away from the video. Familiar or not, it still looks pretty cool, and Monolith has discussed some ideas that are unique to Shadow of Mordor. It's Nemesis system, for example, takes your choices into account, changing the behavior of your targets, thus making every playthrough unique. Add to that a bunch of magical abilities (like possessing enemies) that are possible with a more fantastical setting and the comparisons to Assassin's Creed start to seem less important.
At the very least, it's great to Monolith do something with the Lord of The Rings license that's a little different than the expected real-time strategy or hack and slash games.