GI: The final hour of Monolith’s Middle-earth adventure falls flat, as the story falteringly tries to pull together a number of disparate threads, and the mostly triumphant nemesis system fails to stick the landing. Even with these and other features that rubbed me the wrong way, I can’t help but cheer for Monolith’s ambition. Shadow of Mordor is an unabashedly challenging and complex experience, sometimes at the expense of accessibility. I’m thrilled that we’ve got a new franchise in the fertile ground of Tolkien’s fiction. Add in a borderline revolutionary approach to mission design, and this is a firm foundation for a stellar new series.