It’s been a few months since Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor launched and shocked everyone with how good its action-RPG open world gameplay could be. In the space since, Warner Brothers and Monolith have put out a slew of minor DLC runes, free upgrades, and other doodads. But this week marked the launch of the first $10 story-driven DLC campaign: Lord of the Hunt. We’ve had a chance to play with Torvin’s new beasties, and this is what we think.
Monolith is kind enough to start you off in the new campaign with everything maxed out on Talion, as though you’ve finished the main story campaign already. So SPOILERS AHEAD, as I’m going to briefly reference the game’s ending. I’ll let you know when it’s safe again.
At the end of the main campaign, Talion basically sticks around Mordor to keep fighting against Sauron’s rising forces and presumably he’s going to work on forging a new ring of power with which to fight against the Dark Lord. This story (at least so far), doesn’t carry on that narrative and instead we meet up with our dwarven hunter friend Torvin. It seems Sauron’s got some new Beast Master Uruks in Mordor and Torvin’s going to teach us how to use more animals of the area against them.
The video below shows you this intro quest, and we see Talion’s grown himself a nice beard, has gotten a bit dirty, and even has some dreadlocks like the love interest Lithariel. Though I’m betting Talion’s are from lack of bathing as opposed to a style choice. It’s clear that when we pick up with him he’s been fighting the good fight but not taking great care of himself, either. The story focused on Torvin, but as you progress you’ll see there are far greater implications for the future of Monolith’s successful new franchise. There are more story-based DLC coming, after all. And we’re sure there will be a sequel, to boot.
Lord of the Hunt takes place on roughly half of the game map from the original game, namely the more lush and vibrant Nurn, not the desolate seeming Mordor. All watchtowers are unlocked as well, and veterans will feel right at home in the familiar landscape. I was sad there wasn’t a new region to explore, but that quickly faded when I remembered just how fun the game is to play and that I was getting more of my favorite dwarf’s story, as well as a slew of new beasts to ride.
That’s the main crux of this DLC: the new beasts. The Caragaths are basically stealthier Caragors, allowing you to sneak up and insta-kill most mobs. The Wretched Graugs are puking Graugs, and there are more of them in this DLC than you ever found in the main campaign. Plus with the Shadow-Mount ability, you’ll find jumping to and fro between beast and free-running is a real joy. But, unlike the original campaign, this time the Uruk can ride the Graugs and Caragaths as well, adding a whole new layer of challenge and intensity to the fight.
The campaign itself plays out a lot like the others, with you seeking to dethrone the five new Beast Master Warchiefs via the nemesis system, all while working with Torvin to retrieve pages of his lost journal, and striking back against the Uruk’s that have wronged him. Overall, it’s just more of what you loved about Shadow of Mordor, with some new features, runes, and bad guys thrown in. If you didn’t like the game before, chances are you won’t find much to love here. But for fans of Talion’s quest (myself included), it’s like coming home.
At a much friendlier price than a certain other game’s DLC (ahem, Destiny), Shadow of Mordor’s Lord of the Hunt goes for about $10 and is out on PC, Xbone, and PS4. The season pass is also only $25, if you’re like me and know you’re bound to see where the DLC stories take you. I’ve enjoyed my time so far with Lord of the Hunt, and if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got some Warchiefs to take out.