Shadow of Mordor's hero--or heroes, as it were--shares little thematic DNA with Desmond Miles and his kin, however. You are a ranger called Talion--but you are also a bitter wraith who shares Talion's body, the two cursed by unknown forces, each seeking the answers that would allow for peace. For all purposes, Talion should be dead, but his spiritual homecoming has been delayed by this unholy union. Their journey of discovery takes them through Mordor and a nearby region, where the cracked earth and the sight of suffering slaves serve as warning signs; Death here is more common here than the healing herbs that sometimes rise from the decayed soil.
I'll allow the more erudite Middle-earth experts to debate the authenticity of this wraith-ranger hybrid. Talion certainly seems like a good fit for Tolkien's universe, with his stringy shoulder-length hair, his stoic manner, and his three-syllable moniker, which recalls names like Faramir and Aragorn. The wraith's identity has been previously revealed, but I'd prefer not to disclose it here: the murky flashbacks that depict his past deeds are all the more impactful when you've denied yourself the spoiler. In any case, the Talion/wraith dichotomy leads to Shadow of Mordor's slickest moments. The ghostly wraith slides out of Talion's body from time to time to talk with him and then dissipates in a vaporous sigh. When the wraith's anger becomes all-consuming, Talion's face melts away to reveal the apparition underneath. Vague whispers and murmurs bring an eerie chill to an otherwise parched setting; it's as if there is danger of being frozen even in this grim hellscape.
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