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Shadow of Mordor's Final DLC is the Epic Final Showdown Against Sauron

First degree Mordor.


If you've ever wondered what it would be like to fight Middle-earth's greatest evil, the Dark Lord Sauron, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor's final piece of downloadable content will pique your interest.

The Bright Lord, slated to drop soon, expands on the story of Celebrimbor, the wraith haunting Talion that gives him his mind-bending powers. In Shadow of Mordor, we saw briefly into the final tortured years of Celebrimbor's life, flashbacks showing his involvement with Sauron and the forging of the One Ring. In The Bright Lord, you'll control Celebrimbor as he recruits his own Orc army and marches against Sauron, culminating in the epic showdown fans have been waiting for.

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Now Playing: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

If you saw Shadow of Mordor through to the end, you'll know that Sauron brought Celebrimbor under his mental dominion and forced him to create the One Ring, the famous piece of jewelry that wreaked havoc in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. But just as Celebrimbor finished the Ring, he broke Sauron's hold on him and fled with his masterpiece. After amassing an Orc army to stand against the Dark Lord, Celebrimbor met his false friend in one-on-one combat, the results of which were not in Celebrimbor's favor.

"The big revelations we focused on in Shadow of Mordor were Celebrimbor’s backstory and his involvement in forging of the Rings of Power, connected to the fact he’d been dragged back to Mordor to forge the One Ring and that Sauron used Celebrimbor's Elven craft to give the Ring its power," Shadow of Mordor design director Michael de Plater told GameSpot "And it's like Tolkien wrote: 'The Ring did something it's master did not intend.' We looked at that idea and how the One Ring had these two parents, this conflict going on within it, within the flashbacks in Shadow of Mordor as you recovered Celebrimbor's memory. We're excited to go back and play with that and explore Celebrimbor and Sauron's relationship more."

The Bright Lord takes place just after Celebrimbor's flight with the One Ring and leads up to combat with Sauron. De Plater said this piece of DLC is "quite a lot tougher" than the main campaign.

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"[The Bright Lord] has enabled us to go into Mordor at a time when Sauron’s power was at its height," he explained. "In Shadow of Mordor he’s just returned. It's all pretty much in chaos, Orcs are running around rioting, it’s very untamed. We were able to go back and forge the Orcs into this more disciplined and elite war machine."

Monolith Productions has rebalanced the Nemesis system to provide a more challenging endgame. Orcs are more heavily armored, tougher to beat, and with more evenly distributed strengths and weaknesses. Battles are also larger and more intense, and Orcs will mercilessly pile into fights against you in droves. They are more disciplined. meaning they are harder to manipulate and won't betray each other under any circumstances. So instead of hunting Warchiefs from the bottom of the system up, players will have to go after them with all their Bodyguards in tow. They will actively be hunting you, upping the probability of ambushes. And with Warchiefs now scaled up to level 25, the combat situation can become harrowing quickly and the Nemesis system harder to manipulate.

But Celebrimbor has received his own set of improvements. Monolith has developed an entire new set of combat animations for him; he's more agile and moves more quickly. Celebrimbor will take less punishment and have access to more powerful ability combinations. These have been rebalanced to suit the fighting style of an Elven warrior. The domination ability is also more powerful: For example, if you're surrounded by a horde of Orcs, you can dominate them all at once instead of having to target them individually. Runes can reach level 30, granting more powerful weapon upgrades. There are no more Ranger skills and you can't use flowers to heal; instead you must sacrifice Orc followers and drain their health to survive. The bow and arrow use has also been tweaked, removing slow-motion and adding a more shooter-like feel, according to de Plater.

And the grand finale, of course is a final fight against Sauron as Celebrimbor.

"We really wanted to create the most epic, momentous final boss fight that we possibly could," de Plater said. "We wanted to create a crafted boss fight that players get through the Nemesis system, to make up for the final boss fight against the Black Hand, which wasn’t so momentous. This is our attempt to revisit that and have another try and do the best we possibly can at creating an epic finale."

Alexa Ray Corriea on Google+

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