Last year, here at SA Gamer, we decided that Shadow of Mordor (SoM) was our Game of the Year. It is worth noting that 2014 didn’t have that many competitors for the title, but SoM was clearly a brilliantly made game. The Bright Lord is the second bit of DLC that expands on the universe and any chance to revisit the land of Mordor is a chance worth taking… I think.
The Bright Lord changes things up ever so slightly. In the DLC you go back to the second age (a long time before Talion even existed) and take control of Celebrimbor himself. Celebrimbor has just acquired The One Ring from Sauron (yes, that ring) and is now making moves to dethrone Sauron and take Mordor for himself, while Sauron threatens to destroy everything in Celebrimbor’s world.
The story is shallow and while you get to learn a bit more about the Elf it doesn’t feel like anything substantial. Compared to the lore that exists in the main game it felt a little cheap. It still moves the plot on quite nicely, but apart from minor plot progression it adds little.
The entire DLC (which was around 8gb) takes place in the same lands, but at a much earlier stage. Monolith have decided that all they really need to do to make it seem different is change the colour palette. It’s not very inspiring if I am completely honest.
The missions in The Bright Lord feel like a bunch of side quests made out to seem like fully fledged missions and they all follow the same general path. In order to defeat Sauron Celebrimbor you must create an army of his owning. By using the branding move to control orcs this is possible. Main missions are split into two parts. The first is completing a challenge which usually requires branding a certain amount of orcs so that you can take over that particularly region. The second part has you completing a challenge which results in the local Orc Captain coming to find you. Once the captain comes out you need to defeat and brand him. Brand five of the Warchiefs and you can go take on Sauron himself.
It’s a really simple formula and didn’t feel too different to anything that happens in the main game. Even the final mission was not quite on the epic scale you would hope for. The enjoyment is strangely not aided by the fact that Elbegrimbor has all his skills and powers to start with meaning there is no upgrading system. He also has The One Ring, which simply slows down time so you can attack and execute enemies at will.
The gameplay is pretty much exactly the same as the main game. Elbegrimbor’s skills and combat abilities are almost exactly the same as Talion except that he doesn’t get to slow down time when he shoots an arrow, instead he has the One Ring power. The combat works exactly the same with a couple of extra skills relating to branding, but nothing that will have your mouth open in awe.
The Bright lord has some side missions included too, mostly around completing various challenges to upgrade your weapons (similarly to the main game) and there are challenges to be completed which increase the amount of time you get slowed down using The One Ring. They are not overly vital but do make things easier if you feel the need, and of course they add a bit more substance to the DLC.
All in all, The Bright Lord adds a decent chunk of gameplay to Shadow of Mordor, albeit nothing new to the formula. If you play the main missions straight you are looking at 4-5 hours with an extra 2-3 hours if you explore and do sidemissions.
It’s a great reason to return to Mordor and experience the Nemesis system once more, which is exactly as it is in the main game, but with a little less focus on it. Shadow of Mordor: The Bright Lord is a tough sell in that it doesn’t add much in terms of variety, but if you want more of what was good in Shadow of Mordor and don’t mind the price and download size then you will enjoy a few more hours in the world with the DLC.