A vast, open world, crazy wraith abilities, a deep in-game ecosystem and dozens of orc decapitations; that's what players can expect out of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor when it releases for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 on Oct. 7. The game was shown off in all of its brutal glory at E3 2014, earning a spot as one of my top games of the show.

Walking into my appointments with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, my goal was to make sure what little time I had available resulted in a look-see at the new Arkham game and Mortal Kombat. Shadow of Mordor had basically flown under my radar up until this point, so I was a little bummed when my helpful PR escort explained that my prime objectives were in the middle of demonstrations, but I could jump into a showing of the new Middle-Earth game if I hurried.

“That'll work,” I said, mentally doing the math and wondering if this unexpected detour would derail my chances of seeing the other games. It did not, it turns out, but what it did do was manage to completely win me over to the game. I got my eyes-on time with Arkham and Mortal Kombat, and I'm excited for both of those games, but I want to play Shadow of Morder right-freaking-now.

As is typical for these types of sessions, the game was being shown off by a pair of folks from the development team at Monolith Productions. The duo explained that Shadow of Mordor actually takes place between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, filling in important story gaps that bridge the two legendary tales.

The player takes on the role of Talion, a ranger who, along with everyone he holds dear, was brutally slaughtered by the forces of Sauron. Our main man is going to get a crack at some good old-fashioned vengeance, however, as he's been resurrected as a Wraith—you know, those ghosty dudes from the LOTR flicks?

As suck, Talion has the ability to use all sorts of nifty abilities, including a sort of boost move that moves him directly to a nearby target with sword planted firmly in belly, as well as the ability to capture certain enemies (and even beastly mounts) and bend their minds to your will. More on that in a moment. Talion's Wraith vision is reminiscent of Batman's detective vision in the Arkham Games, one of two aspect that were similar between that pair of titles.

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