This article is meant for the people who are doubting whether to buy Shadow of Mordor for the Playstation 3 or not. I wanted to get this game since it got released but then I kept reading a lot of negative reviews in how the PS3 version of this game was a travesty. That it was filled with glitches and mistakes. But worst of all that it was a considerable downgrade compared to the PS4 version. I am telling you that most of these reviews are unfair.
Let me first state that I bought the digital version from PSN (on 16-10-2015) and then had the latest update (1.02) available for this game installed. I also have not played any of the next gen versions so for the most part I will base my thoughts on the game itself.
I say for the most part because I do have to address the criticism of many concerning the graphics. Of course the PS4 version will look better but the same could be said about other games which are released on both current and next gen so if you ask me this is not really a valid argument. If you compare the PS3 version to other games released on the PS3 itself then yes the game looks rough and unpolished especially the backgrounds. The cut scenes themselves are pretty much what you expect graphic wise and yes the difference between the visuals of actual gameplay and pre rendered scenes are huge. But does it matter? Is this something to get angry about? In my opinion you should not because it is the gameplay that rules. More about this later though.
One very valid negative point is the slow down. Especially when it comes to the loading times. It did take me a little time to get used to it but eventually I did. This is coming from someone who does not have much patience. If I can do it so can you. Because despite these longer loading times the gameplay itself is pretty much fluid and no slow down in frame rate even when you are surrounded by hundreds of Orcs and Urukais. You will have a lot of fun slaying them down even more so as you gradually unlock the cool skills and abilities.
There are some issues with the sound but to be honest they are negligible. I do think that they could have been worked on a little longer especially in the last cut scene where the sound was out of synch with what it was showing but since I was not really that invested in the story it did not bother me that much. For the rest it was good. Some of the background tunes really helped you immerse yourself into this world. It did feel like you were part of the Lord of the Rings universe.
I was very close to finishing the main game until my PS3 crashed while I was playing the game. Normally that is no reason for panic and you can start up and load the game from your last save. However for some unknown reason my savegame was messed up. All the progress I had made was gone and I needed to start all over again. Now I know this might sound game breaking for most but I refuse to be beaten by a game this unfairly. So I restarted and this time around I experienced even less mistakes and glitches as before and did manage to play the hell out of the game and finish the main story.
Because even with such a devastating glitch the gameplay beckoned me. Let me tell you that it is enormously fun to scare and defeat these Orcs. Shadow of Mordor has a lot of abilities and weapon upgrades available for the player. Even when it seems that you are incredibly overpowered the game manages to surprise you. The game will overwhelm you with enemies if you stay in one place too long. In the beginning of the game you have to be real strategic as you still have to unlock skills, health and focus. Soon though you will be able to pull of moves that will have the majority of Orcs running. And just when you thought you are God and can't be beaten you will find yourself stabbed or shot by some weak Orc who has been waiting his chance to shoot his arrow from afar. Here is where the Nemesis system comes in play and where things get real interesting. It is said that this also is downgraded from the PS4 version. I can't tell you if this is true or not. But also on the PS3 it's a remarkable gameplay mechanic. The minute this weak Orc beats you he rises the ranks and becomes stronger. So do the other Orcs and Urukai that are tied to him or at play. These Urukai do prove to be challenging as they all have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it may even seem impossible since some of them have very little weaknesses. But the game gives you many options to overcome them. It really pays of to collect what there is to be collected in this game and to do the side missions. Not only do they upgrade your weapons it earns you experience or money to level your skills. Besides some of these side missions are even more challenging than the main one. One of them (Into the Pit) is one where you are put in an arena and you have to fight of 50 Orcs. Which can be very brutal if you are unprepared and low on skills. But immensely fun when you do posses the right skills. This pit is also one of the few places where the Orcs keep coming as long as you remain there. So I found myself slaying over hundred of Orcs (Uruks) in incredibly cool and stylish manner. It never got tiresome. Despite what some might say you do need to stay focused because your nemesis or other Uruk captains can show up at anytime to surprise you in a nasty way. Shadow of Mordor is by no means easy. The nemesis system is designed in a way that it makes your enemies much tougher and harder to beat. With each one of them you have to be strategic and do some recon. Sure you can go in blind but most likely you will be outmatched because of the sheer numbers of enemies the game throws at you.
The main story is adequate enough I suppose but not as intriguing or compelling as I have hoped. In this case though it hardly matters as like I said it's the gameplay that rules. Overall Shadow of Mordor is incredible fun. Do you really think I would play it all over again if the game itself was really that poorly designed? So I do think that all these negative reviews are highly exaggerated. If you can get past the somewhat slow loading times you will get immersed in this game just fine and will have a lot of fun. (Update 1.02 apparently does fix most of the issues that were plaguing this game).