When Rings of Power was announced way back when I found myself staunchly against it. I didn’t like the idea of a TV show breaking canon and creating something from nothing that Tolkien had ever written. Over time I got over myself a little bit and realised I simply cannot take this stance because Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is one of my favourite stories set in the Lord of the Rings universe – and has absolutely nothing to do with anything Tolkien had ever written.

I watched Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power over the weekend and almost instantly fell in love with it. I adored this standalone story and all the characters therein. Durin especially stands out as my new favourite depiction of a Tolkien Dwarf in any medium other than the actual writing. All the little details touching on the Silmarillion and works that Christopher Tolkien had worked on have me enthralled and I cannot wait to see more.

North of the wall is less concerning in Middle Earth

In my time of not having any patience whatsoever to consume more Lord of The Rings content, I picked up Shadow of Mordor again and decided it was finally time for that replay I have been saying I’d do for years, expecting to only play maybe an hour or two in an evening and then stop playing it… Well, two nights down and I’m as hooked as I was back in 2014 and sunk over 10 hours in already!

I always thought that I got so obsessed with this game 8 years ago because of the story, but with this playthrough I have realised it is simply the open world – and I think it might be the best open world ever created.

This is because everything feels important; Despite having no towns in Mordor you can visit to find friendly NPC’s! As you travel around Mordor you are met with an ever present threat of Orcs and Uruks who all use cheap tactics to take you down, and it’s here where this importance lies. If any Orc beats you he can be promoted to Captain, then have their own internal struggles and politics put in place until they eventually become a War Chief and this just makes every single fight feel important to the world and its own internal power struggles.

Mordor? Or average confrontation in Grimsby?

Last night I had a point where one particular Uruk had managed to kill me twice, so I then followed him around the map; Helping to end his nemeses, recruit new Uruk and gain additional power as he worked his way through Mordor. I waited and waited until he became a War Chief, where I ransacked his camp – killed every single one of his followers, turned his Captains against him and then murdered him.

This wasn’t something I needed to do for the story as I was only free-roaming Mordor, it was something I needed to do for my pride.

So there we go, I love both The Rings of Power and Shadow of Mordor. Let me know what you think of The Rings of Power below! Unless you hate black elves and dwarves and female characters – In which case shut up and go away.

Written by Luke.

Edited by Alexx.

Captions by Will.