High Fidelity, But Excellent Performance On Mid-Range Hardware
We are not only surprised by how great of a game Shadow of Mordor is, but at how little it demands from your PC's hardware. At the surprisingly attractive low detail setting, configured to render 1280x720 pixels, the game ran smoothly on a sub-$100 Radeon R7 240 and GeForce GT 730 GDDR5 card. Bump the fidelity to medium details at 1080p and a sub-$150 GeForce GTX 750 Ti or Radeon R7 260X works just fine.
If you really want to crank up the graphics level to ultra, a lowly GeForce GTX 660 or Radeon R9 270 should yield passable performance at 1080p. But increase the resolution further and your graphics subsystem may being to wheeze. Running at 2560x1440 should necessitate a Radeon R9 285 or GeForce GTX 970 to sustain smooth frame rates. If you already upgraded to a 4K monitor, consider a Radeon R9 290X or GeForce GTX 980 your entry point for ultra-quality details. Dropping to medium might make lower-end models playable, but enthusiasts aren't going to spend big money on a monitor only to go cheap on their graphics card.
The Lithtech graphics engine appears just as content with a budget-oriented Core i3 or FX processor as it does with an ultra high-end Core i7. That really opens up this game to a broader audience.
As for whether or not the game is worth playing, we were surprised to find that Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor brings a lot more depth and fun to the table than we expected it to, with refined melee combat and innovative gameplay mechanics that we'd wouldn't be surprised to see copied by other titles in the future.