We created this feature using a PS4 copy of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

For more, check out Prima's Advanced tips and best Shadow of Mordor Abilities.

WB Games transports you to the dangerous valley of Udun in the gore-filled Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, an open world adventure in which you play a resurrected Ranger named Talion, who sets off on a blood-covered revenge tour through the vicious Uruks; think orcs, but bigger and meaner. In addition to cutting off heads and freeing slaves, you’ll find plenty of side missions and collectibles that help transform the game’s hero into a more efficient warrior, but don’t run head first into the thick of combat without keeping these Shadow of Mordor beginner’s tips in mind.

Know the world map, and check it frequently 

Pressing the touch pad on the PS4 controller brings up the world map, displaying areas you unlocked. You’ll see icons representing a variety of useful things, from Forge Towers (more on that later) to available missions and collectibles. Most importantly, you can set waypoints to objects or missions of interest. 

Triangle (PS4/PS3) and Y (Xbox One/Xbox 360) are invaluable 

Combat is inevitable in Middle-earth, no matter how stealthy a player you are. Mashing the attack button (Square or X depending on the platform) is the best way to take down your average Uruk, but you’ll eventually get surrounded by several foes at once. When one is about to attack, Triangle or Y will appear over this enemy. Quickly press the corresponding button to parry. Talion will immediately focus his attention on this foe, allowing you to score some hits before the next Uruk attempts to get the jump on him. 

Fail to press Triangle or Y and you’re dead, simple as that.

Use Talion’s bow to kill from range 

Press and hold L2 to gain access to Elf-shot. Providing you have arrows available, continue holding L2 and now press and hold R2 to help line up your shot. When ready, release R2 and Talion will fire the arrow. 

Hitting an Uruk in the body will slow it down, but as with most video games, go for the head! 

How to recharge Elf-shot in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor 

Press Circle near a stunned enemy to top off Talion’s Elf-shot. This often results in the targeted enemy’s death. 

Enter the Wraith World as much as possible

Who is this strange ghost tagging along with Talion on his journey? You’ll learn his identity in time. For now, take full advantage of your supernatural companion by pressing L1 to enter the Wraith World. Doing this reveals enemy (through walls and rocks) and even collectible locations. It does not make Talion invisible, however. Uruk can still see him when he’s in the Wraith World.

It’s OK to flee sometimes 

Everyone who plays Shadow of Mordor wants to kill thousands of Uruks, but let’s face it, until they upgrade Talion’s Abilities and Weapons, taking on a small band of creatures will likely get him killed. Always keep an eye on his health (the red meter on the bottom left corner of the screen), and if he’s on the brink of death, rapidly press the X or A button to sprint away from the battle. Put enough distance between you and the pursuing Uruks and they’ll eventually lose Talion’s scent, giving him a chance to regain health. Don’t worry. You can always go back for revenge later.

Understand enemy awareness

No one every complimented an Uruk for being friendly. These guys are mean 24/7, and you’ll constantly hear them talking smack and abusing slaves; they even attack each other.

That said, Uruks have different levels of anger and interest in Talion depending on the situation. Make a little noise or get seen from afar and you’ll notice a yellow arrow above one of their heads. This means the Uruk is suspicious of something and plans to investigate the source of the disturbance. A red arrow means it is fully aware of Talion and plans to react aggressively. This leads us to our next tip. 

Stealth kill whenever possible 

Despite featuring enjoyable combat, stealth will keep Talion alive much longer in Shadow of Mordor. You want to kill unseen as much as possible. To do this, position Talion behind an Uruk, then press and hold R2 to enter stealth mode. From there, get close enough and wait until the desired target turns red; this means you can pull off a stealth kill. Now press Square and watch a Talion sends this enemy into the great beyond. 

Similarly, holding R2 and pressing Square on a stunned enemy standing or on the ground will result in a crushing final blow. 

Tip: Uruk will identify slain creatures and call for reinforcements.

Hide in tall bushes to avoid detection

You can’t miss the plethora of tall bushes scattered throughout the world. Provided no Uruk sees Talion, walking into these bushes will automatically cause him to crouch and remain hidden from enemies; Talion will turn semi transparent.   

From here, you have a few options. While holding R2, tap Square as an Uruk walks by to perform a silent execution. You can also enter Ranged Mode from this position and fire off an arrow (or six) without detection. 

We like to approach a group of Uruks, hide in tall bushes and then distract the nearest one by pressing/holding R2 and then tapping Triangle. The Uruk will walk away from his buddies and give us the chance for the silent kill. This is a great way to thin the ranks a bit. 

While on the subject of tall bushes, they don’t guarantee invisibility. The developers did not program these monsters to always walk around bushes, so it’s not uncommon to see an Uruk patrol walk through these plants and discover Talion’s whereabouts. If this happens and you have no place to go, we suggest performing a silent execution to at least kill one of these enemies, thus reducing the possible number from four to three, for instance. 

If Uruk chase after Talion, you guide him into some tall bushes and he doesn’t turn semi transparent, this means the Uruk know where he is. Don’t always run into the first patch of tall bushes you see. Sprint around a corner or building to lose the Uruk, then go into hiding. 

Unlock all of the Forge Towers

Almost all of the areas on the world map have Forge Towers. These ancient looking and broken structures turn white when Talion gets closeby and reform. Climbing one is a great way to escape enemies, but they serve a much greater purpose. When at the top, approach the anvil and tap R1 to reforge the Tower. Doing this gives you the opportunity to Fast Travel to other activated Forge Towers, thus saving you a lot of time traveling, along with less enemy encounters along the way. 

On top of that, unlocking a Forge Tower also reveals new missions and collectible items within that section of the map. 

Tip: Approach and collect herbs (R1) to successfully complete Survival Missions and replenish Talion’s health.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is available now for PS4, Xbox One and PC.