"Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor" climbs to the DICE Awards summit with nine nominations, including those for Outstanding Innovation and Game of the Year.
On the surface another tie-in with the "Lord of the Rings" franchise, and initially received as an "Assassin's Creed" clone for similarities in its main character's walking animation, "Shadow of Mordor" became a firm favorite with a host of reviewers and players following its September release.
Having started life as a Batman spin-off, and sharing some close-combat DNA with those "Arkham" titles, "Shadow of Mordor" has for its trump card a novel game mechanic that sets up intense rivalries between the player and his increasingly powerful enemies -- though the feature is pared down in legacy PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.
In addition to a Game of the Year nomination, the Xbox, PlayStation and PC game "Shadow of Mordor" accrued nods in categories relating to Animation, Character, Story, Technical Achievement, Adventure Game of the Year, Outstanding Innovation, Game Design and Game Direction.
Other games with multiple nominations ahead of a February 5 ceremony in Las Vegas include console sci-fi shooter "Destiny," fantasy adventure "Dragon Age: Inquisition," Himalayan action romp "Far Cry 4" and digital card game "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft."
Contesting the Mobile Game of the Year category alongside "Hearthstone" are Jules Verne adaptation "80 Days," Escher-esque puzzle "Monument Valley," mathematical brain boggler "Threes!" and tower defense prequel "Kingdom Rush Origins."
Votes cast by the members of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences will decide which titles will be crowned category winners on the night.