Here we investigate the overlooked, the underappreciated, the Shameworthy titles of the world. Jump in to an existing mission thread and give your thoughts, or start your own to kick off a discussion.
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meowpow

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Shadow of Mordor - R.I.P. all the orcs

by meowpow » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:57 pm

OK, so I hope I'm doing this right. o___o First time and all.

A lot of people thought Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was one of the best games of 2014 (it released in September), but because of money/time/etc., I haven't gotten around to playing it until now. I tend to avoid open-world games because ugh, so much to do. I usually wear myself out running around and doing pointless side quests so much that I lose interest in the main story before I even begin.

So far, Shadow of Mordor has a good solution in place for combating that issue: the Nemesis system, in which you go around killing Uruk in the style of Batman: Arkham Asylum (and a bit of Assassin's Creed) until you die, and then the orc that killed you gets stronger and fights another orc to the death for his rank. So it's both a slap in the face and a good thing, because the competition gets tougher, but at least you have one less Uruk to deal with.

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So a Power 1 Uruk might get promoted (and score more bad-ass gear) all because he managed to get in a lucky shot just after you slayed stronger Uruk and a big mob of orcs (these guys call for serious back-up). It's even more brutal when you realize that all the Power you gain from completing main missions and resolving power struggles resets when you die. I've only accessed the second ability tier so far because you need Power to unlock it, and the third tier costs like 200-something. I spent some time earning Power and then died, so now I'm back down to 10.

Having wraith powers is also awesome. You're bound to this dead elf lord, so he often manifests spiritually through you to interrogate Uruk for intel on Sauron's Army or grant you supernatural abilities, like shooting a mystical bow and arrow. When you die and come back and Uruk remember you, it actually makes sense with the story because Talion (the main character) is "banished from death."

It's all pretty cool so far, though I wish the environments were more varied. :/ It all looks edge-of-Mount-Doom-y. And the slave NPCs that you save are basically clones.

Taming Caragor and destroying enemies as you ride around on them is fun, too. I set mine on fire temporarily by steering it through a campfire and was surprised to find that's a thing you can do without killing it.

A big part of the strategy for taking on hordes of Uruk is stealth, and stealth-running is just about the best invention ever. Because ordinarily, sneaking around is slow and boring. Another favorite thing of mine to do is knocking down swarming hives of Morgai Flies, which is the equivalent of kicking a bee's nest toward an enemy. It makes for a cool distraction. Or shooting campfires to make them explode, killing everyone nearby. Because that makes sense.

More stories from Mordor to come! Is anyone else playing this right now, or thinking about it?
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Angry Jedi

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Re: Shadow of Mordor - R.I.P. all the orcs

by Angry Jedi » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:24 pm

I believe Beige and Rampant played it a little while back. Thoughts are here -- I'm sure one of them will be along at some point to give any additional thoughts. :)
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meowpow

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Re: Shadow of Mordor - R.I.P. all the orcs

by meowpow » Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:50 pm

Thanks for pointing me to that thread! I love that post so hard. :) It really is impressive how much effort and detail went into the orcs. I did hear it's just about as anti-Tolkien as you can get since you're basically just terrorizing orcs ...
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Re: Shadow of Mordor - R.I.P. all the orcs

by Beige » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:18 pm

Yeah, like I mentioned in my big Orc Dump, I think Shadow of Mordor amounts to Tolkein fanfiction. It's a well done game no question though. I liked Celebrimbor, I liked them orcs. The Nemesis system is impressive.

If you imagine the game WITHOUT the Nemesis System it's pretty much straight up Orkham City / Orcsassin's Creed. Run around, lurk on battlements, drop on orcs with hidden blade. Repeat. Move to point X on the map, run down target.

Let me see if I can dig up the article where the guy goes on and on about how irreverent -- nay openly disrespectful - the game is towards the source material. Oh right, it's the Escapist.

For my money, I agree about the fanfic angle, though many games (Assassin's Creed, for one) amount to so-bad-it's-good video game fanfic. I don't put Tolkein any higher up on the chain than ACTUAL history, so if Leo DaVinci can be my Q, so can Celebrimbor. I can enjoy both, but I absolutely acknowledge that the somber, reflective "the ring is the tool of the enemy, don't be tempted" power analogue slash Niebulungen thing Tolkein has going on is, shall we say, overshadowed when you're hoo-riding around on a giant troll blasting people with wraith-fire.

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