Sunday, October 12, 2014

Walking into Mordor

I swear as of late I just know how to pick em. Games come and games go and very few of them truly catch my attention these days. Destiny is a good example of a game that I honestly could not have cared less about. Fueled by obnoxious levels of hype and boasting one of the largest production budgets in history, it turned out to be nothing more than a mediocre FPS with severe problems. I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly glad about Destiny's critical reception. Perhaps we will see a shift from the modern AAA trite and I will actually be interested in FPS games coming out. Perhaps not.

Nevertheless, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a game that did get my attention as soon as I bore witness to its presence. Friends of mine can attest to my interest, sparked primarily by an early gameplay trailer (Jan 2014) that is, amazingly, almost exactly what the game is like. That should be considered as high praise these days, considering how many gameplay trailers end up being hogwash in actuality. While I wasn't peeing my pants in excitement, I certainly had an inkling that the game would be a hit. For the most part, this has certainly been the case. However, for reasons beyond my understanding, this game has apparently gone 'under the radar' for the vast majority of the gaming community. Colleagues of mine say they knew nothing about it until the day it was released, which is odd considering I had been anticipating it for months. Different interests, different tastes I suppose.

My one and only Nemesis.
Publisher marketing shenanigans aside, Shadow of Mordor is a brilliant game. If you are at all vaguely interested in it, I would suggest reading any of the many positive reviews it is getting and learn more about it there. They will mostly say the same thing. Irritatingly however, many reviewers seem to harp on the fact that the game borrows liberally from the Assassin's Creed and Arkham gameplay mechanics. Having played a very small amount of both of those franchises, I can say this comparison is not completely accurate. While it does implement a familiar, tried and true stealth/combat system akin to these games it also injects about a 10 litres of anabolic steroids into them. It's kind of like comparing movement in Wolfenstein 3D and Quake III. Sure, they are both FPS games ... but in one of them you can do a lot more.

While I would say that anyone who has played the game extensively would know this to be true, for some people I know it may not be completely realised. While I am all about getting my money's worth when it comes to playing games I have bought, I have witnessed several people blaze through the game in a blind, mouth-frothing frenzy. I have never understood this mentality, of buying a game and completing only a small percent of it (usually in the form of a campaign) as if there is a prize for finishing it the fastest. A 'review' by RPS actually sums this demeanor up quite well by saying it'd be "like someone boasting about how fast they drove past a beautiful view". I completely agree and I feel nothing but sadness for people who compare game 'finish' times as if they mean something.

Such beauty. Such wit.
Overall, Shadow of Mordor has provided me with many, many hours of orc slaying madness and is easily on my very short list of games to recommend. It is a beautiful, often comical game that knows exactly what it wants to be and executes its own existence with style. I will probably return to it at some point when I feel like acquiring more epic runes for my bow and dagger. Until then, enjoy this kill compilation of my walk ... nay, stroll into Mordor.

1080p fullscreen recommend.

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