Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

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James
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Re: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by James »

Unsurprisingly, those were my favourite of the weapon challenges. I struggled much more with the sword missions due to my iffy grasp of the combo system. By the time I had unlocked enough of the skills that would've helped bridge my ability gap, I was ready to finish the story and move onto another game.

I think I ended up at around 67%. I don't foresee going back to mop up the extra stuff, but it sure was a surprisingly good game.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by Torakibble »

I came at this game as someone who has little connection to the LotR series. I had read enough reviews to be interested in the nemesis system, so I purchased it fairly close to launch. I never really connected to the overarching story, but as a world to traverse and engage with I found this to be immensely satisfying. The movement both on foot and on beast has a great fluidity. The combat was never needlessly difficult and the nemesis system provided just the right amount of engagement on a smaller scale to offset my lack of interest in the larger story. Also, gating off the map until midway through the game prevented me from feeling that overbearing sense of dread that I get when staring at so many other open world maps. (I'm looking at you Assassin's Creed Unity)

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by DomsBeard »

I'm in the minority that I didn't like this game. I'm a huge Lord Of The Rings fan and the combat style (Arkhamesque) I also like so it was a no brainer picking it up at launch.

It just never clicked with me, I found the combat tiresome (too many enemies), the story passable. Traversing the world took far too long but that's more down to me as I never fast travel.

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AlexMaskill
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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by AlexMaskill »

This game is a great example of how one mechanic can change everything. For the most part, the game is okay, if a touch boilerplate - the mechanics are derivative, the art direction is fine, the story is pretty much exactly what you think it's going to be, and not nearly what you hoped. But that Nemesis system, man. The moments that the Nemesis system creates - the tension, the feeling of an evolving world, the way it complements and complicates the existing mission structure - all completely elevates the rest of the game. The AssCreed/Arkham mechanics are perfectly utilized stalking after a target, the variety of options for combat approaches combine with the immunities and weaknesses of generals to create combat scenarios that feel far more varied than they really are. The Nemesis system really draws all the unfocused, underwhelming elements of the game and makes it all feel cohesive.

That said, I actually am not a fan of the branding mechanic. I always felt that it was incredibly limited compared to the wide array of ways to approach the more adversarial relationships with the generals. Bursting an especially tenacious commander's head like a ripe tomato is such a more satisfying conclusion to an encounter than a flash of "yeah, they're with you now." I know a lot of people who thought that was the system that really took it all to the next level but for me it constituted a refocusing of the game's mechanics which ultimately wasn't as fully developed or compelling as what went before. If there were more options for what to do with press-ganged orcs, or if that system wasn't there at all, it would have made for a more involving experience either way.

Overall, however, this is one of the few AAA games as of late where I actively made the time to fully complete it, and I really enjoyed my time with it. I definitely don't agree with the GOTY- level intensity of the praise it got, but I do think it was pretty praiseworthy.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by Lokhe »

Sorry about the noob question here but, how is this thread a year old when the recording is now? :p

Just trying to wrap my head around how soon before the release of the podcast you record because I keep missing these threads to leave my feedback before that >_<

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by Flabyo »

They took the already existing thread on the game from the main forum from around when the game launched and moved it to here for people to put in comments for the podcast which records later this week.

They usually ask for comments about a week ahead of recording, but sometimes there's less notice if a recording date has to move around.

This bit of the forum is new though, so I think they're hoping to start getting comments a lot further ahead of time now.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by ratsoalbion »

What Flabyo said ^^^
:)

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Bloody Initiate
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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by Bloody Initiate »

I’ve only just begun this game and I won’t finish before the podcast records, but I wanted to say I’ve been really enjoying it. I picked it up a week or so ago cheap on XBL and decided I'd play it to "play along."

A friend told me not to expect much of the story, and I don’t really care if there isn’t one, because the base gameplay makes me smile so much.

There are lots of games in this genre now, open-world action-adventure where you prowl around in a personality-free environment using a toolbox of fun to creatively dispatch mostly generic adversaries. I’d put the Arkham, Assassin’s Creed, and Far Cry games in this genre together with Shadow of Mordor. They’re all pretty entertaining.

Where Shadow of Mordor differs is in that fantastic orc-personality system wherein each captain has their own strengths and weaknesses. I have an orc in my game called Tarz Heart-Eater, he’s afraid of fire, and my greatest joy so far is repeatedly setting him on fire chasing him from stronghold to stronghold. I love to picture myself as the source of all his nightmares. He’s immune to stealth attacks, so when I set him on fire and went to leap on him all I got was a fantastic close up where he turned around and looked horrified at me before spinning back around and running like hell.

What makes a good hero is a good villain, and the villains in this game are so much fun that I have much more fun as a result.

There’s lots to love about this game, though Tolkien nerds like myself will twitch a little when they notice inaccuracies. It quickly becomes clear that everything is in service of the gameplay, which works for me. Do you find exploding barrels and campfires kinda dumb in a fantasy setting? Fear not, your arrows are pure magic. So far for me, so is this game.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by macstat »

I wont repeat things that many people before me said though i want to add two things.

Good. Its pretty obvious that nemesis system was one of main games selling point. But what really made me say "oh wow" was when i realised how well it fitted world in general. I remember playing a mission when i had to free some slaves from orc keep. To my surprise while i was doing that, this one invincible Orc who kept coming back from the dead jumped me. Not only that, during the fight another one who patroled keep spotted me fighting and joined in. Needless to say i had to run for my life. It was that moment i saw that those guys werent only a mission markers on map, but they were doing their own orcish things.

Bad, sorta. Its kinda nitpicking but one of main appeals of open world action games for me is traversing the world. And this world, apart from few orcish strongholds is mostly flat land and some cliffs. I know, its Mordor, what do I expect. But still its more interesting to me running around on a rooftops fo another AC city. But its a minor issue, one that didnt really impacted my overal enjoyment of Shadow of Mordor.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by Flabyo »

Dull stuff out of the way first: The plot makes little sense, the ending is *terrible*, the opening few hours are perhaps a bit *too* difficult and eventually it gets repetitive.

But the Nemesis system is ultimately what this game will be remembered for. Or at least, it should be, except for one thing that I find faintly bizarre. Not one game since has even suggested they're going to take design inspiration from it.

Narrative in video games falls into two camps: scripted and emergent. Video game can be great at scripted narrative, plenty of games have had very memorable stories. But video games are *best* at emergent narrative, story that comes about due to the interaction of a games systems and how the player influences them. Player created stories like this live longer in the memory because they're more personal. That time the tiger jumped out of the bushes and took down the guy you were chasing in Far Cry, that time a Brotherhood of Steel brigade crashed the firefight you were having with a bunch of super mutants in Fallout 4. Interacting simulations that mean my experience of the game is not going to be the same as yours.

Nemesis most likely started out life as a way to add a bit of variety to the boss enemies. Each named orc is has a base character archetype based on one of the games grunts, then the game layers on a few visual distinctions (armour, war paint etc...), generates a bunch of flaws and perks for them, then builds them a name out of a bunch of orcy sounding syllables. At this point we're just talking about a basic bit of procedural generation, not a new thing at all. Where the innovation is is in having them evolve in reaction to the players actions. Surviving an encounter with the player gives them a boost, maybe some better armour, maybe one of their flaws is removed. Sometimes they come back from the 'dead' with new scars.

All this wouldn't matter if not for one thing: the game gives the orcs the ability to tell the player what has been changed about them. They can brag about their victories, they can demand vengeance. They can point out their fancy new armour. They can have followers who loudly chant their names (a neat trick, and easier than you might think). They feel like actual living things.

They brilliantly demonstrate one of the fundamental rules of game AI :- "Tell the player what you're doing. Loudly. Or they'll never notice you're doing it."

This is great video game AI work. It's piecing together ideas that are not new, but combining them in a new way, and producing something that is greater than the sum of it's parts.

And other games really need to be doing something like it. Imagine the newest Need for Speed game if the rivals you raced had Nemesis driven personalities that remember that time you cut them off at the finish rather than bland scripted ones? Imagine if the fighters in Street Fighter 5 could hold grudges and vocalise just what they think of your fighting style (of course, the dire state of AI in fighting games is a whole other rant...)

In the end Mordor is a solid game made notable with the addition of some new ideas. I just hope those ideas take root. They deserve to.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by NeoGazza »

Although I had a blast playing through this game, I realised that it really is mostly an amalgamation of a couple of succesful franchises -assassin's creed being the most obvious one- bar the nemesis system which is a truly original and succesful addition. The Nemesis mechanic deserves to be lauded and elaborated upon in future games, but thus far it just seems that it was a one-off which is truly a shame.

i am pretty sure that in 4 years time I will have a faint memory of ME:SOM being a fun title, but not a very memorable one. A lot of content is filler in the form of collectibles and side missions to improve the quality of your weapon arsenal and only a handful of main missions were truly well done. The main mechanics echo Assassin's creed's too much for my liking whereas the setting of Mordor really did appeal to me more than any of the Assassin's creed titles did. Future classic? Highly doubtful , but a fun diversion nevertheless.

Three Word Review;
Precious Assassin's Clone

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by zen_anarchy »

Three word review

Orc insult simulator

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Re: Our next podcast recording (12.12.15): Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Post by macstat »

zen_anarchy wrote:Three word review

Orc insult simulator
That's a good one :) I dont know why but it reminded me Monkey Island :D

Three Word Review:
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