Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Review - The Ring of Truth

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I was really looking forward to this game. My enthusiasm just took a dip. So the best motivator the creative team could come up with is the goold ol' dead-wife-and-kid cliché? Seriously? That was a hackneyed eye-rolling trope back when 'Gladiator' did it. So the death of countless rangers over the years, the defeats in Ithilien and at Osgiliath , the attack on Gondor, the possible slaugther of his fellow soldiers, that's not enough to get the character's blood boiling. No, gotta murder his wife, slaugther his kid, stomp on his puppy and burn his bible. NOW he's got a mad on. Oh yeah, Sauron is in trouble now.

The rest look surprisingly original after that unpromising start, so I guess I'll still give it a go, but no, I will not be extraordinarly motivated to defeat the armies of Mordor after that stale cliché of a beginning.

(Also like how the flashbacks are about Talion's relationship with his *father in law*. I think it's safe to guess his wife won't have much characterisation in the few minutes she survives before the plot kills her off)

I have to say I'm very impressed at just how good this game is. I mean it's actually really good and it has an interesting story. Just wish I hadn't spoiler-ed it for myself by reading certain articles. It was also available for GMG's 25% of September promotion so I bought it at a discount.

Adam Jensen:
I still think this game would be a lot better if it were a new IP instead of LoTR. But I'm glad that it's good. It's been getting great reviews from a lot of websites.

Don't worry, I expect that when this game does well they'll take the mechanics and put it in another universe....*looks at Ubisoft* :)

JennAnge:

The rest look surprisingly original after that unpromising start, so I guess I'll still give it a go, but no, I will not be extraordinarly motivated to defeat the armies of Mordor after that stale cliché of a beginning.

Suuuuure. Because in this day and age, Tolkien's plot oughta win awards for how original it is. Good vs Evil. Never saw that coming.

Considering the fact that what you define as cliche is probably the centerpiece of Tolkien's stories, I would say your argument is misplaced.

Like a finely-tuned film script, you are given a very strong motive after this deliberate inciting incident and then you're thrust out into the world.

OH YAY DEAD WIFEY!

I guess the game has the excuse of being good....unlike watch dogs

katsabas:

Suuuuure. Because in this day and age, Tolkien's plot oughta win awards for how original it is. Good vs Evil. Never saw that coming.

Considering the fact that what you define as cliche is probably the centerpiece of Tolkien's stories, I would say your argument is misplaced.

I can accept the fact that LOTR was never a batchdel test passing type of story...and it IS LOTR so certain elements of being cliche are a given

HOWEVER

that does give it a free pass for "dead wifey and kid" I'm sorry but that shit has gotten beyond old...

JennAnge:
.
The rest look surprisingly original after that unpromising start, so I guess I'll still give it a go, but no, I will not be extraordinarly motivated to defeat the armies of Mordor after that stale cliché of a beginning.

if anything it actually seriously puts me off, its like it adds to me "don't give a fuck" meter

The problem I have with this game is that it is stuck between two major existing works of content that leave very little room for it to really explore something new with the story for everything is basically set in stone with The Hobbit and then The Lord of the Rings. I guess my second issue with the game is that there are times that the Arkham games with their combat get frustrating because of the required style of attack on an enemy type and it will preform that on the wrong enemy.

The Nemesis system does look interesting, but I think I am still concerned about the other areas of the game.

Vault101:

I can accept the fact that LOTR was never a batchdel test passing type of story...and it IS LOTR so certain elements of being cliche are a given

HOWEVER

that does give it a free pass for "dead wifey and kid" I'm sorry but that shit has gotten beyond old...

I'm assuming you meant "Bechdel test" and "doesn't give it a free pass", and I agree - that's some lazy storytelling.

Not to harsh on Mr. Tito, but his endorsement of this premise for justified violence sticks in my craw when I consider how he panned GTA 5. ( http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/editorials/reviews/10598-Grand-Theft-Auto-5-Review-People-Suck.2 )

A quick granting of things which are givens : foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds / liking something is completely subjective / it's a well put together review.

A game where the good guy is an assassin in a fantasy setting wherein the implicit fantasy is (in part) justifiable genocide is less demeaning to players than one which presents a "morally reprehensible script?"

I'm afraid I don't agree. At a minimum they are on par with one another, though IMHO I think the GTA script was as ambitious with it's protagonists as the SoM writers were lazy.

JennAnge:
I was really looking forward to this game. My enthusiasm just took a dip. So the best motivator the creative team could come up with is the goold ol' dead-wife-and-kid cliché? Seriously? That was a hackneyed eye-rolling trope back when 'Gladiator' did it. So the death of countless rangers over the years, the defeats in Ithilien and at Osgiliath , the attack on Gondor, the possible slaugther of his fellow soldiers, that's not enough to get the character's blood boiling. No, gotta murder his wife, slaugther his kid, stomp on his puppy and burn his bible. NOW he's got a mad on. Oh yeah, Sauron is in trouble now.

While, yes, Dead Wifey is cliche, Talion's motivations really isn't Vengeance. Really, he's on a suicide mission. Problem is, he can't die. The reason Talion and the Wraith are hunting down the Black Hand is to remove the curse.

He wants to die.

Which is a pretty nifty change, in my opinion.

Krantos:
While, yes, Dead Wifey is cliche, Talion's motivations really isn't Vengeance. Really, he's on a suicide mission. Problem is, he can't die. The reason Talion and the Wraith are hunting down the Black Hand is to remove the curse.

He wants to die.

Which is a pretty nifty change, in my opinion.

Agreed. Talion's kinda fascinating as a character. He rather desperately wants to die and be reunited with his family, but he just can't make it stick.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, has anyone else run into an Uruk captain that was literally immune to everything you can do (Seriously, the dude has "Immune to Stealth Attacks", "Immune to Ranged Attacks", "Immune to Combat Attacks", and "Monster Slayer")? Cuz I have, and it's incredibly fucking aggravating. There's no way to kill him except to wait for him to challenge or be challenged by one of his fellows and killing his supporters so the second captain can take him out. It's really not cool, especially since this guy also has the whole "Will show up at random moments to fuck with Talion" passive effect.

Agayek:
[
Also, on a completely unrelated note, has anyone else run into an Uruk captain that was literally immune to everything you can do (Seriously, the dude has "Immune to Stealth Attacks", "Immune to Ranged Attacks", "Immune to Combat Attacks", and "Monster Slayer")? Cuz I have, and it's incredibly fucking aggravating. There's no way to kill him except to wait for him to challenge or be challenged by one of his fellows and killing his supporters so the second captain can take him out. It's really not cool, especially since this guy also has the whole "Will show up at random moments to fuck with Talion" passive effect.

Ouch, yeah, I've got a guy like him in my game. Only weakness is a "Fear of Burns". He also has Rapid Attacks (Mutliple attack that need to be countered individually), but is Immune to Counters. :| wtf?

Still trying to come up with a method for dealing with him.

I have a question for people playing this game right now: does your grab button work? I start playing with my Logitech F710 (trusty piece of work, never failed me before) and for the first 5 minutes I can do the grabs just fine. But then one of 2 things happens: I go into a mission and sudenly my grab and any other action that needs that buton stop working OR they just stop working on their own after 5 minutes. At first I thought it was my gamepad, but no, keyboard inputs don't work either. It's really bloody agravating as branding and intel gathering require the grab to work, but my bloody game refuses to let me do it because reasons ...

navigation controls & combat are almost identical to Assassin's Creed but the unforgiving combat along with the setting and nemesis system makes the game wholly unique.
It's very refreshing to play a LotR game that ISN'T set during the War of the Ring. Being a Tolkien nerd enhances the enjoyment of this game immensely.

Krantos:
Ouch, yeah, I've got a guy like him in my game. Only weakness is a "Fear of Burns". He also has Rapid Attacks (Mutliple attack that need to be countered individually), but is Immune to Counters. :| wtf?

Still trying to come up with a method for dealing with him.

My suggestion: The special charged attack "Fire Arrow" that you can unlock. It's a 4th tier upgrade I believe that requires you to charge your combo meter then you can shoot a fire arrow and set him on fire (alternatively, you can lead him around to a campfire or barrel and explode that on him). Once he panicks, you should be able to grab him and interrogate him like any other orc and kill him that way.

XDSkyFreak:
I have a question for people playing this game right now: does your grab button work? I start playing with my Logitech F710 (trusty piece of work, never failed me before) and for the first 5 minutes I can do the grabs just fine. But then one of 2 things happens: I go into a mission and sudenly my grab and any other action that needs that buton stop working OR they just stop working on their own after 5 minutes. At first I thought it was my gamepad, but no, keyboard inputs don't work either. It's really bloody agravating as branding and intel gathering require the grab to work, but my bloody game refuses to let me do it because reasons ...

I haven't had any issues with grabbing in about 10 hours of gameplay. It's worked fine for me continuously.

XDSkyFreak:
I have a question for people playing this game right now: does your grab button work? I start playing with my Logitech F710 (trusty piece of work, never failed me before) and for the first 5 minutes I can do the grabs just fine. But then one of 2 things happens: I go into a mission and sudenly my grab and any other action that needs that buton stop working OR they just stop working on their own after 5 minutes. At first I thought it was my gamepad, but no, keyboard inputs don't work either. It's really bloody agravating as branding and intel gathering require the grab to work, but my bloody game refuses to let me do it because reasons ...

I haven't had any issues with grabbing in about 10 hours of gameplay. It's worked fine for me continuously.[/quote]

Weird. So far I've run into just one other guy on a different forum that had an issue like this. For him the interogate function wasn't working (though he could grab). It's bloody annoying and at one point makes the game unwinable ... it pisses me off.

XDSkyFreak:
Weird. So far I've run into just one other guy on a different forum that had an issue like this. For him the interogate function wasn't working (though he could grab). It's bloody annoying and at one point makes the game unwinable ... it pisses me off.

It sounds like it might be a driver issue. There's probably an incompatibility with your hardware and the game in that regard. I'd suggest re-installing the driver(s) and seeing how that works.

Agayek:

XDSkyFreak:
Weird. So far I've run into just one other guy on a different forum that had an issue like this. For him the interogate function wasn't working (though he could grab). It's bloody annoying and at one point makes the game unwinable ... it pisses me off.

It sounds like it might be a driver issue. There's probably an incompatibility with your hardware and the game in that regard. I'd suggest re-installing the driver(s) and seeing how that works.

And now I feel like a complete ponce. I went back in the game and tried playing again. While my guy still refuses to do the little grab animation while standing still on his tower, in combat it seems the grabs have started working just fine (and I can finally mount those weird warg like things and mow down uruks). STill, wish I knew why it decided not to let me use the damn key without a reboot.

Agayek:

Krantos:
Ouch, yeah, I've got a guy like him in my game. Only weakness is a "Fear of Burns". He also has Rapid Attacks (Mutliple attack that need to be countered individually), but is Immune to Counters. :| wtf?

Still trying to come up with a method for dealing with him.

My suggestion: The special charged attack "Fire Arrow" that you can unlock. It's a 4th tier upgrade I believe that requires you to charge your combo meter then you can shoot a fire arrow and set him on fire (alternatively, you can lead him around to a campfire or barrel and explode that on him). Once he panicks, you should be able to grab him and interrogate him like any other orc and kill him that way.

So, I learned something earlier. Didn't know it before, but saw it on a loading screen. Apparently, leveraging a captain's Fear will remove most, if not all, of their invulnerabilities. So all I had to do was track the guy until he was near a fire, blast it, then sit back and watch him get ripped apart by Caragors.

Love the game, but I feel like they don't explain things well enough a lot of times. I had no real idea what Fearing does. Since i've learned that, taking out the captains has been tons easier.

Krantos:
While, yes, Dead Wifey is cliche, Talion's motivations really isn't Vengeance. Really, he's on a suicide mission. Problem is, he can't die. The reason Talion and the Wraith are hunting down the Black Hand is to remove the curse.

He wants to die.

Which is a pretty nifty change, in my opinion.

Ahh, now that does sound more interesting. Thanks :)

katsabas:

JennAnge:

The rest look surprisingly original after that unpromising start, so I guess I'll still give it a go, but no, I will not be extraordinarly motivated to defeat the armies of Mordor after that stale cliché of a beginning.

Suuuuure. Because in this day and age, Tolkien's plot oughta win awards for how original it is. Good vs Evil. Never saw that coming.

Considering the fact that what you define as cliche is probably the centerpiece of Tolkien's stories, I would say your argument is misplaced.

Not quite sure I understand what you're trying to say, but I'll try to respond.

What I defined as cliché was the 'dead family to avenge' deal. That is not a centerpiece of Tolkien's stories, to my knowledge. Silmarillion sees some dead wife/mother start off a quest of vengeance against orcs, maybe that's what you meant, but that's more a subplot if I remember, not what I'd call the centerpiece of his literature.

Though broad in its scope, unreasoning good-vs-evil is cliché too, probably even more so than the dead-family trope. However, good-vs-evil fits with Tolkien's theme and thus I would not have been bothered by that. If Talion had had the same broad motivation as Boromir does, that'd be fine. That would be quite sufficient in and of itself, adding a dead wife and kid is guilding the lily and done to death.

However, some other forum member mentioned this was not the gist of Talion's motivation, despite how the article reads, so I'm holding up hope I won't have to roll my eyes too hard during the prologue and will still feel adequately motivated in my orc onslaught.

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