The Coffee break. 2 October 2014.
Well I finished watching a cutscene movie of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, and storytelling of the said title. Being one of many gamers I was skeptical about the company’s approach to gameplay, hearing of course the usual rumors that the game copied Assassin’s Creed 2 code, and that the combat was dangerously similar, and the list goes on. Now before I proceed with my comments, it is important to note that anything out on the market these days can be – in a sense – called a copycat, largely due to the fact that something has borrowed some idea from somewhere – historical concepts or older works of art. Sure there are original concepts coming out onto the market, but let me put an example on the table: Dragon Age 2.
Yes Kirkwall may sound like an original city name, but that name already exists in reality. Kirkwall is a city located far up north in Scotland in the area known as the Orkney Islands. Apart from being the capital of the Orkney Islands, Kirkwall has the status of a royal burgh, given to them by King James the 3rd of Scotland in 1486. Dragon Age 2’s developers probably went through the internet searching for something, and eventually stumbled on a name that would fit their city-state well for their title. Coming back to the whole: “Shadow of Mordor copied AC 2,” sure Assassin’s Creed took the stealth melee combat up a notch, but thief did it in first person, and if you wanted a modern approach then there is Metal Gear Solid, and Splinter Cell. The developers did innovate with their nemesis system, and indeed the game looks and feels like the Middle Earth we are all familiar with.
Now coming back to the game movie, the cutscenes told a story of a Gondorian ranger who lost his family, and is out on a quest for revenge. Now without naming who it is, or what role it plays, the ghost shares something with the ranger that ultimately leads them to fight the Orcs that inhabit Mordor. The story itself is really dark, dealing with loss and the need for closure – along with saving others from suffering the same fate. What I did find hilarious though is how an Orc winds up helping you in order to rise through the ranks. One line spoken by the ghost, the Orc was described as: “having a natural talent for failure.” There were moments where the Orc was essentially going to die, but after letting out a sigh, you help him and he goes about thumping his chest while you roll your eyes and remind him to honour your agreement.
The cutscene movie took about two hours to watch, but I enjoyed the ride all the way through. Now I am intimidated by the fact that you have to fight giant beasts, and sometimes keyboard and mouse are not the most agile tools out there, but the game looks like it could take countless hours from me as I go about branding every sorry Orc in the face, and making them fight for me (cause I am the puppet master – humor intended). Perhaps I will speak more of this title in a later post, but for now my opinion sits on this note: the game’s cinematics impressed me, and the gameplay looks appealing. Whether or not the game itself will live up to my expectations can be anyone’s guess, but at least it is not a Destiny where it promises a story and then delivers a pile of dung. Expect more commentary on this title, but until then folks this has been the writer for the 2nd of October 2014. Stay comfy out there, and I shall see you next time.