Tag Archives: middle-earth

PCP: Shadow of War

Fun Fridayz #24 – Fire and Freedom

Mordor’s War Opens Doors, Expands the Floor, and Leaves Us Wanting More

The short of it: It’s more of what made the original great, with just a few stagnant stumbles to slow it down. 

There’s basically three major points of discussion for this game:

  1.  The game itself
  2. The lootbox debacle
  3. The role and appearance of women

Well technically…

It runs pretty great. It looks just a little bit better than its predecessor, but it feels a lot smoother. The facial animations are fantastic, the character animations and motion performances are just delightful to watch.

The most pressing problem I run into is character pop in after fast travelling. With a lot of emphasis on the bow as a tool, it makes it feel a bit useless when you have to wait out the orc load time to skip manually climbing up a cliff face. Other than that, though, nothing really performs poorly.

Once again, the story’s been pretty mediocre. It’s doing an okay job of building up the tension between Talion and Celebrimbor, but it’s more obvious than an orc ambush. There’s certainly more allies and actually interesting NPCs, which surprisingly works in the face of being a death-defying god. These regular people and orcs with their regular Middle-earth problems offer a different side of Talion– I think my personal favorite moment so far has been Talion sitting back and listening to a guy talk about his personal problems and worries. Just a casual type of buddy interaction. It doesn’t drastically impact the story or up the stakes. It’s just Talion getting the chance to be human again.

Boxtroversy

Yeah, there are lootboxes. Yeah, you can blow cash on them for premium items that would otherwise be difficult or time-consuming to do. And yeah, lootboxes need to be discussed as a form of gambling and appealing to children and those with addictions.

But man, it’s barely a thing here. The best you can get is something you can just stumble upon in the massive field of orc captains. It’s a waste of game to roll on these boxes. I’m drowning in currency without ever equipping any currency generating items. The premium currency is pretty consistently accidentally acquired through daily challenges, and I’ve yet to spend any of it.

I think the worst part of this whole thing is just how many bad buzzwords are sunk in these systems. Gems, gold coins, silver coins, legendary, epic, heroic, followers, daily challenge: all of these are garbage.

Forming a Feel for the Female Form

Alright, that’s not a great subhead.

But here’s the thing: I need to finish this game to truly see how this game handles its women. There was some argument about Shelob’s female form, and it made sense at the time. Why make the giant spider into a sexy lady? Well, it actually serves a pretty good knock against Talion’s hero complex. Like a spider, she lures him into this web by preying on his weakness for women. Of course, Talion’s complex is deeper than a hero stereotype due to the fact that he watched his wife die as he watched, powerless. And again, this is such a deeper debate than initially expected because it shifts the power dynamic that’s typically so one-sided.

And then there’s the sexy tree lady. And the woman soldier who apparently earns her title of “Warrior” by superseding her femininity (“She’s no longer a woman, she’s a warrior!”).

So I’ll be back for this one. I’ve got to get my corkboard and yarn ready.

Advertisements