Posts Tagged ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of War’

When are you done with a game?

Spelunky Complete

Some games can be finished, completed, defeated or beaten. They have an end-point, even though they might be replayable. Others have the potential to go on forever. Whatever the case, there always comes a point when you’re done with a game, and it might be long before the credits roll, or it might be after that one update that breaks a habit that has lasted for years. Why do we stop playing?

Let’s get one potential answer out of the way: ‘when we stop having fun’. While there’s definitely something to that idea, it doesn’t take into account temporary frustration caused by difficulty spikes, or the satisfaction – a related cousin of ‘fun’ – from seeing a narrative through to its end. It’s a sentiment that might work for multiplayer games, but I’m not convinced it can be applied more broadly than that. With a look at Shadow of War, Spelunky and Caveblazers among others, here are some thoughts on the end of play.

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Steam Charts: New Entries Edition!

People, people of Earth, for the second week in a row GTA V isn’t in the Steam Charts! And for the first time in human history, this week nor is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive! What’s happened? I’ll tell you what’s happened. Everyone’s got a copy now. Phew.

So instead, here are eight other games and Plunkbat, and one plastic box, in ascending order of dollar-eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Middle-earth: Shadow of War, The Evil Within 2 and our nemeses

Nemesis this

Who’s your worst nemesis? This week the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, is talking about our most reviled enemies, against whom we hold deep, lasting grudges. Matt harbours a lasting bitterness for Silencer, the magic-cancelling war jerk of Dota 2. Adam is fuelled by a dark hatred for the final boss of Ancient Domains of Mystery, a giant ‘@’ symbol called Andor Drakon. And I still maintain a grievance against an entire electricity company in Final Fantasy VII. They killed my friends.

And speaking of nemeses, we’ve had plenty of time to play Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the icon-hoovering game of anti-establishment orcs, which has us divided. The Evil Within 2 also gets some attention, as Adam runs from spectres and fails to stealth-kill hideous monsters, and I am publicly shamed in Tekken 7 by a robot who takes off her head and throws it at me.
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Middle-earth: Shadow of War due endless Shadow Wars

War, I’m told, war never changes – and nor need it end. Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] will add the option to endlessly play Shadow Wars, the fortress-assaulting mode that’s the focus of the game’s fourth act. Leif Johnson told us he grew bored of Shadow Wars before the end of the chapter but hey, if you want to endlessly attack and defend, you will get that option. Read the rest of this entry »

UK government responds to loot box questions (vaguely)

Playing the loot

The UK government has responded to two questions posed by a Cambridge MP about loot boxes and gambling laws. It is a very very very very boring answer, and says basically nothing apart from highlighting current regulations about gambling. That’s not much of a surprise, although the speed at which the government has “answered” suggests an awareness that the issue of loot crates is smoldering upon the floor of the industry, like a flaming paper bag with a poo in it. Something might have to be done about it, sure, but nobody wants to volunteer their boot. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam charts: it’s the end of the world

Wotcha gang. Your old chum Alice here for this week’s charts, as everyone else has been fired. Out of a cannon. Blown into a jillion little pieces. Hence the Apocalyptic yellow tone to the skies today. Hold your breath when outside, and hold your breath while we count down last week’s top ten of the top-selling games on Steam.

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Loot box questions brought up in UK parliament

Spooky loot

“Loot” used to be such a nice word. It brought to mind coffers piled with doubloons. Today it is often followed by the word “crate” and an expression of disgust. After recent controversies over the inclusion of loot boxes in games like Middle-earth: Shadow of War and Star Wars: Battlefront 2, the issue of this psychologically iffy practice has been brought up in the UK parliament in the form of two written questions submitted by a Cambridge MP. In short, they ask the government: what do you plan to do about “in-game gambling”?
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There’s a free HD texture DLC for Shadow Of War (but you probably don’t need it)

shadow-of-war-high-resolution-texture-pack

You may well already know this, but going on the basis that most of the RPS team weren’t aware of it, let’s put the word out anew. As if 65 gigabytes of PC Middle-earth: Shadow Of War weren’t enough, there’s also an optional extra, free 10Gb download, comprising what’s officially called a ‘High Resolution Texture Pack.’ In other words, it in theory makes the grime, squalor and butchered viscera of Mordor that little bit more grimy, squalid and visceral butchered viscera-y.

It’s not that simple. It’s never that simple. Join me as I investigate whether installing ten gig of ‘Ultra’ textures really makes a difference to your nemesising. Read the rest of this entry »

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War shows that revenge is a dish best served re-heated

shadowofwar1

Nothing does revenge quite like Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War [official site]. But more games really really should.

When Shadow Of Mordor came out in 2014, no one was really expecting it to be good. But it was great. And the greatest thing about it was its Nemesis system. Because your character is already dead, and possessed by a grey, grey ghost, getting killed by an enemy was not your end. Instead you woke up at a respawn tower, with vengeance on your mind. The orc that killed you would automatically be given a promotion, a ranking among the orc leadership in the area, and greater abilities. He’d also be given a personality, strengths and weaknesses, and most of all, a name. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Destiny 2, Steamworld Dig 2 and binge gaming

'ello Traveller

Oh heavens look at you, you’ve been bingeing on videogames again. Pumping platformers into your veins and shoving shooters into your piehole. That’s fine, so have we. This week’s edition of the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, is all about binge gaming. Alec joins us to talk about chomping down on numbers-go-up alien-zapper Destiny 2, which Adam has also been gorging on. Meanwhile, I’ve been happily dig-dugging my way through robotic metroidvania Steamworld Dig 2, which as far as I’m concerned is far healthier and wiser.
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Middle-earth: Shadow of War darkens our door

Tootle on your warhorn and coax your ghostpal back into body, as Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] launched overnight. Monolith’s sequel to 2014’s Shadow of Mordor brings more open-world action with orcs to antagonise, fortresses to capture, limbs to hack off, baddies to enslave (ikr?), faces to fill with arrows, spooky ghostpowers to learn, and a sexy spider to puzzle over. The sequel also expands the ‘Nemesis’ system which builds relationships with NPCs and changes how they react to you. This is great, Leif Johnson said in his Middle-earth: Shadow of War review: Read the rest of this entry »

Do you need loot boxes to complete Shadow of War’s final act?

Shadow of War's Shadow Wars 1

I hate defending fortresses in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. I hate it so much, in fact, that when an army of orcs from the Machine tribe showed up at the gates of my fortress in Núrnen in Mordor’s sunny southeast, I just went to the menu, clicked “Leave Mission,” and let them have it.

And so it often went with Shadow of War’s controversial fourth act – called The Shadow Wars – which involves a 10-stage series of battles over different fortresses before you can reach the “real” ending. Some say it’s essentially impossible to complete without using purchasable loot boxes stuffed with legendary quality gear and orcs for your army if you run out of money, with Polygon going so far as to say that the system is “predatory.” I, on the other hand, said in my own Shadow of War review that I didn’t get the point of the loot boxes. I never felt the need to use them. After playing a lot more of Shadow Wars, I feel the same way, and although I mainly came to that conclusion by pulling stunts like the one above, that “stunt” made the game more fun. I sincerely believe developer Monolith Productions could remove the boxes right now and it’d make little tangible difference to the game. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: High Difficulty Edition

Are you strong enough to read the Steam Charts? Do you have what it takes to read all the way to the end? Can you defeat the Plunkbat final boss? NO! NO YOU ARE TOO WEAK! Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Middle-earth: Shadow of War

ShadowofWar11

I never thought I’d be playing Pokémon with Tolkienian orcs, but here I am in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, standing with my army before the fortress of Khargukôr amid the snowy peaks of Seregost.

The orc in charge is a dainty fellow who calls himself Krímp the Rhymer, and I can’t help but admire his fashion sense in this grubby world. That immaculately crafted leather jerkin. That bycocket with the two red feathers that match the shafts in his quiver. Such style. I almost want to let him be. Fortunately he shatters that thought when we meet in person and he blurts the cringy battlecry “Your fate has gone from bad to worse / You face an orc who speaks in verse!” Some crimes can’t go unpunished. Read the rest of this entry »

Middle-earth: Shadow of War’s memorial DLC goes free

A Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] DLC character created to memorialise and fundraise for a deceased member of the development team will now be given free to all players, Warner Bros. have decided after it raised a stink. Styled after executive producer Michael Forgey, who passed away in 2016, the Forthog Orcslayer is a friendly NPC who was initially sold to benefit Forgey’s family. But a communication mistake suggested WB would only donate money from purchases in the US, keeping money from elsewhere for themselves (WB later clarified that wasn’t the case). After the memorial became a mess, WB will make the Forthog Orcslayer free and themselves donate money direct to the family. Read the rest of this entry »

Humble Very Positive Bundle 2 available now, featuring Oxenfree, Shadow of War, and more

Humble Very Positive Bundle 2

Have you heard the one about Humble making a new Bundle? It’s a good one. Rather, it’s a Very Positive one.

Following on from the original ‘Very Positive’ Bundle back in May this year, Humble has brought the idea back for another go – in the Humble Very Positive Bundle 2, funnily enough. The collection of games brought together here all feature Steam ratings of ‘Very Positive’ or above and while we can’t always rely on those ratings as proof of a game’s intrinsic qualities, as recent happenings have taught us, rest assured these games are quite good.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War details microtransactions

As exciting as an expanded Nemesis system and an itsy busty spider might sound for Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site], Warner Bros. had been sitting on a hot, juicy, and thrilling marketing blast. Now they have finally let rip: heck yes Shadow of War will have optional microtransactions to hasten powering-up in this singleplayer game. Come on gang, give me a “Hell yeah!”

I said give me a “Hell yeah!”

No? I thought one of you Willennials would at least do it ‘ironically’. Read the rest of this entry »

Middle-earth: Shadow of War turns spider Shelob all sexy

If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely often wished that spiders were hot babes. “This giant spider is okay,” you thought while watching the biggun in Peter Jackson’s And Then And Then, “but I wouldn’t kiss her. That’s far too many eyes for me to stare lustily into. I wouldn’t stroke her spinnerets. And she’s not even wearing a dress for thigh to cheekily peek though.” Mate, we’re in luck, you and I: Shelob is back in Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site], and this time she is hot. Here, watch Shelob take human form to be all magic and cryptic: Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of Shadow Of Mordor’s combat

Shadow of Mordor [official site] has one of the most satisfying combat moves in gaming. It’s a simple double counter, performed by tapping the counter button twice when separate enemies attack you at the same time. You, the ranger Talion, block one attack. To deal with the other you summon an undead elvish Lord called Celebrimbor, who springs out of your body in wraith form to parry the shocked orc’s sword and pummels them into the ground. Every time it happens part of me wants to jump from my seat and whoop.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of War & the Truman Show Effect

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War [official site] expands on its predecessor’s innovative Nemesis System and its believable NPCs take us one step further away from the static worlds of most open world games. I’ve been thinking about how that works, and why so many games make me think of The Truman Show.

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