Posts Tagged ‘Monolith’

Why F.E.A.R.’s AI is still the best in first-person shooters

The shadows on the wall tell me they’re coming. Two of them, both with assault rifles swinging idly at their hips. If I’m quick enough, I’m sure I can take them both out in one go. I peek out of cover as they round the corner, and let my stake gun sing, pinning the first enemy to the wall with 10mm steel projectiles. But at the sound of gunfire the other one legs it back the way he came, hunkers down in cover, and yells for reinforcements down his radio.

This five-second episode tells you a lot about the attention to detail in F.E.A.R., a 12-year-old game with AI that puts many modern-day shooters to shame. Its army of clone soldiers feel smarter than any enemy I’ve faced in an FPS since, and remain razor-sharp to this day. Read the rest of this entry »

Middle-earth: Shadow Of War trailer shows the new Nemesis system

There’s a moment in the 16 minutes of footage of Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] below where the clipped voice-over refers to the “RPG systems” as player finds some new armour. It seems odd to me to think of that as the RPG system though when the rest of the game greatly expands the original’s Nemesis system and is about relationships forming dynamically between procedurally created characters. That sounds more like roleplay, to me. Watch it below, it’s cool.

Read the rest of this entry »

Middle-earth: Shadow of War announced [update]

Update: Following a little leak, Middle-earth: Shadow of War [official site] is now officially announced. It’s coming on August 22nd and yup, it sounds like more of the same but with an expanded Nemesis system. Check out the announcement trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Shogo: Mobile Armor Division

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Monolith released Blood in 1997. It instantly became one of my favourite games, the hammy mixture of gore, horror-comedy and Build engine destructibility the perfect cocktail for my teenage mindset. A year later, the studio released another FPS game that I didn’t look forward to nearly as much due to its anime mech theme, which appealed a whole less than Evil Dead fan fiction had. It turned to be a fine game though, going by the name Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

Read the rest of this entry »

Face-Breaking News: Condemned’s Possible Indie Future

BIFF!

What if publishers and rightsholders were more willing to experiment with unused or squandered series, taking chances on handing them to new developers? Square Enix have thought about opening some older Eidos series to third-party developers through their weird crowdfunding Collective thing, I know folks have agitated for Sega to stop making horrible Sonic games and give someone not-awful a chance, and now the chap who owns first-person puncher Condemned is musing about handing the homeless-hammering simulator over to an indie team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Shadow of More-dor: Playing With Permadeath In The DLC

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor came out last year to widespread appeal. Sure, the combat’s just a gorier, hyper deadly version of what we’ve already seen in the Batman Arkham games. Yeah, open world icon assassination was clearly lifted from Assassin’s Creed. But this time those icons were orcs, with actual memories and personalities, balanced on a power structure which the player was free to tinker with.

It’s great, but by the end of the game, messing with those systems felt unnecessary. You were powerful enough to just wade into the fortresses and kill your targets willy-nilly. What’s held my attention instead are the extra modes added since launch (one free, the rest paid-for DLC), which allow you to play the game as something approximating a roguelike. The free ‘Test of Defiance’ is the only mode that actually limits you to a single death, but it also doesn’t randomize the enemies or require you to gather intel on them.. Instead, I’m playing the ‘Test of the Wild’, which tasks you with ‘killing all 5 Warchiefs plus all 20 Captains’. I’m only giving myself one life, and to make things more interesting I’ll only use runes which I find as I play, ignoring the haul I gathered while playing the main game. Bring it on, hordes of Sauron.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Bestest Best Action: Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor‘s moment-to-moment biffing is a trick we’ve seen before, but it’s still impressive to watch your wraith-Ranger shift and flip with seamless animations between punching one gribbly uruk and gutting another. Yet it’s the Nemesis system, which gives the action context within the larger army of Sauron and world of Mordor, that makes every assassination matter so much more and which makes Middle-earth the best action game of 2014.

John: The highest compliment I can pay Mordor is to say it was 2014’s Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. Which is to say, the game I found the most enjoyable, the most effortlessly absorbing, this year. Yes, it’s vapid, but that’s part of its appeal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Commander Ladystab: Another Shadow Of Mordor Outfit

Stabs.

Dear Video Games,
Please observe what Monolith are doing with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Recognising that its bland-o hero could be anything with two legs, two arms, and two blades, they’ve been releasing free outfits that turn Johnny Stabman into other people. First he became gothy villain the Black Hand of Sauron, and now we can play as a lady – Lithariel, the warrior commander met in the campaign. If your story is mostly dressing, why not let us stab-stab away as a variety of people?

Yr pal,
A

Read the rest of this entry »

Cosplay And Runes In Free Shadow of Mordor DLC

I AM SAD.

If you’ve been playing Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for a while, you’re probably thinking “Hey! Why did Johnny Stabman here stop being so angsty? I miss that angst! When will he be angsty again?” Well, my friend, you’re in luck. Warner Bros. yesterday released a free little DLC pack with a costume that lets you dress like a… I was thinking like a black metal lifestyler, but look how chipper and delightful the Vegan Black Metal Chef is. Why can’t Johnny Stabman be more like him?

Perhaps the free Epic-level runes the pack gives you too might cheer him up.

Read the rest of this entry »

The RPS Verdict: Middle-Earth – Shadow Of Mordor

MOOOOOORRRRRRRRRDDDOOOOOOOOORRRRRRR, is the primary form of communication about Monolith’s Middle-hyphen-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor. However, we managed to break free of this trapping, and instead converse about the game in ever-so-slightly more erudite form. Below Jim, Alec and John have a natter about orc killing matter.
Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think Now I’ve Finished Shadow Of Mordor

Now I’ve played for a large proportion of the last five days, with the main storyline completed, and a worrying number of the collectibles and side quests ticked off, I feel far more prepared to give a more definitive statement on Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor: I love it.

When I wrote my Wot I Think So Far of the game last week, I already knew it was great. Now I know it’s brilliant.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think (So Far): Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

I haven’t finished Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor, because for whatever tiresome reasons Warner refused to give us (and seemingly us alone) code before the game’s release. This is after a couple of lengthy days spent plugging away at what is a huge, detailed, and really rather fantastic brawling action game, set betwixt Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings (and importantly, it’s fun even if you don’t care about either). Here’s wot I think (so far).

Read the rest of this entry »

Shadow Of Mordor Out 30th, But We Won’t Have A Review

Middle-Earth: Shadows Of Mordor looks like quite the prospect. An open world RPG in Tolkein’s universe, developed by Monolith. And you play as the best of all the classes, a ranger! It sounds rather exciting, but we’ve just learned that we’re not going to be able to tell you if it is or not before the game’s released, on the 30th September in the US. Huh.

Update: We’re being informed that console outlets already have review code, after attending a special event, and will have reviews online by the 26th. It seems this is a special treat for the PC version. We will keep you up to date.

Second update: Sadly, when we asked for details as to why PC code was not available when console was, we were told by Warner, “We have no further comment… at this stage.”

Read the rest of this entry »

New Middle Earth: Shadows Of Mordor Trailer Is Zeitgeisty

Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor grabs the current zeitgeist like only licensed games can, cobbling together a third-person action game from bits of Batman: Arkham Asylum, bits of Assassin’s Creed, bits of Michael Bay-derived editing and sound effects. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. I like some of those things! I also like punching orcs. This could be a pleasant game, and the new cutscenes-and-combat trailer (mostly cutscenes) below introduces i) some new villains ii) your motivation as the player (not-spoilers: your family are killed).

Read the rest of this entry »

The Placing Of Products: Middle Earth – Shadows Of Mordor

While watching the latest trailer for Middle Earth: God of War-dor, I realised that I’d started to think of the Lord of the Rings references as a sort of product placement. There’s a splatter of blood, a decapitation, a roaring of monsters, and then the narrator mentions something about Sauron. It’s branded decapitation, y’see. In the latest video, a ranger uses ‘wraith’ powers to see into the minds of his enemies, seeking their weaknesses and fears. It seems like a perfect opportunity for more product placement, which is something I’d like to encourage in games as in films. The industry needs a new pair of shoes, after all.

Read the rest of this entry »

It Lives Again: Blood Rises On Steam

If I wrote a post every time an old game popped up on Steam, I wouldn’t have time to gather my thoughts about new games, or to drink this delicious cuppa. I’d also be wasting a lot of words on Putt-Putt And Fatty Bear’s Flatulent Festival, along with various other fetid blasts from the past. Blood is different though. It isn’t a difficult game to find but when I spotted that it had emerged on Steam, I felt the butterflies that live in my stomach fluttering into action (assistance required – send a lepidopterist with a scalpel). It’s a brilliant FPS, with credible environments and intelligent enemy placement, particularly throughout the first episode, which I’ve probably played more than any other collection of levels.

Do not buy the sequel though. It’s a rotten mess.

Read the rest of this entry »

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor Has Assassins, No Creeds

I swear I'm not Eziooooooooooooooooooooo

I remember when Lord of the Rings games legitimately excited me. Of course, I was roughly 12 seconds old back then and wanted to grow up to be Legolas (life experience has since taught me that Aragorn is where it’s at and also that far better fantasy literature exists), but there was a time when the prospect of mowing down a million orcs like so many blades of sickly green grass seemed like an idyllic, Shire-worthy way to spend an afternoon. I wondered, then, if Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor‘s latest trailer would rekindle that feeling in me, that wide-eyed reverence of a youth boxed away in the basements of time. Long story short, it didn’t. Kinda made me want to play Assassin’s Creed, though.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yesssss: No One Lives Forever Finally Getting Re-Released

'Hey, get off me!' the mime did not say.

Yes yes yes thank goodness hooray finally oh gosh woooo wheeeee yeah excellent fantastic wonderful groovy there should be a parade.

No One Lives Forever, the excellent tongue-in-cheek spy series from Monolith whose rights mysteriously went missing, is very likely about to get an online re-release. Finally. So, where in the world has Carmen Sandiego Cate Archer been hiding all this time? Well, it looks like Night Dive Studios – they of the System Shock 2 and Humongous Entertainment re-releases – got ahold of the series, though they’re not committing to anything just yet.

Read the rest of this entry »

You Will NOLF True FEAR: Betrayer Out Now

AGH NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU KNOW I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES OF ME GET THAT CAMERA OUT OF MY FACE

Once upon a time Monolith made the candy/1970s-colored No One Lives Forever, but then the years passed and the colors drained away. The result? F.E.A.R., which traded NOLF’s yuck-yuck-yucks for some spooky, splattery “oh… yucks.” Flash forward to today: all of the color is gone, with six Monolith vets producing the gloomily black-and-white Betrayer. It’s got scares in spades and thick cobwebs of dread lingering in every corner of its 1604 Roanoke colony setting, but is it any good? Now you can find out. Launch trailer below.

Read the rest of this entry »