Dear Rock, Paper, Shotgun,
I miss your smile. I miss your comments on my previews wondering how much sugar I have consumed to write it and what the heck kind of quirky BS is this and whether I will or will not ever get around to writing about triple A video games for you. But I come to you today to ask you about yourself. What is it, my pretty lovelies, that you are playing right now? I would like to know. And I miss you.
Personally I've been sloshing about in Beeswing, Jack King-Spooner's lovely Scottish rural RPG, but I've also been lingering in New York with a grittier kin called Shadow of Mordor. I know you want me to talk about Shadow of Mordor so I am going to say this:
Shadow of Mordor is fucking fantastic. It's got a bit of crunch from that old Godhand and more than a bit of that new Batman, and it's so satisfying to kill an orc just to watch him die. I think this is all due to the lovely combat system being so easy to master and so full of lovely frictiony impact, your character sweeping up and slurping the edge of your blade right into someone's unmentionables. And then spurting his head off and having a shower in it and dancing about like a fool.
But it's weird because, I know you think that I'm all about 'ooh lol sex' and all that these days because I write a column about sex and relationships in games, but I'm trying not to see how there's a very explicit erotic edge of Shadow of Mordor that enhances its brutal joy. There's a definite intimacy implied by how close the orcs get to slowly spit words at your face, and the words themselves... Well they get very body-specific. And then there's the fact that orcs are definitely an all-bloke line up. It's all very... Top Gun. It's about bodies and mud and sticky blood, just fluids all over the place. The taunts are deliciously lingering, and the politics? Well the rearranging of who is going to top 'n' tail you... It's very hot, is what I am saying.
I think it's the first big budget game that's experimented with male intimacy.
Anyway Yannick LeJacq over at the Kotakus found this nice article about it too.
What are you playing? Have you inadvertently got turned on by orcs today at all? Sorry.