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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 22:57:47     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    For this final session of the game log, I wasn't really able to come up with any new meaningful reflection. But I did have some musings about underdog character and characters perceived as evil in general. I haven't consciously thought about about it before, and I am lacking examples for that reason, but I wonder what the feelings are towards those types of characters both evil and good. Its something I will probably be cognizant of in stories going future because of it. Last time I had left off with a question about the attachment people may or may not feel towards these characters in this form of entertainment, and one of the first things I did today was look at the captain listings to decide which one to go after. I was quite close to an upgrade I wanted so I figured I would grab that really quick. My immediate thought was to make sure Ratbag was not implicated in any power struggles, and then because he was I went after the opposing captain first. Which is what brought up the musing on the underdog earlier, he is clearly defined as an underdog character, "evil", and he is also the comic relief.A well done comic relief character I might add, which I think is why I enjoy that character more than the others introduced so far. I'm pretty sure he can't die outside of what is probably going to be a main story mission down the line, but the fact that it was my first instinct to check that out was interesting. (not a huge fan of Gollum, heresy I know.)

    writing this also makes me reflect on stories that made me feel something in a game context, and I realized most of the games I play are not very memorable to me, although it doesn't help that my memory is abysmal in general. I know it is possible to make characters and stories that have an impact, the most memorable for me are actually short stories nestled within Lost Odyssey, but games themselves that I can think of are probably Final Fantasy 9 and Dragon Age: Origins. Which I realize are my favorite games for other reasons, so maybe that is a bias or rose tinted spectacles. Either way, I wish I had more time with this game in particular for these logs, I'm sure I will have some interesting things to say once I've beaten the campaign. (Sorry this one ended up being more stream of consciousness than I meant it to be! Gotta go deal with some things at work else I would revise it a bit.)

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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 01:31:28     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Continuing today with the main story I thought about a few things regarding racial stereotypes and the like that we discussed last week. I've read a something that mentions the murder to be more or less justified because they are orcs. The orcs of this world are a sentient race, corrupted and misguided, but still have a fair amount of intelligence. I personally really enjoyed the character of Ratbag, who was meant to be a comic relief character in this game of intense violence and generally serious overtones. Ratbag is the one orc that I wouldn't put as much into the orc stereotype I would expect coming into this game. Caveat being I don't know much LoTR lore, so maybe they have more variation in them then I have been exposed to. Yes, the game needs its evil to deal with, but maybe it will end up exploring more shades of grey in the coming hours. It would be an interesting spin on things in the long run. Though I suppose Ratbag so far is the exploration of the shades of grey, though he isn't a particularly benevolent orc, just an incompetent one.

    This also brings up a side thoughts on what stock do we actually put into these entities. It makes me wonder how much of a disconnect is there between player and actions in a game. I know some games have tasteless forced sequences, but how much does it affect us as consumers? How much should it affect us? Should games be made to be more or less impactful in spheres such as these, rather than continuing to desensitize us? My current, although not extremely thought out, stance is that there is plenty of marketspace for games that fall all over on those scales, and let it be a buyers market for what they want to do with their leisure time.

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    Feb 14th, 2018 at 04:54:42     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    This morning I started playing Shadow of Mordor, which is an interesting game. But what it makes me wonder about is the overuse of of this formulaic style of open world. Where you take a sizable map, litter it with respawning enemies, sprinkle it with collectibles, draw out some "zones" and inside each zone put a tower of some kind to unlock the previous information on the minimap. While I understand this game is a little bit older and probably before that concept of the open world formula was intensely popularized and overused, it is still a turn off initially. The combat for this game is also nothing new, in my experience it has been referred to as Arkham combat, after the Batman games. While the system is good, and in my opinion a bit more entertaining in this game, possibly just because the aesthetics are more appealing personally, it is still basically heavily reusing a system.

    We had discussed utilitarianism recently and I have a few thoughts that are jumping around in my mind about that. I personally do not agree with that moral stance, but looking at it through that lens makes me think that this is one of the kinds of games that are good for the average game consumer. This model I would believe tends to offer a large amount of entertainment for those more casual consumers. It has plenty of objectives to side track the player and those environments are constantly repopulating with enemies. This is a good base of giving them a challenge while they explore and complete these collectibles and side quests. My initial assumption is that this will be the main entertainment value for them. It occupies time in a more or less meaningful way, I do appreciate that the collectibles in this game enrich the experience with well voice acted backstory. The main quests I have not delved much into, but I expect that to be a fairly short experience in comparison, but the main allure of these games to most people is value per entertainment hour. It is using tried and well received systems as a foundation, and throws in a unique mechanic, which I haven't made it to yet, in order to provide what they want with a new twists for the people who can maybe only afford one game every month or so and need to get all they can out of it.

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    Jan 18th, 2018 at 02:58:15     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    I would've liked to have spent more time on my final play session, but between being tired and having a busy schedule yesterday/today I couldn't make that happen. I will leave more time for it next time, I didn't realize the first game logs were due this week.

    Maybe it was because I was so tired and ready to just be done for the day, but I couldn't even get through chapter 4. This tutorial level just seemed to drag on. I am looking forward to jumping into the sandbox mode in the next few days, but it does not have any particularly obvious ways to compare it to class in its play. The only things I can relate it to are story content.

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