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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 21:33:09     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Today I started up Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor which I got on steam for the PC. The game starts off with the ranger's prologue where he is sparring with his son at a castle. The combat feels rather fluid, but just as you're learning the controls and adjusting to the gameplay the story throws you right into an orc attack from the dark armies of Sauron. The prologue flashes back and forth between the events of the past to the current day, until you reach the end where your wife and son are brutally murdered in front of your eyes in cold blood.

    After the prologue, you are met with an elven wraith who tells the player that you are bounded and cursed by the deaths of your beloved ones and to unbind the curse you must find the one who is responsible, the black hand of Sauron.

    In terms of gameplay mechanics, the game is pretty interesting in that among the regular orc enemies such as archers, sword orcs and trolls there are Orc captains who you are tasked with killing and the rewards range from getting experience points to the ability to unlock new areas and proceed along the story.

    Overall a pretty good opener for Middle Earth, the prologue took me about 15 minutes or so, and the rest of the time I spent goofing around with the stealth mechanics and taking out a captain in the first area.

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    Jan 18th, 2018 at 22:02:33     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    For my final log on Prison Architect, I'll give more in-depth detail on the moral dilemma's the game throws at you. In chapter 4 the game opens you with pure chaos, the prisoners are rioting, no one is in control and all the information you are given is that you are in charge of cleaning up the mess. Backup is on the way, so you send in the riot police to recapture the wings that held back the once passive prisoners. All is going well and it seems that you're gaining back control over the facilities, that is until a hostage situation arises involving five former staff members and even the Director of the prison. The game forces you into a predicament, heavy backup involving riot police armed with guns come along finally, but should you use them? Time is a constraint and the situation is pure chaos at the moment, but should you pull the trigger on the violent prisoners? Arresting them and putting them on trial is one thing, but sending in armed guards to stop a riot is tantamount to executing them on the spot.

    For my playthrough, with a guilty conscience, I chose to send in the armed guards in order to rescue the hostages in a timely manner, the result was a pure bloodbath. The prisoner's who refused to lay down their weapons were cut down immediately with a hail of gunfire. Afterwards, the Mayor reconciles with you, "They deserved it", he said as well as "it was a matter of self-defense". But was it really? I had ample time to send the other riot police with batons to de-escalate the situation, maybe I pulled the trigger too early with the armed guards, maybe I didn't pull it early enough.

    Prison Architect, while it forces you into these situations in the campaign, these situations could easily just as happen in the sandbox mode. They give you the entire free choice whether to rehabilitate the inmates towards redemption, or whether we treat them like cattle for the crimes they've done. The game isn't elegant in its moral dilemma's but it does get the message through, while at the same time offering the player the freedom to make design his prison as he sees fit.

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    Jan 18th, 2018 at 00:40:31     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    Almost finished the second chapter, took me a few tries since I kept making dumb mistakes, i.e. I killed the firefighters by putting them inside the fires instead of outside of them. But this game does offer interesting ways on how you could treat your prisoners. You could either crack down on them, either by forcing them to comply with your requests, shakedowns, regular searches and etc. or you could offer them some freedoms in terms of recreation and access to better qualities of life such as food and hygiene. The story does offer a lot of interesting dilemma's as well, painting the different ways prisoners are portrayed and people who are caught regularly in illegal affairs.

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    Jan 17th, 2018 at 00:08:43     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    For today we finished the first tutorial and got halfway through the second. It was standard informational stuff such as building foundations and creating rooms. The tutorial also acts as the first chapter in the story mode of the game and told the tale of a double pre-meditated murder culprit and his eventual execution by our hands. I couldn't feel all too much since while I was trying to focus on the story of the game, I kept on getting prodded by the narrator of the tutorial to help guide the player along. It's a small nitpick but it did have an impact on how I enjoyed the portrayal of 'justice' in the game.

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    1Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)Playing
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