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    JChambers's Shadow of Mordor (XBONE)

    [January 23, 2018 12:57:27 AM]
    It is day three of my playthrough of Shadow of Mordor, and I have realized something that I had forgotten: The game wears thin fairly quickly. As I said on day one,The game basically boils down to a series of assaults meant to strike terror into your enemies. After two days of spending my postgame time looking back at my actions, I began to look for ways to avoid the main hook of the game. Instead I tried to find a way to avoid enemies, instead concentrating on side activities such as hunting down artifacts. I do not believe that the game is necessarily immoral or without a purpose, I just do not find myself compelled to continue the activities. I have the same sort of aversion to the Grand Theft Auto series. I never really cared to role play criminal activity. This does not mean, however that I find those who do enjoy these types of games to be morally bankrupt. Instead I think there is plenty of room for all types of stories within varied media. Still, I did not think that reflecting on Mordor would lead me to this conclusion. I felt that I had just fell off the game previously due to other, newer games. Instead, I now feel like I have bounced hard off of a game that I find a bit too far on the "renegade" end of the spectrum, and that is too bad. The game has a lot going for it mechanically.
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    [January 21, 2018 08:06:38 PM]
    My second playthrough of Shadow of Mordor has gone something like this: Climb tower, get mission, get distracted trying to hunt down Orc, run afoul of different Orc, die fighting different Orc, respawn, get distracted trying to hunt down different Orc....

    One of the main things that I enjoyed about the game the first time that I played was the Nemesis System. I like the way the randomly generated Orcs present themselves WWE style with a short threat/monologue. I actually did not realize it at the time, but for me the insults served as a reason to say "I need to go hunt down that jerk". I find it to be a good bit of motivation as opposed to any of the narrative driven reasons that I was supposed to be invested. Killed by an evil army? No big deal. Ghost-elf in my head? I'll live. My family is dead? Meh. Oh, what's that you say? That green guy just called me names in a Mary Poppins chimney sweep accent?! Time to die...

    This second playthrough has led me to question the way the game motivates me. Family vengeance (in my opinion) is a great reason to go Orc hunting, but is not a "real" motivation. I was completely sucked in to the mechanics of the Nemesis System, and to be honest, it is a great system. I would love to see this used in other games. There are a few problems that come up when considering the gameplay within the world that serves as a setting. I need to look it up, but previous bits of lore within the world basically say "Orcs are people, too". The mechanics feel just a bit off in conjunction with the story, and I hate saying that because I really enjoy both elements separately. I think I might just really like the idea of playing a generic Orc Murder simulator, that way I could shut my brain off an go full WWE.
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    [January 20, 2018 08:15:16 PM]
    The next three log entries will be about Shadow of Mordor. I previously played this game soon a after release, and did not think much about the experience at the time. The only thing that I previously noted was how much I enjoyed the mechanics of the Nemesis System. I did, however, notice quite a few ethical issues on this most recent play through. Today, I would like to discuss one specific topic: The way the game encourages the use of fear to obtain goals. Most people call this tactic terrorism.

    The Merriam-Webster definition of terrorism is "the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion". In the case of Mordor, I find this definition is accurate. My character has quite a few unlocks due to previous play. One specific ability allows the player to kill an enemy and immediately viciously stab and hack the defeated NPC in order to send nearby enemy Orcs into a panic. This is the Tolkienesque equivalent of a car bomb going off at a military checkpoint. The only thing that kept me from seeing this earlier was the wrapper. These actions are used repeatedly to get information from enemies so that you can track down bigger baddies in order to get revenge for the loss of your family.

    I enjoyed a number of Tolkien's works, in a funny coincidence, while deployed. Does this mean that I think the game is immoral and a promotion of extremist tactics? No, I do not. I do however think it is important to recognize themes at work in fiction. I do not like taking away choice in games, and I think there is a line. I just do not think this is that line. It feels more like a choice that you have to think about and possibly justify. How far are you willing to go? Where is the line that you are not willing to cross? Also, I have to admit that If this were a game that involved performing similar actions in a modern military setting, I would probably find it completely unplayable.

    All this and I still have not discussed the Nemesis System. More on that tomorrow.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 20th, 2018 at 20:16:04.

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    JChambers's Shadow of Mordor (XBONE)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 20 January, 2018

    JChambers's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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