Thursday 23 February, 2017
This session (the final journal entry for Middle Earth) was interesting for me. Shadow of Mordor is an extremely fun game. The nemesis system, in which enemies rise up through the ranks and grow more and more powerful, is one of the most clever and well made game mechanics in the last few years. Adding a personal flair and all of the strengths and weaknesses to each enemy you target in the orc army makes each session of the game unique to each player. While one player may take out an Uruk commander named Dush who is afraid of fire and immune to ranged attacks, I took out Golgoroz, who feared beasts and had an enormous contingent of orcs that accompanied him everywhere he went. This makes my experience playing this game unique in some small ways to literally every other player who ever picked up a controller.
Integral to all of this is the relationship between Talion and Ratbag the Coward. Despite being an orc, Talion uses Ratbag to gain intel and works to maneuver Ratbag inside the upper ranks of the orc army. By working with an orc, Talion is sacrificing his moral superiority. Talion is willing to do whatever it takes to draw out the Black Hand of Sauron. This makes me wonder, do the ends justify the means? Is Talion taking Ratbag’s offer and helping this murdering scheming orc to rise in power worth it if in the end Talion is able to take out the Black Hand? If the ends truly justify the means then by all means Talion should use every advantage he can to exact his revenge, but where does the line stop?
While the game doesn’t let you do anything to harm slaves or innocents, would Talion as a character be willing to in order to meet his goals? Would there be anything stopping Talion from performing even more heinous acts if it meant getting what he wanted? The fear of death is a powerful motivator for men to not do immoral acts. Today if you are caught murdering someone, even if that is for the greater good of the world, you will likely face life in prison or the Death Sentence. Talion has no such restrictions. If he is killed he will simply come back. If that is the case, what motivates Talion to do the “right” thing. He seems to be an honorable man, and he certainly would have done anything to save his Wife and Son, but with those lost to him is there anything he wouldn’t sacrifice or do to get his revenge and break his curse?
This game has been immensely fun to play and I look forward to diving into more ethical frameworks and ideas for the One Page Analysis.