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    Mar 28th, 2018 at 12:54:26     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Game Log 3 Part 3 Ė Shadow of Mordor

    Making progress in this game is a slow endeavor. I got through a couple more quests and ended up helping Ratbag get promoted to Warchief, but it took a while, and I died trying to get further than that.

    I did get some more backstory on the wraith (the game finally revealed his name) and now Iím guessing that his evil friend in the flashback sequences was the one who killed his family. I still wish that Talion and the wraith would have more interaction than ďweíre very cursed, have some exposition,Ē but it doesnít seem likely at this point.

    The mechanics are getting more complex as the game goes on, but the core gameplay of hunting down orcs is starting to get repetitive. I feel like all Iím doing is finding chiefs and captains, murdering them in a variety of gory ways, and occasionally interrogating them for more information so I can hunt down more captains. Once I have that information, the cycle starts all over again.

    Iím obviously going to have to spend more time with this game than what Iíve put in this gamelog if I want to get anywhere near finishing it. Iím a few hours in already, and my progress according to the menu is only 18%. That said, it has been a generally enjoyable experience so far, and Iíll probably be able to put in a few more hours with it before it becomes a mind-numbing grind.

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    Mar 27th, 2018 at 23:29:17     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Game Log 3 Part 2 Ė Shadow of Mordor

    During this play session, I did manage to get a bit further in the story. First I helped a guy named Ratbag escape captivity and overthrow a captain, and then I ended up following Gollum around on a couple of quests. Iíve gotten the hang of combat and stealth at this point, so I was able to get through all three without too much trouble. Iím also starting to learn more about the wraithís past, and Iím still not quite convinced that he wasnít the one who murdered his family, and he just doesnít remember it yet.

    Talion, the ranger protagonist, has so far remained a static character, slashing orcs and generally not trusting anybody. Iím intrigued by the duality of him and the wraith, and I wish the story would go further into that, rather than have Talion just roll with the fact that heís possessed now.

    Iím also starting to get some bad blood between me and a couple of orcs. After getting murdered by one of them, I was treated to a nice cutscene of him gloating over my corpse and getting promoted. My attempts to get revenge on him ended in me running away from an angry fortress horde several times, and I had to give it up. I tried to take solace in knowing I wasnít helping other orcs with their player-murdering career aspirations, but then I ran into two other captains and my plans were foiled. I managed to take one of them down, but then the other killed me, and this reshuffled the entire ranking dynamic, ending with my old foe getting another promotion despite being nowhere near the conflict.

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    Mar 26th, 2018 at 22:53:00     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Game Log 3 Part 1 Ė Shadow of Mordor

    I had no idea what to expect when I started up Shadow of Mordor. What I got was a fighting/stealth game with a hilariously uneven amount of polish. In some ways, my experience during this first play session was good. I enjoyed running around and learning the controls, the soundtrack was lovely, and even the tutorial was well done, built right into the story-heavy intro without too much fuss. But it was during the tutorial where things also started to go wrong.

    During one of the flashback scenes in the tutorial, I found my gruff and grizzled protagonist standing outside a peaceful feast hall of some kind, with a flower in his hand to give to his wife. The problem was, he kept the gruff and grizzled stance you might expect from a drawn-sword idle animation, so it looked more like he was ready to smack someone with a pollen allergy than give a gift to his significant other. This amused me a lot during what should have been a serious moment, but for the sake of getting past the tutorial, I pressed on.

    There were a few more cutscene bits after this, showing the inciting tragedy with the protagonistís family and the wraith that ended up attached to him, and then I finally got to the gameplay proper. Here, the game had some issues with randomly minimizing. When I finally got it to come back up, the sound of my sword was gone, and I ended up fighting orcs with just the sound of angry grunting at each hit. It eventually fixed itself.

    Following that encounter, I spent a while figuring out how to play the game and getting used to the control scheme. After dodging a giant monster and accidentally tackling a prisoner, I made my way back onto the main quest. Unfortunately for me, I ended up dying during one of the quests early on, and had to spend a while leveling up instead of progressing with the story. I spent the rest of the session running around to find artifacts and upgrade my skills, and Iíll hopefully be able to get to the meat of the story in the next play session.

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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 09:35:30     -    This is the Police (PC)

    Game Log 2 Part 3 Ė This Is the Police

    More happened during this session than the last. After repeatedly refusing to help the mafia, I got murdered in my kitchen one day. This led to a game over, and I had to lose several days of progress in order to keep playing. On the bright side, this meant I could save a few officers that ended up killed by the mafia, at least for a couple more days until they were all killed on another job.

    At this point, the main character has gotten pulled into a war between two crime organizations Ė the Sand family, and some guy named Vargas. I decided to help the Sands because I at least knew a bit about them, but Iím sure this is going to end up with me having huge problems with the law later in the game.

    I did figure out this time that I can send less effective officers along with more experienced officers, and everyone gets a boost to their skills when they succeed. This was helpful when I got two new hiring slots by letting some guy sponsor them on the condition that I hire and never fire his terrible nephew. The nephew is still useless on his own, but so long as he doesnít get murdered, heíll eventually get up to par with the rest this way.

    Having played for a while now, I can say this game is on point in terms of design. Everything is terrible, but itís supposed to be terrible, and each component of the game drives that point home, from the narrative snippets, to the directives from the various factions, to the personality of the main character. Corruption is the only way to get by in these situations, and that in itself illuminates why people might become corrupt. Youíre casually asked to do terrible things, and people die when you donít.

    This wraps up my gamelog for this game, but I am going to keep playing. Even if there isnít a light at the end of the tunnel for this story, I want to see how the choices Iíve made affect the ending. If nothing else, I want to see if I can keep the main character alive long enough to even get there. Given how things have gone with him, itís going to be quite the challenge.

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