I beat South Park: The Fractured But Whole and, golly. It went into some weird and dark places and I found myself wondering “how could this ever be made right?” and then, just when I thought that all was lost, the game threw a last curveball and, thanks to a handful of time travel paradoxes, the weird and dark turned into surprisingly satisfying. “Wow”, I thought. “I’m glad I beat that.”
Still offensive as all-get-out, of course. Seriously.
Having beaten that, I found myself thinking about that new Middle Earth: Shadow of War game and then saw that it was doing that frustrating “buy the base game for $60, buy the *FULL* game for only $99!” thing and I said “you know what? I’m going to beat the old original Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor game. It’s already in my library (and even if it wasn’t, it’s under $20) and if I beat it and say “you know what, that was *AWESOME*, I want to play more!”, I will then have reason to shell out a ton of cash for a game. (And, huh, check that out… the base game is down to $40 on Amazon. Full version still $100, though. Highway robbery.)
And, golly, the Shadow of Mordor remains a really good game.
It doesn’t understand anything that Tolkien was trying to say. Lord of the Rings discussed evil seriously while the game glorifies violence and consistently rewards the player for brutality with awesome finishers. That said, holy cow. The game has really awesome and fluid combat. The characters are strong (with a fascinating cameo from Gollum that does a great job of explaining some of what happened between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings), the story keeps you guessing, and the nemesis system that the game uses to make the orcs that make up the nameless horde into interesting and unique characters will have you alternating between laughing at how clever it is and snarling at how that one orc nemesis just keeps killing you and/or getting away.
It’s a game that holds up two years later and it’s seriously convincing me that, yeah, I should give the sequel a shot. Well, once it goes on sale some more. Because, seriously.
So… what are you playing?
(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))