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-   -   Shadow of Mordor (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=18838)

Tar-Jx 09-30-2014 05:15 AM

Shadow of Mordor
 
Now that Shadow of Mordor is out, I'm seriously considering buying it.
It's basically the Batman Arkham games, with a lot of orc killing, a severely lore broken story which makes no sense, some more orc killing, a political system, and a nice open world.

Because of the awful artistic license taken on the story, I'm going to go out of my way to avoid all of these wraith abilities and things. I've heard from a multitude of people that some things you can't avoid, which is unfortunate, but it's probably still worth playing the game just for a nice deal of fun.

Thoughts?

Zigr 09-30-2014 06:06 AM

Back in January I had a short-lived discussion about it here:

http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=18621

Having played Assassin's Creed 1, 2, Brotherhood, Revelations and some of 3 and 4 in the last few years (goodness knows why, I think the historical gimmick and the climbing buildings gimmick suckered me in) I think I'm a bit burned out on this kind of action game.

I played the Battle for Middle-earth strategy games but they were basically just interpretations of events from the books (and films of course). I'm not so interested in some fan-fic a bunch of game developers (who let's face it, are not in a profession generally renowned for great writing in the mainstream Triple-A industry at least) have cooked up.

This is why I said in the other thread that the Kin-strife might be good fodder for a game: lots of juicy racism, extremely violent, obvious villain (Castamir), also doesn't have to wildly contradict original narrative material.

Tar-Jx 09-30-2014 06:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 694642)
Back in January I had a short-lived discussion about it here:

http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=18621

Having played Assassin's Creed 1, 2, Brotherhood, Revelations and some of 3 and 4 in the last few years (goodness knows why, I think the historical gimmick and the climbing buildings gimmick suckered me in) I think I'm a bit burned out on this kind of action game.

I played the Battle for Middle-earth strategy games but they were basically just interpretations of events from the books (and films of course). I'm not so interested in some fan-fic a bunch of game developers (who let's face it, are not in a profession generally renowned for great writing in the mainstream Triple-A industry at least) have cooked up.

This is why I said in the other thread that the Kin-strife might be good fodder for a game: lots of juicy racism, extremely violent, obvious villain (Castamir), also doesn't have to wildly contradict original narrative material.

I played Assassin's Creed 2 and Brotherhood, along with Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. This was quite a while ago, though, when they were released. I don't think I'm burned out quite completely.

The nemesis system looks very interesting and worth playing around with. I've never really experienced good orc killing before, because War in the North just fell so very flat for me, so I think I would enjoy that aspect of it.

It seems like that after a few driver updates, it will be running reasonably well. After watching TotalBiscuit's *** is... video on it, I'm pretty sure I can try and snag it at the end of the year.

Kuruharan 09-30-2014 09:10 AM

It is things like this game that make me wish pop culture would leave Tolkien alone.

Tar-Jx 09-30-2014 08:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694645)
It is things like this game that make me wish pop culture would leave Tolkien alone.

I'm sort of on the fence about this. I do love a good deal of orc killing, and walking through Middle Earth, but when someone tries to tamper with the lore, I just can't stand it, especially when it doesn't even make any sense. If they wanted to do their own lore, they should at least not make it clash with anything, and work hard for it to be realistic in setting and make sense.

Eruhen 09-30-2014 09:34 PM

Whazzat? Walking through Middle-earth? Orc killing? Anger at lore-tampering?

Have you checked this out?

Kuruharan 10-01-2014 08:05 PM

I couldn't help myself any longer...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eruhen (Post 694649)
Have you checked this out?

Yes, and from a lore perspective it is pretty awful.

So, being a masochist, and in some small way wanting to try to give it a fair shake, but mostly thinking "surely this will be just as bad as I expect", I started watching a Let's Play of Shadow of Mordor.

It did not disappoint. I immediately noted that the orcs looked like something straight out of Warhammer or World of Warcraft. However, I did not intend to come here and comment on that.

Then the LPer even commented that the orcs looked like something out of Warhammer or World of Warcraft. I still did not intend to come here and comment on that.

However, when I saw Thrall from his young gangsta days I could no longer resist.

As a minor aside, I just discovered that WB made every LPer they could get their hands on take down their videos of the game. The cynical mind wonders if they have something to hide. ;)

Zigr 10-01-2014 09:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694654)
As a minor aside, I just discovered that WB made every LPer they could get their hands on take down their videos of the game. The cynical mind wonders if they have something to hide. ;)

I'm not one hundred per cent sure but I think it's something to do with:
a) who gets advertising money from the video, which is used as the excuse for:
b) big companies like WB are scared that Let's Play videos will put people off getting the game or they will watch the video instead of bothering to buy the game. It's especially problematic, I think, in this time when big-budget modern video games are so devoted to flashy graphics and spectacle. Often people care more about seeing what happens than playing it themselves, probably because these games are so repetitive.

This is just more dilution of Tolkien into 'franchise' and 'product,' a process which will continue to hold back the efforts to have these texts taken seriously as literature.

Kuruharan 10-01-2014 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 694658)
a) who gets advertising money from the video, which is used as the excuse for:
b) big companies like WB are scared that Let's Play videos will put people off getting the game or they will watch the video instead of bothering to buy the game. It's especially problematic, I think, in this time when big-budget modern video games are so devoted to flashy graphics and spectacle. Often people care more about seeing what happens than playing it themselves, probably because these games are so repetitive.

Yes, those are the real reasons why. I was being semi-sarcastic, although people watching the videos and not liking what they see would be a problem for the developer and publisher.

Tar-Jx 10-02-2014 03:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694659)
Yes, those are the real reasons why. I was being semi-sarcastic, although people watching the videos and not liking what they see would be a problem for the developer and publisher.

From what I've seen, all of the people who got a review copy had seen the movies (obviously), a few had read the books, the vast minority had read extended universe lore like the Silmarillion, but none had a historian's knowledge of it. Nobody was incredibly well versed in the lore, so it didn't really bother them.

Morthoron 10-02-2014 11:23 AM

There will never be a concerted effort to devise a canonistic version of a Middle-earth video game. That went out the door when Middle-earth Online (MEO) was abandoned for the farcical Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO). I was among several well-versed gamers who spent a few years offering input into the original MEO, but the developer (Turbine, may their name be forever cursed) abandoned the original concept for a World of Warcraft knock-off renamed LOTRO that Turbine wanted to market as direct competition for said WoW.

I alpha and beta tested LOTRO, levelled out several times with several characters, and became violently ill at the inane end result. I never played a Middle-earth based game again. As a farewell present, I offered a blistering review of the aborted offspring of Turbine, and I am sure the name Morthoron the Dark Elf is still whispered fearfully in dark corners of their misbegotten forums. :D

Kuruharan 10-02-2014 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tar-Jx (Post 694662)
From what I've seen, all of the people who got a review copy had seen the movies (obviously), a few had read the books, the vast minority had read extended universe lore like the Silmarillion, but none had a historian's knowledge of it. Nobody was incredibly well versed in the lore, so it didn't really bother them.

That's not surprising. You cannot expect somebody who doesn't care about something to care about it.

However, to provide further context for the quoted post I was meaning that people might see the gameplay itself and not like it, thus deterring them from buying the game.

Quote:

There will never be a concerted effort to devise a canonistic version of a Middle-earth video game.
Not by major developers, but there are some fan based projects underway that either have, or look likely to produce positive results.

Tar-Jx 10-02-2014 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694672)
.



Not by major developers, but there are some fan based projects underway that either have, or look likely to produce positive results.

Minecraft Middle Earth is a pretty good fan community project. The only problem is that there is a different community who sit on teamspeak and do nothing all day.

Kuruharan 10-07-2014 03:03 PM

I didn't think I would ever say something like this...
 
I came across a synopsis of the plot of this game. Let's just say it gave me a new appreciation for Peter Jackson's gifts as a storyteller and an appreciation for his faithful adherence to the letter and spirit of Tolkien's works.

You may mark this day on your calendar. ;)

Tar-Jx 10-07-2014 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694712)
I came across a synopsis of the plot of this game. Let's just say it gave me a new appreciation for Peter Jackson's gifts as a storyteller and an appreciation for his faithful adherence to the letter and spirit of Tolkien's works.

You may mark this day on your calendar. ;)

I haven't dared set foot near the story. If it's as hopeless as the War in the North story, then that's just shameful.

I really don't understand how hard it is to set something in the first age around an event with basically no details, then invent your own characters for it.
That way, nobody can complain are lore breaking, because you confined it to a certain event, you made your own characters that nobody can criticize for not being what the character was actually like, and the gameplay can still be amazing.

What idiots we have making our games.
Seriously, the title 'Middle Earth: Insert Name Here' will sell. Doesn't need to be recognizable by anyone, because they will buy it.

Nerwen 10-07-2014 11:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694712)
I came across a synopsis of the plot of this game. Let's just say it gave me a new appreciation for Peter Jackson's gifts as a storyteller and an appreciation for his faithful adherence to the letter and spirit of Tolkien's works.

You may mark this day on your calendar. ;)

Nonsense, Kuru! Ive already read two articles explaining how Shadow of Mordor is totally canonical because spiritoftolkienappendicessilmarillion!:smokin:

Kuruharan 10-08-2014 09:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tar-Jx (Post 694716)
I haven't dared set foot near the story. If it's as hopeless as the War in the North story, then that's just shameful.

It is far worse, in fact. War in the North at least didn't directly contradict or interfere much with the plot of LotR. Shadow of Mordor directly contradicts things that Tolkien wrote.

Quote:

What idiots we have making our games.
Seriously, the title 'Middle Earth: Insert Name Here' will sell. Doesn't need to be recognizable by anyone, because they will buy it.
Sadly, it doesn't make them idiots, it makes them smart. Cynical exploitation has worked wonders.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 694717)
Nonsense, Kuru! Ive already read two articles explaining how Shadow of Mordor is totally canonical because spiritoftolkienappendicessilmarillion!:smokin:

One wonders how one is supposed to deal with people like those who wrote those articles who seemingly believe, "If I say it then it must be true because I'm awesome."

The plot of the game is contrary to the letter and spirit of Tolkien falling literally under the label of something Tolkien repeatedly criticized in "trying to use the weapons and means of the Enemy against him" with first Celebrimbor and then the Celebrimbor/Talion wraith-hybrid dominating and using orc armies to fight Sauron and trying to set themselves up as the "Bright Lords of Mordor."

Vomitus stuff, really.

Andsigil 10-08-2014 03:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tar-Jx (Post 694716)
I haven't dared set foot near the story. If it's as hopeless as the War in the North story, then that's just shameful.

I played the War in the North game and found that the plot wasn't bad. The writers took a whole swath of ME, otherwise largely unaddressed in the trilogy, and made something that (for the most part) fit the trilogy.

It could easily have been an appendix in the RotK, or had some mention in the main story, as a background/aside.

Zigr 10-08-2014 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuruharan (Post 694718)
The plot of the game is contrary to the letter and spirit of Tolkien falling literally under the label of something Tolkien repeatedly criticized in "trying to use the weapons and means of the Enemy against him" with first Celebrimbor and then the Celebrimbor/Talion wraith-hybrid dominating and using orc armies to fight Sauron and trying to set themselves up as the "Bright Lords of Mordor."

Vomitus stuff, really.

I didn't realise how bizarre the plot for this game was until your post inspired me to go look it up, Kuru. Just going by what's stated on Wikipedia, according to 'Shadow of Mordor':
-at one point Celebrimbor stole the One Ring and tried to take over Mordor himself, Orcs and all (what happened to the War of the Elves and Sauron?)
-Nrn was a kingdom of seafarers taken over by Sauron and their true queen was possessed by Saruman (did they think their Lake was so big it was actually the ocean?)
-outcasts from Gondor live inside Mordor (presumably the Lord of the Nazgl was confounded by some loophole when it came to evicting squatters)
-human sacrifice, instead of being the intentionally wasteful practice of a mendacious religion, actually has magical powers
-Sauron can possess people?
-Men think they can make Rings of Power
-Celebrimbor's spirit hung around for four thousand years or so instead of heading straight for Mandos after he was slain

The only idea that comes across as remotely plausible to me is the notion of Black Nmenrean lieutenants with titles rather than names.

As I speculated in that other thread, of course, it'd probably be a violence-for-violence's-sake generic revenge story that completely contradicts the arguments of Tolkien's work, and clearly it is.

I predict that someone on the internet at some point will inexplicably use Trin as an example to justify this.

Zigr 10-22-2014 10:01 AM

Interesting article here about how the game contradicts Professor Tolkien's themes by presenting violence and revenge as entertainment:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/arti...ien-Fanfiction
A highlight is this remark which I think could also apply to a lot of commentary on both the books and adaptations:
Quote:

It thinks the defining characteristics of Tolkien are fussy world building and lack of brevity.
It's bizarre to see people saying "Just because it's set in Middle-earth doesn't mean it has to follow Tolkien's themes!" As if Middle-earth is the 'Marvel universe' or something, as if it's a fictional setting that was built specifically to service a franchise and not the other way around.

Inziladun 10-22-2014 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 695122)
It's bizarre to see people saying "Just because it's set in Middle-earth doesn't mean it has to follow Tolkien's themes!" As if Middle-earth is the 'Marvel universe' or something, as if it's a fictional setting that was built specifically to service a franchise and not the other way around.

That's not surprising, unfortunately. I seriously doubt the majority of those who would buy the game have ever read the books, and many probably haven't bothered with the movies. Thus, they would have only vague notions of what Tolkien was about. If one is unfamiliar with the source material, what is Shadow of Mordor but another hack-and-slash exercise in gore? It would seem the only reason it even had to have anything to do with Tolkien at all was to attract those who did see the PJ films.

Zigr 10-22-2014 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 695123)
That's not surprising, unfortunately. I seriously doubt the majority of those who would buy the game have ever read the books, and many probably haven't bothered with the movies. Thus, they would have only vague notions of what Tolkien was about.

The odd thing is a lot of people were actually saying they were 'fans' of the books but didn't care how the games etc represented them, which leads me to think that they're probably more fans of the surface details ("Elves are cool") than they are of any of the thematic content.

That's the problem with a lot of Tolkien discourse, I think. It's so muddled between critical thinking and pop-culture-style consumption. I get the impression it's been this way since long before there was anything but the books, though.

Tar-Jx 10-23-2014 05:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 695127)
The odd thing is a lot of people were actually saying they were 'fans' of the books but didn't care how the games etc represented them, which leads me to think that they're probably more fans of the surface details ("Elves are cool") than they are of any of the thematic content.

That's the problem with a lot of Tolkien discourse, I think. It's so muddled between critical thinking and pop-culture-style consumption. I get the impression it's been this way since long before there was anything but the books, though.

I think that this whole 'fan' business has mainly been going on since the movies started coming out early 2000s. It's a bit silly when someone says they are a fan of the books, but don't care that the game basically just ignores everything they have read for the sake of a fun, but lorebroken, game.

Being a fan of the books means that you care about what happens, and while you can be a fan of both, I find the story of Shadow of Mordor to just be insulting and ungood.

Zigr 02-27-2017 09:39 AM

Unfortunately I have just learned that a sequel to this game is coming out, which apparently (absurdly) involves the main character making his own Ring (something even Saruman seems to have failed to properly do) and challenging Sauron for supremacy.:rolleyes:

Just another piece of consumerist sputum vomited out of the adaptation meat-grinder I suppose.

Inziladun 02-27-2017 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 706286)
Unfortunately I have just learned that a sequel to this game is coming out, which apparently (absurdly) involves the main character making his own Ring (something even Saruman seems to have failed to properly do) and challenging Sauron for supremacy.:rolleyes:

Just another piece of consumerist sputum vomited out of the adaptation meat-grinder I suppose.

I'm by no means a gamer, but it seems to me that there would be little, if anything, to set the Middle-earth themed games apart from their competitors. Is there an increased fun-factor for Tolkien fans? Or are those titles purely aimed at drawing sales through the LOTR association?

Nerwen 02-27-2017 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 706286)
Unfortunately I have just learned that a sequel to this game is coming out, which apparently (absurdly) involves the main character making his own Ring (something even Saruman seems to have failed to properly do) and challenging Sauron for supremacy.:rolleyes:

Just another piece of consumerist sputum vomited out of the adaptation meat-grinder I suppose.

Here we go again. Cue a bunch of articles explaining how very, very canonical this actually is.

Zigr 02-28-2017 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 706288)
Here we go again. Cue a bunch of articles explaining how very, very canonical this actually is.

I've already seen someone say it's "true to the spirit of Tolkien". It's almost like there's a standard-issue crib sheet or something for these people's opinions.

Inziladun 02-28-2017 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zigr (Post 706289)
I've already seen someone say it's "true to the spirit of Tolkien". It's almost like there's a standard-issue crib sheet or something for these people's opinions.

I'm surprised they even feel inclined to try and justify it. Someone like me, who wears the 'Canon' mantle overtly, wouldn't seem to be in their target market demographic. I would think the games would aimed at the next-gen movie fans. With PJ's films as the sole benchmark of canon, I wouldn't think an effort to harmonize the games with the original works would be a priority.

Zigr 02-28-2017 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 706290)
I'm surprised they even feel inclined to try and justify it. Someone like me, who wears the 'Canon' mantle overtly, wouldn't seem to be in their target market demographic. I would think the games would aimed at the next-gen movie fans. With PJ's films as the sole benchmark of canon, I wouldn't think an effort to harmonize the games with the original works would be a priority.

Yes, it's certainly odd but it still happens.

I think my biggest problem with this is it just contributes all the more to the miasma of misinformation which surrounds the books, the culture in which the books are treated as completely interchangeable with the adaptations.

Kuruharan 03-02-2017 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 706287)
Or are those titles purely aimed at drawing sales through the LOTR association?

I think that is it.

Nerwen 03-04-2017 04:08 AM

Quote:

=Inziladun;706290]I'm surprised they even feel inclined to try and justify it. Someone like me, who wears the 'Canon' mantle overtly, wouldn't seem to be in their target market demographic. I would think the games would aimed at the next-gen movie fans. With PJ's films as the sole benchmark of canon, I wouldn't think an effort to harmonize the games with the original works would be a priority.
Well, we saw the same thing with "The Hobbit"- hordes of fans repeating the now-infamous mantra that everything was "in the Appendices". Clearly they hadn't read them, so why did they care? :confused: It's as though the idea of canonicity is the important thing for some fans.

Inziladun 03-04-2017 07:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nerwen (Post 706296)
Well, we saw the same thing with "The Hobbit"- hordes of fans repeating the now-infamous mantra that everything was "in the Appendices". Clearly they hadn't read them, so why did they care? :confused: It's as though the idea of canonicity is the important thing for some fans.

That's what I don't get. For people who have either only made a cursory read through of the books, or not read them at all, why is canonicity important?

On this forum the Canon is used to support or deconstruct various discussions, and obviously the vast majority here are ardent fans of the books.
But I have difficulty seeing why the general public, especially the 'gamer' clique, would be so concerned about the 'legitimacy' of the games. Are they that sensitive to criticisms of the games they perceive might come from people, say, like us?

Admittedly, I may have a colored view of those who would buy games like SoM, and devoted readers of the books might well be also avid gamers who could overlook the extreme liberties taken with the source material. I'm just not one of those people.

Galadriel55 03-04-2017 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 706297)
That's what I don't get. For people who have either only made a cursory read through of the books, or not read them at all, why is canonicity important?

Even people who aren't into art would prefer a genuine Mona Lisa to a poster. Authenticity makes things cooler. Saying that it's an exact replica makes it better than admitting it's a scribbled colouring book.

Morthoron 03-05-2017 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Galadriel55 (Post 706298)
Even people who aren't into art would prefer a genuine Mona Lisa to a poster. Authenticity makes things cooler. Saying that it's an exact replica makes it better than admitting it's a scribbled colouring book.

You mean like a later artist haphazardly adding a second female character into the background of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece and renaming the painting "Mona Lisa and Tauriel"?

Galadriel55 03-05-2017 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morthoron (Post 706307)
You mean like a later artist haphazardly adding a second female character into the background of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece and renaming the painting "Mona Lisa and Tauriel"?

No, I mean literally like a scribbled colouring book. But the outlines are all drawn based on Da Vinci's unpublished material, and the CGI application of colour is done in his style. It's a true replica of his work, I tell you!


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