July & August Report
Another slow month for me, Shadow of Mordor consumed a lot of my time and I still have one DLC to beat and some achievements to do. I also had 2 week vacation in August without my PC so that obviously didn’t help with the backlog 😅
In next month I’m gonna tackle another big game - Dishonored 2 and maybe Death of the Outsider, too. After that, who knows.
Question to those that read my reviews - should I include my favorite tracks from game OST at the beginning, so you can listen to them while reading, or not? Or it doesn’t matter, it’s not like I’m writing 30 minute reviews. :p
And something else - what games are you most hyped right now? For me it would be a new game from Edmund McMillen, The Legend of Bum-bo and a game from studio that made The Swapper and Baba is You - Noita. A rogue-lite where every pixel is simulated and every world is procedurally generated. It looks and sounds fucking amazing and will be in EA soon, I might buy it just to support it and wait for it to leave EA.
One of the old, big indie hits back in 2009, this is a platformer developed mostly by Jonathan Blow, now I guess one of the indie scene legends along with Edmund McMillen, Phil Fish and Tommy Refenes.
A platformer with focus on time manipulation that does it in a pretty unique way (for a game, at least). You can pause, rewind and fast forward at any time and as much as you like. Though the FF can be only done to the furthest point in time you moved to.
Each world has some kind of twist, starting with second world where time immune elements are introduced that aren’t affected by your manipulation, so for example once you open time immune door it will stay open forever, until you start the level again. It’s also the only element that shows up in other worlds, other “twists” don’t show up in worlds where they’re not introduced.
In next world time moves only when you move and maybe I’m just easily impressed, but this is where level design really surprised me, how excellently everything is lined up and thought out. I won’t spoil next worlds.
You could finish this game in ~30 minutes or so, just by moving to the right and finish all 5 worlds as the path is mostly straight forward and easy, except two bosses on the way, however to reach the ending you need to pick up puzzle pieces scattered through levels and this is the real goal of the game, as well where the challenge lies. The puzzles get more challenging as you go and require you to utilize time manipulation and tools you get to pick the pieces.
The story is surprisingly good and ends with a twist. It’s about finding love, self-improvement and personal, honest reflection on yourself. It’s told mostly via little books you can read at the entrance to the world and its levels, but there’s more if you pay attention. I’m guessing it’s personal to Mr Blow, but I haven’t read on it yet to know.
I could give it a higher rating, but in the end it’s mostly based on my personal enjoyment and there were times when I got stuck and had to use a guide to get the last puzzle pieces. And sometimes I just felt bored with the game. Maybe just a bad day…
I was excited starting this one as I heard a lot of good things about it and it’s nemesis system, it’s also from Monolith Productions which did one of my favorite FPS-es of all time – F.E.A.R.
Set in Middle-earth and before LoTR, this game has a very different feeling and atmosphere than the movies. It’s dark and grim for 90% of the game with some humor in some cutscenes from the uruk traitor that helps you in the game and a dwarf you meet later on, and the whole story is pretty much a revenge story on the lieutenants of Sauron and their warchiefs. There’s no Shire or innocent characters like Hobbits to contrast with the world, just your grimy ass and elfish wraith that inhabited your body.
Not a huge spoiler since it’s at the very beginning, but you are Talion captain of Gondor defending The Black Gate where for some reason your family is also, the Gondor pretty much loses and your family, including you is murdered in some kind of ritual, performed by Black Hand who responds only to Sauron. After somehow not dying, you wake up to find you have been bound to wraith of an elf, who doesn’t remember who he is, but will help you in your mission.
Talion is a really good fighter on his own and with wraith you can use bow like Legolas himself, interrogate people by literally reading their mind and other cool abilities you unlock later on. Melee fights are Arkham style, meaning you mostly press left button and counter the attacks with right button. The fights don’t require skill for most part, it’s very difficult to die in this game, it’s all about spectacle and making you feel like a badass, occasionally you’ll run into a warchief or even a captain who has a ridiculous set of buffs that make him hard to kill. Later in game you often will meet shield-bearers that you need to attack from behind or berserkers that can counter your front attacks. As you build your combo streak by left-clicking you can instantly execute normal uruks or deal a lot of damage to a captain, as long as they’re not immune to combat finishers. Skill trees are also present and broken into tiers, you unlock tier by gaining more “Power” and you gain that by killing captains/warchiefs and finishing side quests related to them. Skill points you get by leveling up and to do that just kill stuff and complete missions. If you want to see combat in action and how easy it is, I recommend this video by my favorite streamer, though he shits on it pretty hard, but it does look cool :p Key ability you get later on is to brand uruks and thus swaying them to your side. With branded captains and warchiefs you can command them to attack a different captain or warchief and build your own army over time.
Game world is broken into two huge areas and boy is there stuff to do in each. Side missions that never end, lore pickups, legends to unlock ultimate’s for your weapons and challenges related to hunting and gathering herbs. Almost like a Ubisoft game, but not as bad. The first area is similar to the one in the movies, the second is a very lush and green (for a Mordor), its before Sauron is as powerful as in movies I guess and the shadow hasn’t completely killed the life around the mountain.
Uh and about that nemesis system? I feel like once I transfer my saves to Shadow of War, I’m not going to recognize my closest ally and biggest nemesis lol. Honestly if it wasn’t for an achievement to make one normal uruk into a warchief, I wouldn’t have a strong feeling or memories of any uruks you meet. Any “normal” uruk that kills you gets automatically promoted to a captain, the achievement was to help that captain become warchief and then kill him, so I died to him a few times but he got so lucky with certain buffs as he leveled up that he actually become really powerful and difficult. None of that would have happened if I didn’t set that up. Like I mentioned, it’s pretty difficult to die in this game and thus create any kind of “relationship” with a captain or warchief. Sure, I died a few times and the captains mocked me for that which is cool, if they manage to run or somehow survive your attack they call you out on that. I guess when it came out it made a really good impression on people, but to me after seeing it on YT before and playing so late maybe I expected it to be little more than that?
The biggest fuck up of this game is the final boss. It’s just a quick time event. Yep. That’s all you get after +30 hours of gameplay.
To summarize, don’t expect a difficult game and I think you’ll enjoy the game. Executions are always fun to watch and combat is easy to learn and it’s easy to turn yourself into a killing machine. Mordor is pretty well recreated, soundtrack is ok but nowhere near good as Howard Shore OST for LoTR.
01 – The Gravewalker
06 – Ioreth
09 - Family Killings / Banished From Deaths
44 – The Black Hand’s Gift
Remember the dwarf I mentioned in my review of the base game? Well his name is Torvin and you will help him stop a group of beastmaster warchiefs that are trying to tame some of the most dangerous beasts in Mordor for Sauron’s army and overall cause mayhem to the Mordor’s ecosystem by burning land and chasing beasts. It takes place only in the second, greenly area.
It’s pretty much more of the same, with some new beasts and skills for you to use. A new breed of Caragors for you to ride and a new Graug that can spit toxic poison. You also can finally brand Ghuls.
Warchiefs in this DLC are not randomized AFAIK, not sure about their bodyguards, so don’t expect some weird combinations. The last warchief is pretty hard and different from most you’ll see in this DLC or base game, so that’s nice.
This DLC also comes with superb skin that makes Talion look a little like Khal Drogo. I imagine most people who already own it or will buy it, have GOTY edition, but if you don’t, wait for a discount, it’s an ok DLC but not worth the 10€ they ask for.
Another short game, this one is a rather boring 2d bird adventure.
You’re dropped right into the world and after short tutorial where you learn how to move etc. and how to get the objects that unlock the ending, you’re free to move between the worlds and explore. The objective is to unlock 7 or so seals that unlock some kind of machinery in the middle of forest and do…something?
I have never played 2d game where you control a bird, so I have nothing to compare it to, but controls were ok, you can move in any direction, dive, flap your wings to speed up. I have never felt like I was held back in any way by the controls. The birdy you control has some strength as you can pick any object, including moving huge boulders if you flap your wings hard enough or root out small trees for health.
Besides you the forest is a pretty lively place, other birds and mammals are around like squirrels, magpies, lynxes, jackdaws, buzzards etc. Magpies and squirrels are not gonna bother you unless you carry one of the seal breakers which are black-gold, they’ll try to steal it from you. Buzzards and lynxes are aggressive and will try to hunt you, you can kill them by using the environment to make them jump/fly into spiky bushes or use a spiky branch to hit them. But you can also finish the whole game without killing any animal.
So that’s the game pretty much, get all the pieces and you win. It gets boring pretty quickly and at time very annoying when you have to fight with magpies for the items. The story is very barebones, there’s more hidden in tablets scattered in the world, but all of them are in foreign alphabet. You can find individual letters to decode the messages. However, finding individual pieces or even whole alphabet is not going to automatically translate the texts. You’re only given letters side by side and have to translate them on your own, have fun with that… Maybe if the game was more fun and got me interested in the world, I would have do that…
It’s pretty difficult to die, unless you try to do dumb achievements like me. And it’s short, so if you don’t care about 100% it’s an easy -1 to the backlog.