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Oh Genchu, you’r e such a broken record! We’re all very scared of your murder face, we get it.

I’ve had Shadows of Mordor sitting in its plastic wrap since my birthday, but I finally unwrapped it and started it up! UGH IT’S SO BLEAK. I mean the LOTR movies get pretty dark at times, but they’re still jaunty high adventure films! Shadows of Mordor is like LOTR meets THE PUNISHER. You play as a ranger living on the borders of Mordor (probably not the best place to set up camp) when some orcs and an evil dude in black armor show up to capture your wife and son and murder them in front of you! Through some accidental summoning shenanigans, Talion, our ranger hero, gets an elf lord tied to his spirit, giving him a companion character, split personality, and magic elf powers all in one! He then sets out to murder every orc in Mordor because screw those guys.

Needless to say, the uplifting LOTR marching theme does not make an appearance in this game, as far as I can tell. That’s too bad, because the music of the LOTR films is a large part of its identity. I guess I’m just frustrated because I’m totally enjoying playing the game! It’s just hard to like the main characters, since they’re so dour and angry. I think if the game had more of a heroic vibe it’d be a much better game all around. I wish the plot went something like… a group of  (important?) people are kidnapped by orcs, and Talion and a female ranger companion make an uneasy alliance as they infiltrate Mordor to save the hostages. It’d be fun, the two could meet up to advance the main plot, argue with each other, flirt wih each other, fight orcs together, save some people, save each other, form a strong bond and come out on top. Maybe you could even switch between the two characters! Yeah, I wanna play THAT game.

I do still think Shadows of Mordor is fun. I can see why it won a lot of 2014  Game of the Year awards (a lack of many stand out titles that year didn’t hurt either), and I love how accurately it’s recreated the visual look of the films, especially Mordor itself! Everything feels very authentic to the LOTR film universe, except the tone. In some ways I wonder if I should be impressed that the game tells a side story that’s not just a repeat of the plot of any of the films, but the grim tone feels like the antithesis of what people actually love about Lord of the Rings. It’s morbid and gloomy and I’m not seeing any light in the darkness, despite what Talion’s elf ghost proclaims after each time a respawn from death.

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  • http://www.zapcomic.com/ Pascalle Lepas

    Really pretty lighting on this page!

    • Kid Chaos

      “Wilde Life” has great lighting as well…especially when you’re destroying the scenery with a poltergeist.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I’ll take it!

  • Flaming Squirrel

    STOP DRILLIN’ HOLES IN MA SHIP!!!

    Shadow of Mordor is really high on my list of games to play. I’m in the same predicament as you with Tales of Xillia 2. I bought it my last day working at Walmart just so I could use my discount card (which was way back in February), and I still haven’t even opened it yet. I don’t know if you’ve talked about it already, but have you played Dragon Age: Inquisition? That sounds like a game that’s more up your alley. I want to play it, but I haven’t been able to get through Dragon Age: Origins yet. Or heck, Dragon’s Dogma has THE BEST combat I’ve ever seen in an open world RPG. The soundtrack is awesome too- just look up “Imminent Victory” on YouTube. It’s not the best game overall, but if you’re looking for a more upbeat LOTR-ish experience you should definitely check it ouy.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Squirrel I would LOVE to play DA:I and even more so Dragons Dogma. Dogma looks like an absolute blast, but that’s a long game, isn’t it?? The Witcher 3 looks amazing, too, but I have a tendency to marathon games when I’m into them, and it sometimes murders my productivity, which is why I try to stick to 30 hour or less games. If you took DA:I and Dogma, stripped out the grinding and had me level up my character through story context, such as beating a boss or reaching a new area, I’d tackle those games in a second. I don’t wanna GRIND!

      ALTHOUGH this music is super rockin’, I’ve gotta admit.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtilBmwDUNQ

      • Flaming Squirrel

        I haven’t beaten Drogma yet, so I don’t know how long it takes to do so. I do know that where I am in the game, I’ve managed to get there just by the main quests and the encounters along the way. Just don’t try to tackle anything out of your league, because you’ll still find some very powerful minibosses wandering the countryside. The cyclops are easy enough once you learn how to beat them, but don’t get overconfident and try to take on that dragon you just saw fly into the woods over there (speaking from experience there). Plus, save your game as often as possible, because if you do happen to die, chances are you’ll be spawned miles away from where it happened and you’ll have to do the trek all over again. That’s what usually gets me to put it down, because I don’t want to hike over that huge mountain again, with my pawns trying to run to their deaths every time they spot a monster.

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          I very much want to jump on the backs of griffins.

          • Sam Zalereth

            Nothing beats tackling a griffin, gripping its back as it soars into the air, then pulverizing its vitals until it plummets into the ground in a cloud of dust, dirt, and blood. Then having your mage pawns nuke it for good measure. But yea I adore the combat in that game, story’s a bit eh, but the different strategies you need to learn to take down different monsters is a blast to learn. Like when fighting a hydra, tossing an explosive barrel into its gaping mouth, then having an archer blow hits head off with a well placed arrow to the throat.

  • Sam DunKley

    “Tsk, tsk. How unfaithful. Now, let’s go about justifying his paranoia, and, yes, I get the irony.”

    • Ratatosk

      But look how uplifting it is that they have found eachother over the cultural borders.

      This really shows how mankind can lift itself above the conflicting issues and cooperate in good friendship.

      • Sam DunKley

        Good men of all nations, unite in sabotage!

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          Sabotage for a good cause makes it okay! …Right?

          • Xinef

            Some say, it’s only sabotage, if it’s your ship.

            I say – if the ship goes down with the “Sabotage’d!” sound effect, I won’t complain.

          • Neska

            As long as you succeed!
            If you fail, then you’re just a criminal . . .

    • Leo

      No, that’s not the point. Ricardo doesn’t have enough faith in his crew’s ability to wreck his stuff. All of that paranoia gone to waste!

  • charles81

    HOLY SHIP!

    • Flaming Squirrel

      Does this mean they’re SHIPPING Genchu and Bartello?

      • Kid Chaos

        I will sink that ship, even if I have to drill holes in the hull myself! :)

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          You can’t sink that ship now, not in this country, sir!

          • Jake

            besides he can’t sink it without calling out the grid numbers… B-5 (checks board) wadya mean miss?!?

  • Da’Zlein

    Sometimes making sure a place never gains gun technology takes a lot of work…

    I wonder if that means that some other region has laser guns and monorails while this one is kept in feudal tech levels…

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Is this a new Matrix and Lex theory?

    • Speedy Marsh

      Well, it’s like that in the real world, right now.

  • That guy with the face

    It is fair to note that Shadow of Mordor is so dark for a very simple reason. It is set in the time Gondor found itself losing ground to Mordor as Sauron regained strength (although Gollum’s inclusion in the game kind of throws things for a loop). It is so dark, because there isn’t an ending here that can result in the ‘Good triumphs’ sort of thing. Only the ‘Good has dealt a heady blow to delay Evil’. Recall that the fall of Minas Ithil was deep into the third age, and actually around the time of the events of Shadow of Mordor; indeed, the fall of the Black Gate had a direct effect on the fall of Minas Ithil and the rise of Minas Morgul.

    Perhaps I’m the odd one out, but I loved Lord of the Rings because of the depth of the world, rather than the climbing out of the ashes kind of rebirth thing going on. And if there is one thing that helps that depth, it’s fleshing out notable occurrences in the Silmarillion (a book which resembles little more than a orderly chronicle of events that an accountant might write, as opposed to a novel).

    • Flaming Squirrel

      Was SoM in The Silmarillion?

      • That guy with the face

        SoM is technically an extension of the Silmarillion where it references the retaking of the Black Gate by Mordor.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Your points are all valid, and I do think SoM is a good game, certainly! I’m not a Tolkein buff, though (although it’s Joe’s bread and butter), Even though I had no idea SoM tied into the Silmarillion, which is hyper rad, I’m sure the character of Talion is made up for the purposes of the game. My own personal preference would be to not have the game driven by such a dour character who had to watch his family murdered in front of him during the opening credits. The game can still be dark, I’d have just liked some characters without quite as much doom and gloom hanging over them. If the story leads to a bittersweet end, I’d rather feel like I was watching Sam and Frodo sitting on a rock surrounded by lava, feeling like they did what was right, than having some upset guy and his upset elf ghost feeling like they got their empty revenge. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten to the end of the game! So I have no idea how the story will play out. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised!

      • Flaming Squirrel

        He kills Sauron, and the dark lord explodes into A STORM OF FLOWERS AND KITTENS!!! 😀

  • Sunwu

    A Portuguese captain with a harry chest!
    Yo’ ho’ ho’ and a ship full of guns!!!
    Made a deal with Wataro so he a had a nice rest
    Yo’ ho’ ho’ and a ship full of guns!!!
    As the Captain lay and he talked as he snored Three good men did climb aboard!
    To make some mischief that’s for sure!
    Yo’ ho’ ho’ and a ship full of guns!!!
    by the lantern light and a soft foot tread they moved about the crates of lead!
    And there near the captain there was a good spot, to drill their holes and not get caught.
    While the noble Genchu stood and watched
    Yo’ ho’ ho’ and a ship full of guns!!!

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I suddenly want to play Black Flag again. SEA SHANTIES!!

      • Kid Chaos

        Just break out your dog-eared copy of “Treasure Island” (or in my case, fire up the audiobook narrated by Neil Hunt). Good times… 😀

        • IDPounder

          Treasure Island is still one of the best stories of all time, in the opinion of my hugely inflated ego.

          • Sunwu

            Yo’ IDpounder I’m happy for you and imma let you finish but Pirates of the Caribbean is the best Pirate Story of all time! OF ALL TIME!!!!

          • IDPounder

            Settle down, Sunny. Have a nip o’ grog.

          • Sunwu

            Arrrgh! the Grog be good

        • Percabeth_trash

          Nah, it’s all about Muppet Treasure Island, mate. Takes me right back to being 8 (When I saw it first that is, I was like 1 when it came out 😬) 🌴🎧🚣🏻 Sailing for adventure on the big, blue, wet thing!

      • Jake

        Rogues Gallery. Good source of sea shanties. and for the modern age- Pirates r us -KYAR Pirate radio.

    • Xinef

      Yo’ ho’ ho’ and a ship full of holes!!!

  • Brandenfascher

    “I guess I’m just frustrated because I’m totally enjoying playing the game!”

    Out of context, that line makes it seem like you lead a very miserable existence.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      My life is so hard, guys! YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH FUN I’M HAVING!!

  • Hfar

    Man, these are some truly hole-y men.

    • Kid Chaos

      “A Christian priest, a Hindu guru and a blind Taoist monk walk into a bar…”

      • reynard61

        “…but only the monk knew to duck to avoid it. The other two were knocked senseless.”

  • Speedy Marsh

    For holy men, some tasks are exciting, some are boring. This task is both.

  • psYcHOticHiCKeN

    Edit police:
    Panel five needs a “” at the end if he is talking to himself.

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