Saturday Morning Gaming: Returning to Mordor
Back when Shadow of War came out, I called it “highway robbery” that they sold the game for $60 PLUS you got the DLC with all of the bells and whistles for an additional $40. $100! Highway robbery! Well, after a few weeks, the base game went down to $40 so I got it. (The DLC was still an additional $40 and I refused to pay that.)
It was worth the $40, though. I beat it, start to finish, and then I put it down and said “JEEZ! NOW I NEVER HAVE TO PLAY THAT GAME AGAIN!” and sold it to the local Entertainmart for 8 bucks worth of store credit.
Well, it’s two years later and I found myself beating the Batman games all over again and I beat Shadow of Mordor all over again…and then I said “Dang. I wish I still had Shadow of War.” So we looked online and saw that the “Definitive Edition” is being sold by Amazon for $12. Holy cow. That can’t be right. (That’s one of the things that Maribou said to me as we were looking it up on Amazon. “Is that right?” we checked and double-checked and, yep, it’s right.) So I got it. Seriously, it has dozens of hours of gameplay in there and if you’ve got muscle memory from playing the Batman games, you’ll be able to pick this thing up and start playing it without having to learn a thing.
(Well, you’ll initially be frustrated because all of the awesome stuff you mastered in the Batman games involved using skills that your character in Shadow of War just doesn’t have yet. So you’ll have to go up a couple of levels if you want to do an instant take-down in the middle of a fight, for example. But you’ll have parry and dodge and jump mastered.)
One of the things I had forgotten being very frustrated with was the online store. Now, lemme just say that this is one of the few games that did the online store thing as close to ethically as could be done. You never NEEDED to spend money in the store to beat the game. It just made it a bit easier. It provided a shortcut. If you were inclined to pour hours into the game, you could accomplish the exact same thing as spending $5 here or there would do. You earned the currency, slowly, that you could then spend in the online store. It just took longer.
This had the side effect of making the game feel like it was weighted to make you want to take the shortcut.
Well, they fixed that. I booted up the game and the first thing the game told me was that the online store had closed and they spent all of my (EARNED!) pent-up currency on my behalf. The store is gone! Never to return! Hurray!
So if you looked at this game and turned away with disgust when you saw that it cost $100 for the full thing AND they had microtransactions? Well, now it’s $12 and they got rid of the microtransactions.
And playing the game now feels like a revelation. Holy cow! It’s fun! And they’re not trying to squeeze money out of me!
As for the review of the game, I really can’t add on to what I said here. It’s an amazingly awesome game that doesn’t really understand its source material. It gives you awesome powers, awesome violence, and gigantic battles where you pit Orcs against Orcs and slaughter them by the bushel. And then, at the end of the game, it tells you “You can’t use evil to defeat evil, you know.” Which, technically, is the right message to give at the end but “the medium is the message” and the medium was pretty much violence, war, and slow-motion danses macabres.
But if you can get past the thematic incoherence, MY GOSH THIS GAME IS AWESOME. And it’s only $12 now.
So… what are you playing?