“The 'Great Deceiver' has returned to Middle-earth...”
February 27, 2017 12:37 PM   Subscribe

Middle-earth: Shadow of War [Trailer] [YouTube] A new ring is forged in this sequel to Shadow of Mordor.

• Shadow of Mordor Sequel Shadow of War Leaked [PC Gamer]
“A sequel to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor has been leaked by US retail chain Target, via an online booboo that, at the time of writing, hasn't yet been fixed. Titled Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the sequel will see Talion and his ghost buddy Celebrimbor teaming up once again to have another crack at Mordor. According to the Target description, you'll "go behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer Fortresses and dominate Mordor from within". And in case there was any doubt, the Nemesis system will return, creating "unique personal stories with every enemy and follower".”
• Here's the First Middle Earth: Shadow of War Trailer and 5 Things You Should Know [Games Radar+]
1. Shadow of War is focused on a new Ring of Power forged by Talion/Celebrimbor, the ranger possessed by a wraith.
2. Sauron is in Shadow of War.
3. The Nemesis system is back but this time will encompass "the entire world," with mention of characters and now environments being affected in Shadow of War.
4. The new Nemesis system also adds Nemesis Fortresses. These will apparently allow players to "utilize different strategies to conquer dynamic strongholds."
5. Shadow Of War will visit more film locations.
posted by Fizz (62 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I never did really manage to handle branding right in the game. Guess I am just a downright hardcore ME murderhobo.
posted by Samizdata at 12:41 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's been a while since I last played the first game. I'm trying to recall if the first game had a prominent character/ranger who is black. I am all for more representation in video games. These things matter. Here's hoping its not handled in a poor [racist/token] way. And that its just accepted as a part of that in-game reality.
posted by Fizz at 12:43 PM on February 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


Is this based on fan-fiction, or one of the novels JRR Tolkien's son wrote?
posted by My Dad at 12:45 PM on February 27, 2017


The first game pushed the Middle-Earth lore right up to its breaking point, so I guess it was inevitable that the sequel would sail right on through like Grond breaking the gates of Minas Tirith. I'm 1000% there for this game, though. The first one was just piles of murdery fun. I'm stoked to see how the extend the Nemesis system with this one.

The black dude looks like he could be wearing Gondorian armour, which would be a nice change from most other LOTR media, where usually the only black people you see are Haradrim. (And even they are more likely to be offensive Indian/Middle Eastern stereotypes than offensive African stereotypes.) I'm sure he's gonna be a random original character who figures into the new game's Follower system (like the Nemesis system, but for good guys!) somehow, but part of me is hoping that the game is gonna be all, "Oh, yeah, this is what our Faramir looks like. Deal with it, racists."

Is this based on fan-fiction, or one of the novels JRR Tolkien's son wrote?

The first game was an original story that combined a few tenuous loose threads from appendix material. This new one looks to be invented from whole cloth.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:50 PM on February 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


> Is this based on fan-fiction, or one of the novels JRR Tolkien's son wrote?

Celebrimbor is from Prof. Tolkien's work, specifically the body of work published during his life. (Celebrimbor is kind of a big deal! He made the rings. He was the only grandchild of Feánor we know about. His name is pronounced with a hard 'C'.) Some other characters are "canon" as well (e.g., Sauron).

AFAIK, Talion was made up by Monolith ("O.C. don't steal") for the game, so yeah: fan fiction.

(I would not ship it. Too gloomy, all "QQ family murdered sob". Fun game, though. It's like that one UbiSoft game they keep making over and over, only good.)
posted by sourcequench at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'm astonished that they'd want to bring back Talion, who managed to be the least interesting and least likeable character in a game where nearly everyone else is a cannibal satanist slaver.
posted by waffleriot at 12:58 PM on February 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


The dlc where you play as Celebrimbor was fun. They really could stand to make a more interesting protagonist.
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2017


Oh man I loved the original so very very much. It was the most cinematic combat gameplay I'd ever experienced, and it scaled well up to what seemed like hundreds of active characters onscreen without losing smoothness (on a first-gen PS4) My only criticism was that the storyline was fairly short; that they're apparently expanding and extending everything is really exciting.

Head explode-y murder-y dark vengeance twisted fun! Woot!
posted by ZakDaddy at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2017


I would have preferred a sequel in which Celebrimbor haunts a hobbit, impotently screaming for him to stop baking and take up arms.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:05 PM on February 27, 2017 [21 favorites]


Honestly if there was a character editor and you grew your character in a similar way to the nemesis system that would be aweaome. FemStrider!!
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:08 PM on February 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


I've got no problem with a FemStrider. I just need a slightly more linear plot as I spent WAY TOO LONG just murdering my way through the Orc power structure.
posted by Samizdata at 1:10 PM on February 27, 2017


That is *not* how you forge a ring.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:12 PM on February 27, 2017 [15 favorites]


I so wanted to enjoy Shadow of Mordor but just couldn't get into it. Giant 3D open-world games just don't tickle me anymore, I guess.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2017


The original was a puzzler because it was both the maybe worst use of Tolkein story content in a video game ever and definitely the best Tolkein-based video game ever made. It could have been set in Generic Fantasy Scenario with a few nouns changed and been better for it in plotting terms, just by unbuckling itself from that uncomfortable marriage to the Tolkeinian foundations.

But it wasn't really a plot game, it was a wonderful combat brawler with a great cherry-on-top nemesis system, so the best plan with it is to just lump the story and get on with the epic battlin' and combo stackin'.

I'd love to see open character customization; there was just about nothing about the storyline of the original that was interesting enough to require the player to inhabit This Particular Gruff Fellowman. But I am in any case stoked for another round of the the sprawling action hijinks.
posted by cortex at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


I just started playing the first game last week, and am finding lots of new and inventive ways to die in combat because I keep thinking I'm playing Assassin's Creed and mashing the wrong buttons. Sigh.

(Also: is there a better way to regain health in combat besides running to herbs, then stopping the fight to eat the herb?)
posted by culfinglin at 1:16 PM on February 27, 2017


So hey, listen... If you forge a really nice ring of power and then Sauron steals it, would you say it's a good idea to go and forge another one right next to his house? I mean, surely he wouldn't steal that one, too?

(And yeah, the first game was great except for all the human characters, who were pants. And the last boss... Oh, that last boss.)
posted by selfnoise at 1:17 PM on February 27, 2017


selfnoise: "So hey, listen... If you forge a really nice ring of power and then Sauron steals it, would you say it's a good idea to go and forge another one right next to his house? I mean, surely he wouldn't steal that one, too?

(And yeah, the first game was great except for all the human characters, who were pants. And the last boss... Oh, that last boss.)
"

No, he already has ONE. What would two do for him?

Also, there's a final boss? (See my earlier comment.)
posted by Samizdata at 1:21 PM on February 27, 2017


definitely the best Tolkein-based video game ever made

(Ahem. Lord of the Rings Online.)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:21 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Culfinglin its been a while but i believe after you level up a bit you gain health from certain combos. Or some spectral power. But it's been a year since i played it.
posted by kittensofthenight at 1:26 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Missed opportunity to name it Shadow Of Mordor 2: You Rang M'Lord? No day one purchase for me!
posted by comealongpole at 1:33 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Talk to your doctor to see if Celebrimbor is right for you.

Side effects include nausea, possession and unexpectedly waking up inside volcanoes.

That is *not* how you forge a ring.

That was my first though. Like if he was making the One Horseshoe, maybe.
posted by GuyZero at 1:35 PM on February 27, 2017 [21 favorites]


GuyZero: "Talk to your doctor to see if Celebrimbor is right for you.

Side effects include nausea, possession and unexpectedly waking up inside volcanoes.

That is *not* how you forge a ring.

That was my first though. Like if he was making the One Horseshoe, maybe.
"

It is the same classic problem with things like movie hacking and decryption and such. The REAL thing is boring. Need to glitz it up for the people at home.
posted by Samizdata at 1:37 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Missed opportunity to name it Shadow Of Mordor 2: You Rang M'Lord? No day one purchase for me!

I'm just glad that naming conventions have changed enough that we probably won't get Shadow of Mor3dor in a few years.
posted by cjelli at 1:40 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's been a while since I last played the first game. I'm trying to recall if the first game had a prominent character/ranger who is black. I am all for more representation in video games. These things matter. Here's hoping its not handled in a poor [racist/token] way. And that its just accepted as a part of that in-game reality.

I'm coincidentally just finishing it up after I got 2/3 of the way through a year ago but got distracted by other stuff, and I'm pretty sure that character isn't in it. Pretty much everyone is either white or an orc. It's possible I'm missing someone who is in the background or somehow even more incredibly dull than the core protagonist cast.

The surprisingly interesting relationships you develop with the orc captains more than make up for it, but, man did I not care about the humans or the obligatory wacky dwarf. They should have ditched all of them and given me even more ways to subvert the orcish military hierarchy, although my plan to brand every single one of them and rule Mordor's whole army is going pretty well so far.
posted by Copronymus at 1:46 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


At first glance my reaction to this post was oh, Peter Jackson, no. Glad it's just a video game!
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:46 PM on February 27, 2017


That is *not* how you forge a ring.

Actually, I have made plenty of rings this way. Just grab a hunk of metal and then pummel it with a hammer until it comes out all ring shaped and covered in engraving.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:49 PM on February 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


Once they decided to step outside of the established lore, it was inevitable they would feel the need to throw a Balrog into the mix.

I guess that means more enemy variety this time around though.

And the game will still make more sense and be closer to the lore than any of the Hobbit movies.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:49 PM on February 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


The One Ring is the One Ring because it's invested with all the malice and power of a fallen divinity. You can't just "make another one" like you're spoofing the key fob for a late-model Acura Integra. (Except you can, it turns out?)
posted by Iridic at 1:49 PM on February 27, 2017 [13 favorites]


Another ring? Feh.

Everyone knows gigantic killer space stations are the way to go.
posted by PlusDistance at 1:52 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


The One Ring is the One Ring because it's invested with all the malice and power of a fallen divinity. You can't just "make another one" like you're spoofing the key fob for a late-model Acura Integra. (Except you can, it turns out?)

Looks like someone doesn't wield the Flame Imperishable.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:52 PM on February 27, 2017 [9 favorites]


Once they decided to step outside of the established lore, it was inevitable they would feel the need to throw a Balrog into the mix.

A balrog with wings, no less. Feh!
posted by pullayup at 2:00 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Love to see a gameplay trailer, but who am I kidding, if they have Nazghul fights I'm buying it.

The first was story challenged sure, but that's always going to be an issue with any game in the Tolkien universe. That setting is pretty limited by the canon story overshadowing any room for narrative exploration, and if you move to a different time that the books, it's basically indistinguishable from Generic Fantasy World. But the combat system was so good the story wasn't really necessary anyway, and just got in the way of killing or branding every Orc in Mordor. More battles, more fortresses, more orcs on screen at once, new enemies, new weapons, character customization, new ways to make Orcs kill each other for you, just slap in the same cardboard stand in story and it'll still be great.

And if you can brand a Nazghul and ride it to do battle with other Nazghuls midair, I might even break my no pre-order standing rule set in the wake of Batman Arkham Knight on PC.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:01 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


I loved the first one, but I didn't manage to get anywhere close to the storyline end, because like some others I just kept running around killing things in side quests and kinda... forgot about the main story until I moved on to something else (Overwatch) and haven't been back.

And the game will still make more sense and be closer to the lore than any of the Hobbit movies.
Oh god yes. You are speaking TRUTH!

(I'm totally the target audience for the Hobbit movies. Loved the LORT movies, have a whole bookshelf of LOTR and associated books/media. Planning a Tolkien tattoo. And yet I haven't' even seen the last one...)
posted by gemmy at 2:04 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


This plot looks unfathomably dumb, but I guess thefting bits of Tolkien for fantasy product with no real aesthetic kinship to Tolkien is a tradition just about as old as post-Tolkien fantasy writing, let alone computer games...
posted by brennen at 2:14 PM on February 27, 2017


And yet I haven't' even seen the last one...

You're better off.
posted by brennen at 2:15 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


So, this isn't the new Trump thread? The headline is a bit ambiguous.
posted by briank at 2:18 PM on February 27, 2017 [14 favorites]


the obligatory wacky dwarf

Okay, this is off topic, but I don't care because I've wanted - nay, needed - to tell this story for a long time.

I have a friend, John, that I've always gone to see geek movies with. We waited in line for the SW prequels, Marvel movies, LOTR, Harry Potter, etc. When the first Hobbit film came out, though, his wife had just given birth to their first child, so he was unable to attend.

The next morning, though, he texted me for details, "How was it? Was it good?"

And I decided to screw with him a bit, "Well ... it was okay. There were some changes to the plot I wasn't really behind."
"How do you mean?
"Well, The Hobbit wasn't a super long book, and was essentially for kids, right?"
"Sure."
"But Jackson split it up into three movies, so he had to insert a bunch of extra plot to pad it out."
"Okayyy..."
"Right, well, he still wanted it to make sense to kids, which I get, but I'm just not sure I agree with how he decided to do that."
"Give me an example""
"Well, the big one is that he's inserted a new character to make sure that kids still understood the plot. In between scenes, there would be the sound of a record scratching, and a comedic rapping dwarf would appear on screen and rap about what was going on. To explain it to the kids, I mean."

Now, to be clear, I know that there's no way this is the slightest bit believable. But he seemed to believe it, because he started to defend this imaginary dwarf, "Well, I mean, I guess the important thing is that kids get to enjoy the movie."

So I pushed farther. I talked about the dwarf's gold chains, and how those played into the dwarfish lust for gold. I invented bits of rhyme for the dwarf.
"Bilbo wishes he was in his bed snorin'
Instead he's out in the woods with Thorin."


Guys, I tried to make it as clearly untrue as possible, but he just wouldn't bite.

Anyway, we both got distracted, and forgot about it.

Until ... about a month later, I was sitting in the audience at Berkeley Rep, waiting for the play to begin, and my phone buzzes. I check it, and it's a text from John reading just, "You motherfucker."

See, when he finally went to see The Hobbit, he didn't go alone. He went with friends.

And he warned them about the dwarf.
posted by Myca at 2:31 PM on February 27, 2017 [64 favorites]


A lot of the specifics of the plot are ludicrously unfaithful to Tolkien's writings, but I would actually say that the branding mechanic is actually one of the most accurate depictions of his conception of magical power that you'll ever see. What makes Sauron (or Gandalf, or whoever) powerful is that they can convince/force others to do their will, not that they can shoot fireballs or levitate, because they don't actually do a whole lot of that.
posted by Copronymus at 2:31 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Myca, I haven't even played the game in question, but your story is amazing and you are awesome.

Also, tabascodagama, agreed on LOTRO. I haven't played since the Isengard expansion, but man they really did a fantastic job of creating new story that paralleled the lore.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:57 PM on February 27, 2017


*inappropriate squealing*

Shadow of Mordor is one of the best games I've played in the last five years. Have been keen for a sequel since finishing it, and this gives the impression of being appropriately epic. Hope it holds up ok on the Xbox One.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:00 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


The One Ring is the One Ring because it's invested with all the malice and power of a fallen divinity. You can't just "make another one" like you're spoofing the key fob for a late-model Acura Integra. (Except you can, it turns out?)

Celebrimbor isn't forging the One Ring (the Other Ring?), he's forging a Ring of Power. Which he's done before, three times in fact, without Sauron's assistance. Greats feats of smithing like this do indeed require an investment of power, but it needn't be from a maia like Sauron. Noldorin Elves like Celebrimbor had enough personal power (fëa) to perform incredible feats of crafting and enchantment.

Celebrimbor, from the cinematic, clearly crafts his new Ring of Power to rival Sauron's in power, though, which... Well, I wouldn't expect that to go very well for him. I guess it doesn't, given that his wraith form appears to be called out of the world by someone or something during the forging cinematic.

That setting is pretty limited by the canon story overshadowing any room for narrative exploration, and if you move to a different time that the books, it's basically indistinguishable from Generic Fantasy World.

Also limited by the fact that the Tolkien estate, meaning mostly just Christopher at this point, is incredibly stingy about letting anybody play around outside the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. And even the works that play around within those confines can only do so because the rights to make derivative works from the books were sold off to a third party (The Saul Zentz Company/Middle Earth Enterprises) back in the 70s.

And if you can brand a Nazghul and ride it to do battle with other Nazghuls midair

Tolkien pedantry: "Nazgûl" refers to the riders, not the winged creatures. The winged creatures are never given a proper name, but are most commonly referred to as "fell beasts" when Tolkien talks about them in the books.

What makes Sauron (or Gandalf, or whoever) powerful is that they can convince/force others to do their will, not that they can shoot fireballs or levitate, because they don't actually do a whole lot of that.

Yes, I'm going to guess here that the Ring of Power we see Celebrimbor forge in the trailer will have this power, similar to Sauron's One Ring. In the books, Frodo is implied to be using the One Ring's power of domination when he makes Gollum swear to lead him and Sam into Mordor. The other rings have different powers, though. Mostly, the Elven Rings are used to maintain the realms of the three Elf-Lords (Galadriel, Elrond, and Cirdan) in a state of uncorrupted grace. The Ring of Fire that Gandalf borrowed from Cirdan also does have the power to generate fire, though Gandalf uses it quite sparingly, in accordance with the limitations placed on him when he was embodied along with the other Wizards.

Interestingly enough, the one person we see wielding powers of persuasion and domination other than the wearer of the One Ring is Saruman. Gandalf makes reference to the powers of his voice, and I believe The Two Towers describe the army of Rohan that confronts him in the ruins of Orthanc being swayed by his speech until Gandalf shatters Saruman's staff, cutting him off from most of his power. (It's never spelled out specifically, but presumably the Wizards poured some of their personal power into their staves, much like Sauron did with the One Ring. Epic characters imbuing artifacts with parts of their own power is a theme that pops up occasionally in The Silmarillion, and it seems to be a big part of How Magic Works in Tolkien's setting.)
posted by tobascodagama at 3:10 PM on February 27, 2017 [12 favorites]


I also love the Nemesis system. I've long wished for other games that have RPG leveling to utilize a similar system. It makes for such tense and riveting gameplay. You lose and make your enemy rises up in rank and power, you learn to hate that enemy and a rivalry forms. I love it. It makes each encounter so very tense. I'm excited for this.
posted by Fizz at 3:13 PM on February 27, 2017


Press X to Continue Having Inexplicable Delusions of Story

The first game was a shining example of a great game systems, er, system (the "Nemesis" stuff is something I remain a bit baffled by other open-world violence toyboxes not shamelessly ripping off since) in desperate need of a smarter or cleverer setting and writing. I mean, it's videogames, so smolderings in generic rage fridged-families are par for the unfortunate course, but it was seriously dire in that joint. I loved it despite itself.
posted by Drastic at 3:15 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


> If you forge a really nice ring of power and then Sauron steals it, would you say it's a good idea to go and forge another one right next to his house?

Sure, it's a Bad Idea, but only in the sense that doing anything at all in Mordor is a Bad Idea. Sauron didn't r00t the seven and the nine by mere proximity; he actively participated in their creation (by masquerading as "Annatar", and claiming he'd been sent by the Valar to share secrets of ring-making).

Celebrimbor forged the three in secret, which is why they're Certified Sauron-Free®. Presumably this new MopeyGhost!Ring is likewise secret.

Personally, I want a game that's The Last Guardian, set in Mordor, where your companion is a fell beast. "Whose vast pinions are as webs of hide between horned fingers? Who wants treats? WHO WANTS BELLY SCRITCHES?"
posted by sourcequench at 3:26 PM on February 27, 2017 [11 favorites]


Well, you've all gone and done it and now I'm downloading LOTRO again. I played this game last in 200...9?
posted by selfnoise at 3:34 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


the "Nemesis" stuff is something I remain a bit baffled by other open-world violence toyboxes not shamelessly ripping off since

I wonder if Monolith holds a patent on it. Although, with AAA dev cycles being what they are, I wouldn't have expected to see any big games riffing on it until probably next year anyway. (It's perhaps more surprising that no indie procgen RPGs have glommed onto the idea.)
posted by tobascodagama at 3:37 PM on February 27, 2017


Regarding the Nemesis system... What I keep hearing is:

1. AI programmers can make very good money.

2. Game studios don't pay well.
posted by selfnoise at 3:56 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


I also absolutely loved the first game. In fact, I just bought a new computer for myself largely so that I could play it, and it was entirely worth it. And I have to say, given the choice between a terrible pseudo-plot and a ton of gripping fun like this, or a few minutes of mediocre game play in sandwiched between hours of cut-scene movies like Assassin's Creed 3, I'd pay extra for less story.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 4:12 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm reinstalling tonight to give it another play through because I'm so excited for this game. It's so much fun.
posted by Fizz at 4:19 PM on February 27, 2017


Oh, and on-topic: Fuck yeah, I'm so excited for this. I hope they port it to Mac like the first one.
posted by Myca at 4:23 PM on February 27, 2017


Shadow of Mordor was amazingly frustrating. Because it seemed like they were building towards a really neat ending for most of the game. About halfway through I was convinced that Talion and Celebrimbor were going to run into the Eye of Sauron at the end, who was going to have a good chuckle about the idea that some little human with a sword could ever hurt him oh and by the way the power to control minds? That's MY power, you were just borrowing it, thanks for killing the losers in my army for me.

Then at the end you have to do that "mass kill possessed orcs" trick, even though the backlash will definitely kill you, because it's the only way that you can prevent Sauron from unleashing the army. Nice little story about how power corrupts, consistent with the source material and oh what's that? The only problem with absolute power over the minds of others wielded by rage-haunted murder-corpses is that you don't have quite enough of it? Rings of power are just fucking awesome otherwise? Monolith is really fortunate their game-play was as good as it was, because as others have said, it managed to be a really good game despite the story being thematically fucked.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:23 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]


Haha, yeah. I'm not too bothered by most of the stuff that "lore" fiends seize on... But completely missing a major theme of the source material is more than a bit galling, even if the result was quite enjoyable on its own merits.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:20 PM on February 27, 2017


For those being tempted to download LotRO, be warned that it is a pale shadow of what it once was. It was still pretty good up to and including Isengard but the story line and quests went downhill a lot after that. They ditched the skill system that was in place and shoved in some poorly-made trees more in line with what is used in WoW and they had entirely abandoned raiding and instances outside of leveling some of the old stuff up to the new cap.

If you only want to see the landscapes there is some beautiful scenery worth seeing but don't get your hopes up for more of the same quality that the game had with Shadows of Angmar and Moria. At this point there are a lot of dlc packs to buy as well, if you had a lifetime account it will be much more palatable to jump back into the game.

Do not expect more of this either. Unless something has changed in the last few years, the music had went way downhill. Some of it was just irritating.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 6:14 PM on February 27, 2017


The Gondor music has been a lot better, almost (but not quite) on par with the Chance Thomas stuff. The music that came with Helm's Deep, though... Woof, that was some rough stuff.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:21 PM on February 27, 2017


I get excited for every new LOTR-based game, and each time I end up disappointed by the various ways in which the story lines mishandle some key points or elements from the (oh-so-glorious) source material.

On the upside, it usually just makes me go back to reading the book (or the Silmarillion) and I fall in love with it all over again. Since I'm already on my bazillionth reread of LOTR at the moment, I'll probably just skip this game altogether.

</killjoy>
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 7:02 PM on February 27, 2017


I believe The Two Towers describe the army of Rohan that confronts him in the ruins of Orthanc being swayed by his speech until Gandalf shatters Saruman's staff, cutting him off from most of his power.

....which scene I have never forgiven Peter Jackson for cutting
posted by thelonius at 7:47 PM on February 27, 2017


I enjoyed Lee's portrayal, but I think Saruman in general was one of Jackson's more problematic areas in the films.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:54 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


I got the first one on sale even though action-focused RPGs aren't my style. And couldn't quite get into it. But it looked so cool, and took so long to download. So it's sucking up 40 GB of my SSD, which is a significant percentage, for the last few months. Maybe I will try to find time to give it another go.

Gandalf makes reference to the powers of his voice, and I believe The Two Towers describe the army of Rohan that confronts him in the ruins of Orthanc being swayed by his speech until Gandalf shatters Saruman's staff, cutting him off from most of his power.

I love that scene in the book. On some level it displays one of Tolkien's flaws, his tendency to make virtuous people no less than 99.4% pure. But the way it's described after the buildup and warning, such that everyone listening to Saruman making the pitch to one of our heroes find it convincing--except the hero currently being pitched to, each of whom turns him down.
posted by mark k at 10:27 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


....which scene I have never forgiven Peter Jackson for cutting

It's in the extended edition, and it's unfortunately very bad - cheesy fireballs, emoting on a soundstage and an unintentionally comic end. It was a good cut.

I mean it's an amazing scene in the book, but for whatever reason they fucked up getting a good version of it on film, so they were right to delete it from the theatrical version.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:37 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can't wait to play Moby Dick 3: Raising of the Pequod.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 7:21 AM on February 28, 2017


I really liked Shadow of Mordor, though I wish it had been more difficult by the end. The orcs plateaued about halfway through the game, effectively making Talion such an unstoppable god of war that the final confrontation had to be a quick-time event in order to sustain the scene's drama. It's also like the recent Sniper Elite games in that I couldn't shake the feeling that the game's villains would absolutely adore it. It has an orc's sense of humor and an orc's cartoonish bloodthirst.

If this new game is more of the same, that would be fine, but not worth buying. If they expand upon the Nemesis system and the game world's persistence, then I'll probably pick it up.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:54 AM on February 28, 2017


Ooh, Shadow of Mordor was a lot of fun! It was the first game I platinumed on the PS4 (*grumble* would have been The Last of Us if not for friggin' multiplayer *grumble). I loved getting deep into influencing orc politics. And finally branding asshole orcs who had been taunting me for hours.

Just don't go in expecting Tolkien faithfulness, and you'll have fun. (iirc, they legally didn't have the rights to use the Sil and other non-novel writings, just the films/original novels, so they took some stuff from the RotK appendix and... imagined from there.)
posted by lovecrafty at 8:17 AM on February 28, 2017


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