Shadow of Mordor review: when bad writing ruins an otherwise excellent game- Haogamers

One of the best action sandbox I’ve played this year doomed itself with lazy writing.

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Darkwatchman1446d ago

I completely disagree toward the end. Now, I'm a person that prefers narrative driven games and I can stomach some of the worst gameplay provided a story is engaging and well written, but to say that a poorly told story isn't enough? No, not every single game needs a complex and well told story. It really depends on the game whether or not the story is that important to the overall experience.

The poorly told story that comes to an abrupt close with a half assed boss fight was certainly a damper on the overall experience, but that alone isn't what kept the game from being excellent. Would you ever fault a fighting game or a Duke Nukem style game that's all about gameplay and style for having a bad story? Gears of War 3 is one of my favorite games of the last generation and in my opinion, the story fell way short of what they were trying to achieve. That whole "emotional" moment with Dom for me was laughable at best.

I don't understand how people cried over that, but does that alone keep Gears of War 3 from being one of my favorites of recent memory? No. On the flip side, something like The Last of Us certainly wouldn't have been the same kind of experience had it had a poorly told story with weak characters. It really depends on the type of game it is, what tone it's going for, and how closely they try to tie gameplay mechanics and story together.

Darkwatchman1446d ago

Ooooh! Disagrees because I said something rational.

DragonKnight1446d ago

Ok, let's check out the author's own shoddy writing.

Right off the bat we get this...

"tinkering with an established canon’s can turn hardcore nerds into rabid beasts."

So tinkering with an established canon is can? Right.

"This builds up your combo meter so you to pull off special moves almost immediately."

So you to pull off? What?

"I don’t care where a game get’s its ideas from..."

A game get is its ideas from. Ok.

"so I’m happy that there’s something to take it’s place for now."

Something to take it is place for now. Doing well so far.

"It’s awesome to meet up with an orcs..."

An orcs? Wow, you managed to make a singular into a plural at the same time.

"whereas I am not going back to that desert island in Black Flag to get that forgotten collectibles.."

And you managed to do it again. What linguistic prowess.

(The next bit is off the analysis record)

"Talion is the same gritty, gravelly voiced, overly depressed protagonist that we’ve met a thousand times before. I do wish developers would stop using the Max Payne story arch, or at least develop it beyond that basic formula."

Oh woe is me, a developer uses what has traditionally been well received when sales data is analyzed as a main character. When shall we have a purple midget lady, who for some reason has a beard, suffering from a random mental disorder like Disassociated Identity Disorder going around slaying mythical creatures like orcs with extreme prejudice? Why can't we at least play as the completely original concept known as the Scottish Dwarf who wields a hammer?

Honestly, that complaint is its own trope. I know some beautiful women, I bet I can start a Kickstarter with one of them as the spokesperson trying to sell my youtube series called Tropes vs. Tropes in Video Games, get 160K and take 3 to 4 years to produce 5 youtube quality, pseudo-academic videos about just this kind of complaint. But I digress.

(Continuing analysis)

"Finding out who he was and how he ended up as a wraith was one of the high points of the game adds some interesting facets to the Lord of the Rings mythology but it’s not enough to redeem the writing."

Can you guess what's wrong here?

"Shadow of Mordor feels like it was written by committee, they’ve taken a standard character archetype, inserted the recognisable figures of Gollum and Sauron, and set it against a backdrop of pure cliche."

Punctuation issue here, guess where.

End of analysis

"And please, no more miserable men on quests for vengeance!"


Anyway, I'm no English teacher. I definitely don't have a perfect command of grammar, syntax, and every other aspect of writing. My purpose with this is to say to you that one who barely knows how to write themselves has no real business trying to tell others how to write, whether it be grammatically or in literary style.

This seems like a lot of nitpicking, and so I showed you what that really comes off as.

anticlimax1446d ago

"I bet I can start a Kickstarter with one of them as the spokesperson trying to sell my youtube series called Tropes vs. Tropes in Video Games, get 160K and take 3 to 4 years to produce 5 youtube quality, pseudo-academic videos about just this kind of complaint."

I'd bet you a hundred bugs that you can't.

DragonKnight1446d ago

What kinda bugs? Ants? Beetles? Grasshoppers? What are we talking about here?

anticlimax1446d ago

Crashes, freezes, main character swapping gender halfway, getting the wrong specializations, ...

Most are pc-only. And I suppose there will be a patch soon.

anticlimax1446d ago

The ones I got for free with AC: Unity and DA: Inquisition.

DragonKnight1446d ago

Well I have almost no problems with Unity, but what kind of bugs are in Inquisition?

Tempest3171446d ago

I have had quite a few bugs in Dragon Age, some more extreme than others. I've had a couple rifts bug out where the enemies were unable to be damaged, several (3-4) times I have had to quit and reload because it would not let me change the character I was controlling. Pretty much every time I get on the horse the animation goes crazy and I essentially teleport to standing on the horse, then I sit down on it. I've had more than this, these are just the major ones. The character switch one is honestly the only one that bothers me though, as it's totally random and has done it in battle twice, nearly screwing me in the process. Phenomenal game though, could have used a bit more polish but overall I'm happy with it.

ctorretta1446d ago

The story was fine, the ending to the game was fine. Never understood how people could freak out over either.

Neither were particularly amazing (and indeed, seem positively barebones now that I'm in the middle of an epic Dragon Age 3 run), but to say that the writing or story ruined or even particularly impacted my enjoyment of SoM would be woefully untrue.

That game lived and breathed on the combat and the Nemesis-driven vignettes that punctuated the encounters. The storyline wasn't epic, but it would be fairly hard to jam a 'new, epic story' into the Tolkien world without annoying a lot of fans. I'm fine with the light approach they took to storytelling, and don't think it impacted the quality or enjoyment of the game at all.

crashbash1446d ago

I bought this the other day and I think it's a fantastic game. The way it works with the nemisis system is just inspired. I applaud game developers that come out with original and innovative ideas such as this. It is immense fun conquering that system.

The story was better than most of the games I've played this year, it's not going to win any awards but it's more than servicable.

The gameplay is key though, and with that I think SOM makes great strides.

A great game.

ctorretta1446d ago

"The gameplay is key though, and with that I think SOM makes great strides."


MegaSackman1446d ago

The story is well written, the problem is that it´s bad told. I've not finished the game yet but what i think is that the story is simple and is filled with tons of mission to make your time worthy, the thing is that those mission have nothing really important to tell, the story doesn't move forward but the writting is still good and the whole world is very rich in terms of story.

For what I can see, the main story should last like 90' in a movie. Bad guys kills you and your family in a ritual, you must seek revenge. The End. It doesn't seem to happen much more than that.

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