Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

In the world of nerdism, you’d be hard pushed to place anything above Lord of the Rings as ‘the nerdiest thing ever’ – a rich, detailed world that essentially defined fantasy genre, that has entertained generations of readers. It should be the perfect setting for a game, probably the best fantasy game you can imagine, but designers have stumbled while bringing Middle-earth to life. Lord of the Rings Online was, thankfully, the last time I had a go at becoming a Hobbit and going on an adventure.

In September 2014, Monolith Productions took a shot at the Middle-earth mythos with Shadow of Mordor. The first that a lot of people saw was a gameplay video that was very reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed, with a focus on stealth, sneaky kills and free-running; there were some other controversies there as well, through some shady actions on Warner Brothers’ part, but we’ll leave that to Google to remember.

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World of Warcraft: Legion

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a big Blizzard fan, so as soon as I found out the release date for World of Warcraft’s sixth expansion I took a week off from work to play it. Legion was a revitalisation for the MMO with a lot of hopes pinned on its success, considering the mediocre reception of Warlords of Draenor. A long and winding story has been laid in the last couple of expansions, now coming to a head with the Burning Legion setting their sights on Azeroth.

From the beginning, we are on the back foot: the first scenario takes place on the Broken Shore, a massive effort from both factions to push the Legion back before the invasion even begins. We barely make it out alive, with major losses to both sides and distrust sewn back into the Alliance and the Horde.

After we realise the extent of the Legion’s power – which included Invasions throughout Azeroth during the pre-patch questline – Khadgar decides to take the fight to the Legion, magically teleporting these willing adventurers and an entire city to the Broken Isles.

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GTA Online

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a write-off, with unexpected circumstances preventing anything substantial from being posted. I’ve also been dropping in and out of different games in that time, thanks to a new group of friends with a hugely varied Steam library between us.

A lot of time has been spent in the impressively criminal state of San Andreas, where up to 30 maniacs armed to the teeth can cause havoc across the city of Los Santos (and surrounding areas). For the longest time, I’d created a guy who looked scarily similar to me and took after my greatest trait: staying inside for fear of being murdered. However, with the occasional support of a group of slightly less insane people, I’ve ventured into the world and committed a whole lot of crime.

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Pokemon Go

As I’m walking back from my local park, all of my exposed skin bitten and sunburnt, I thought I’d let you know why. It’s not because I have a crippling heroin addiction, though I imagine opiates would be more beneficial to my health than staring down at my screen hunting imaginary animals. If only because I wouldn’t have this crick in my neck and a little further away from a stress induced aneurysm.

Pokemon Go was released in the UK this week, officially, and downloaded illegally the week before by plenty of nostalgic adults who wanted to catch a Pikachu. It has immediately became more popular than Taylor Swift, Kanye West and – I’m starting to get a bit lost, so let’s say – Justin Bieber combined.

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Dark Souls 3

Let’s talk about the enormous demon behind the fog door and get straight into Dark Souls 3, the third installment in the – let me finish – Dark Souls series by From Software. Dark Souls 3 is a fantasy game set in the ruined world of Lothric and is played exclusively by sadomasochists.

I knew from the outset that it would be tough, not only because my pre-order (which I wasn’t 100% sure would even be there) was an hour’s drive away but also because I am, admittedly, just not very good. A final thorn in my side was that when I managed to snag my copy, I was two days away from a long weekend break – I did manage to squeeze in 2 hours of play that week (and then 7 more since).

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Far Cry Primal

Far Cry Primal is the latest offering from Ubisoft in their ongoing mission to create every open world game ever. This time, we are thrown to the birth of human civilisation to live as Takkar, a hunter gatherer who experiences unexpected tragedy and bounds off on an adventure (obviously) to ultimately become the baddest dude around (obviously). Along the way, you’ll maintain a small village, gather resources to craft weapons, balance a skill tree and strike out at the enemy water coolers to claim them as your own. All fairly standard Ubisoft RPG tropes.

And, to be fair to Ubisoft, it is all there and working correctly. In this setting, it all kind of makes sense: you are the early humans of the world, putting together your tools and expanding your territories to ensure your survival. In the world of hearsay, those other guys are bad because of reasons and you shouldn’t really care why you’re beating them over the head with a rock – this is survival of the fittest and you’re the one with the Xbox controller.

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Rexit / youtube.com

Also, I’m sorry this is out a bit later than everyone else’s, but I waited for the PC release like a good boy.

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Space, the Final Frontier

We, as humans, are obsessed with space. We had a race to the moon, we’ve dropped a robot on Mars and we’re trying to abandon some of our own on the Red Planet. We have a multitude of TV shows and movies that build on our want to explore the reaches of the universe. It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of games set in space we can enjoy, I’ve already reviewed Elite: Dangerous on this blog, and we seem to be going through an age of pure exploration games.

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