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.
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.
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.
I’ve tried to write this review several times over the past two weeks with, as you can probably tell, little to no success. It’s difficult for me to properly express my experience with Uncharted 2, especially in a balanced and thoughtful manner.
Naughty Dog have done a brilliant job in getting the most out of the consoles, although I’ve been playing the Remastered version so I can’t really say that it looked great on the PS3. They did a great job with their environments and scenery, which has been the major selling point of Uncharted since day 1 – everything will look great, you’ll climb over some of it and shoot most of the rest. Away from the lush, open forests of faraway islands, Uncharted 2 is more focussed on cities and towns and you’ll find yourself on top of buildings to gaze upon the world more often than not.
Ark: Survival Evolved might seem like your run of the mill sandbox survival games, but it has dinosaurs! I had all too easily passed over Ark when it had first come out as another offshoot of the survival simulation genre, which I could easily experience by booting up Minecraft. However, it was on the Steam Summer Sale so I thought I’d give it a shot.
You wake up on an island, with a loud and unskippable cutscene, looking at a thing embedded in your arm. Don’t worry if you missed it first time though because it plays every time you have to respawn which, if you’re as bad at surviving as I apparently am, you’ll do a lot. As per survival sim tradition, your first objective as a newly awoken test subject in the wild is to punch a tree for some wood, pick up some stones and fashion some sort of crude tool so you can hatchet trees instead!
In lieu of an article today, instead I did an hour’s stream of the opening scenario of Legion!
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise for … everything. I’m looking to do more streams in the future, so hopefully I’ll become more comfortable with myself and the format. If not, well, nothing lost.
But, please do let me know what I can do to make the experience better.
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).