Category: Video Games & Narrative

Shadow of War: The Ringwraiths

Last week I wrote about how the combat in Shadow of War doesn’t make a fuck of a lot of sense. It’s not a Shadow-specific issue, it’s more the broader issue around health bars and how they systematise violence, how they largely disconnect it from the actual physical body. This week I wanted to talk about another element of combat, specifically looking at the Ringwraiths. Basically, Ringwraiths show up in Shadow of War, but they’re not really that intimidating – definitely not compared to how they are in the films. I wanted to talk about why that might be.  (more…)


Assassin’s Creed Unity: A Preface

I’ve started playing Assassin’s Creed: Unity, and oh boy do I love it. There’s a lot to say – I’m only really seven or eight hours in, and I’ve already got three articles to write, so buckle up for a buttload of Unity. There’s a long list of things that I’m specifically not going to talk about, and we’ll get to those in a minute. But first, my very subjective opinion: Assassin’s Creed: Unity feels like the first true Creed game since AC: Brotherhood in 2010. And I think I know why.  (more…)

Shadow of Mordor: The Nemesis System

So I’ve been talking about Shadow of Mordor lately, and I said I wanted to go back and look over the Nemesis system in more detail. It’s super cool, and I do enjoy parts of it, but there are also parts where it potentially works against itself. There’s also generally some broader issues with how the system is integrated into the game – I don’t want to talk about that too much, because I want to treat the system in relative isolation, but we’ll spend a little bit of time on it, even just as context to get us started.  (more…)

On Reviews and Research

I’ve been thinking a little bit recently about the process of reviewing games – I said last week that I didn’t want to review anything, and that I didn’t like those Youtube videos that sort of wax on in smug nasal tone about one tiny point that they’ve noticed in a video game, as if they’re the holy hallelujah messiah reborn. There’s a couple of different thoughts involved here, and a couple of comments on the realm of academia, and I’ve finally brought them all together.  (more…)

Shadow of Mordor: Building a Busy Game

I’ve said before that I don’t do reviews – and I maintain that position. There are too many videos on Youtube explaining why X game is awful or has the worst level design or why the designers are stupid, and they all seem to be run by the same patronizing white male who’s way too impressed with his very small range of technical comprehension. That said, I’ve reinstalled Shadow of Mordor recently, and it feels very thin. I wanted to talk a bit about some of the elements that feed into that.  (more…)