Grizzly Gaming

Friday, November 14, 2014

First Impressions – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, The Evil Within and Lords of the Fallen on PlayStation 4

It’s been a long time since I got a new PlayStation 4 game. Well, the last one I got was Destiny so I guess it hasn’t been too long but still…I’ve gotten really burnt out on Destiny the last week or two and while the free PlayStation Plus games are fun, they don’t hold my attention for very long.

Well thanks to a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” promotion at Target this week (that ends Saturday so get out there soon if you want to take advantage), I was able to pick up “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,” “The Evil Within” and “Lords of the Fallen.” Three fairly different games which are relatively new and each have their own strengths and weaknesses.  I’m going to try and do full reviews for each, eventually, but for now, I’ll give you my initial thoughts on the short time I’ve spent with each so far.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
The game I’ve spent the most time playing so far has easily been Shadow of Mordor. Out of all three games I picked up, this one had the most buzz surrounding it and got the most praise from people I’ve talked to.

In Shadow of Mordor, you play as Talion, a ranger from Gondor who is avenging the death of his family after Sauron’s army of orcs and uruks invade the land of Udun. His quest for revenge has him taking on an almost endless army of orcs and uruks, assassinating captains and war chiefs in hopes of one day reaching the Black Hand of Sauron. Though Talion is only a lone ranger, he has one ally – an elf wraith who can assist Talion in a number of ways. The wraith, much like Talion, had his life destroyed by the Black Hand and can utilize many supernatural abilities and is bound to Talion throughout the game.

Shadow of Mordor is a third person action/adventure game which has very strong similarities to other popular series such as “Batman: Arkham City” and “Assassin’s Creed.” It most strongly resembles “Arkham City” in that it takes place in a giant, open-world environment, taking on various activities, side quests and main quests. There’s a ton of different collectibles and aspects of Talion to level up which can be a little overwhelming at first but the actual gameplay – exploration and killing uruks – is simple enough and the rest comes over time.

One of the most interesting aspects of Shadow of Mordor is the nemesis system. In this game, one of your main activities will be hunting down the captains and war chiefs in the uruk army. Each of these uruks has a distinct appearance and set of traits which can be used against them in battle – things like beasts that they are afraid of, ways to kill them instantly or personality traits like using poison in battle or will never flee battle. There is also a distinct hierarchy to the uruk army and killing one captain often reshuffles the deck, adding new enemies in different positions of power.

These uruk captains will remember you from previous encounters and their reaction to you will actually be quite different depending on your past interactions with them. For instance, right now I have been at odds with a powerful captain named Kugaluga Blood Storm. We’ve clashed several times over the course of my game and usually when I encounter him he’ll acknowledge past fights and how he has a score to settle with me. It’s really an interesting system and one that serves to draw you deeper into the game world, knowing that your actions have a distinct effect on your enemies and that they will be remembered.

The Evil Within
It’s been a long time since I’ve played a good survival horror game and The Evil Within is definitely one of the more gruesome and challenging survival horror games to be released in recent years. The director of Evil Within is Shinji Mikami, who is the creator of the Resident Evil series, and if anyone can create a standout horror game, it’s Mikami.

You play as Detective Sebastien Castellanos. You start the game investigating a mass murder at a hospital but are quickly thrust into a strange world of macabre beings replete with bloody gore and horrifying imagery. Checkpoints and save points are seldom and you’ll often be close to death as health items and weaponry are also quite scarce. But that should be expected, being that this is a survival horror game.

Evil Within is a very odd game and it’s often hard to tell if you’re in the real world or some kind of strange, supernatural representation of it. Unlike Resident Evil, which told a fairly straight forward story about special forces dealing with a zombie outbreak, Evil Within is much more obscure. Granted I’m only on the third chapter, I still have no idea what is really going on.

I definitely want to delve deeper into Evil Within but I’ve been so wrapped up with Shadow of Mordor, it’s tough to switch between this game and the third game I picked up.

Lords of the Fallen
Have you ever wondered what Dark Souls would be like if it had a discernable story? If you have, Lords of the Fallen is basically your answer.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Souls series. It’s story is too ambiguous and the learning curve is way too steep for someone who hasn’t practically devoted their life to the series. But Lords of the Fallen takes all the difficult combat and XP risk/reward that Souls offers and puts it in a much more visually pleasing package as well as having a narrative which the game makes an effort to tell you about.

Lords of the Fallen is a third person action/adventure RPG where you play as Harkyn, criminal who is given a chance at redemption when an army of evil gods and demons attack the human realm. Combat is almost identical to the Souls series so if you’ve played them, you can jump right into Lords of the Fallen. Magic is handled a bit differently, though, as every class has access to the Gauntlet, which allows you to use various spells. XP and leveling up is also similar, in that you can only spend it at certain points in the game world and if you die, you must reacquire any XP you lost or lose it forever.

There are three different classes, though I didn’t take too long to inspect them. In RPGs I tend to always go with the brawler/fighter character and don’t mess with rogues or ranged characters. What was interesting about Lords is that along with picking a class, you can also pick your magic style. Each class has a different array of spells to utilize and you can mix and match according to your play style.

I’d imagine that deeper into the game you’ll battle monsters and otherworldly beings but I’m only an hour or two into it and so far I’ve only come up against enemies using a sword and shield like me.

Like Evil Within, I’d like to have put more time into Lords but Mordor has its hooks in me right now and that’s the game I’ve been focusing on. Though, I am very happy with each purchase and would say each are well worth the money. Shadow of Mordor is the most accessible game of the three, being that it closely resembles other popular titles. But Evil Within and Lords of the Fallen both offer their own unique benefits and challenges and would appeal to fans of survival horror and action RPGs, respectively. Look out for reviews of each (hopefully) coming up.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

My Photo

An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]