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Journal of No. 118

December 7th, 2014

Birth of a Nation / Shadow of Mordor @ 01:36 pm

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No, not the film. Aaron McGruder's (and Reginald Hudlin's and Kyle Baker's) comic novel from a decade ago. It sat on my amazon wish list, and then it became unavailable, and then some years passed, and then I bought it cheap on eBay.
Glad I got it cheap, because I found it pretty disappointing. Not very satirical, not very funny, and not very well-executed really... it's clearly a slightly warmed over failed storyboard for a film that was never made. While ordinarily I might curse at a world where Tyler Perry can get greenlit and McGruder can't, I wouldn't have greenlit this either. Perhaps most interesting (in light of recent events) is Hudlin's Foreword describing life in East St. Louis back in the day (and the elements of that that show up in the story) like throwing your trash bags on the roof during a lengthy garbage strike so the feral dogs didn't get at them.

Shadow of Mordor was fun but started to overstay its welcome. I'm not sure whether to feel cheated or relieved that the final final big boss battle is a few "punch the button flashed on screen" kind of exercises that's over pretty quickly. Lots of orc killing fun, and I appreciate some nerd-level Tolkien detail that goes into the story and details.

The gameplay is sort of a ramped-up evolution of the Arkham/Batman gameplay of sneaking and fighting, with added bows and mounted warfare and monsters.

Although I don't know whether it really added much to the experience, I did like the way you could sort of check out the orc's org chart.
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Date:December 7th, 2014 11:38 pm (UTC)
Also played Shadow of Mordor, generally agree with everything you said.

To me, the org chart was a really neat idea that was almost completely superfluous. (For those who haven't played, you can mind-control orc captains and then nurture the careers of your minions - or use them to knock out non-mind-controlled orcs.) Unfortunately, the game was sufficiently easy that you didn't need to pay attention to it. Sure, I *could* have conceived and executed an elaborate plan to take down Smorgoth Plagueface using minions and proxies, but...it was easier to wander into his camp and lop his head off.

Journal of No. 118