Saturday, January 27, 2018

On a Tangential Topic

I just finished Middle Earth: Shadow of War after about 100 hours, and I would like to congratulate the game on having the absolute most pointless final act and worst ending of any commercial RPG that I have experienced. Ever.

50 comments:

  1. what kept you playing for 100 hours? must have had some redeeming qualities.

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    1. It's not my normal type of RPG--barely an RPG at all, really--but it's fun in its own way. The next quest or item is always just around the corner. I like the tactics involved in defeating individual orc captains. The different geographies are beautiful and evocative. And for the first half of the game, there are palpable rewards for each new level.

      But it should have stopped after its fourth act. The ending there would have required a sequel, but at least it didn't completely destroy the purpose of the character.

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  2. Uh-oh,coming from you, who might actually have played more RPGs than any other person alive, that says something.
    And smythe, come on, haven't you noticed he's a completionist? :D

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    1. I thought the same. When the Addict tells you your ending is worse than that of any other RPG out there, there are very few outs.

      You might name the most obscure RPG imaginable, which has a very bad ending, but he has probably not only played it to the end but also written a post about the context of that ending etc.

      -- georgjorge

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    2. A "completionist" would have insisted on getting every achievement. I just prefer to see the end of the game.

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    3. Maybe "conclusionist" would be more appropriate?

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  3. Well I've been trying to decide if I should buy it or not, based on that recommendation I will not. Thanks addict.

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  4. what amazes me is that he have time to put in 100h on new games and still keeping up with work and this blog

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    1. I mean, it came out in September and I bought it on release. There were probably people who had won it by early October.

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  5. Now I almost want to play the game just to experience this disappointment.

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  6. I've never played the Shadow of Mirror games, but they always looked interesting, especially the Nemesis gameplay system.

    Is this an example of a game where the gameplay is the obvious focus with the story as an obvious banal afterthought? Even if the gameplay is good 100 hours for a terrible ending makes this sound like a slip for me.

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    1. Some people may disagree, but *I* think the story is solid through almost all of both games. You really have to pay attention, though, because depending on your playstyle, it might be days between plot points on a single "tread." I like the NPCs, too. There are no role-playing options, but it's not the type of game where you expect them.

      Yes, I think the game mechanics are pretty solid. The problem is, for all of the first game and 75% of the second, you're constantly changing the types of missions you're doing, so it never gets completely boring. For the last 25% of game 2, on the other hand, you do the same thing (fortress combat) literally like 25 times in a row. THAT gets old pretty fast. And then when you finally finish it, the game's denouement is about 45 seconds and in that time manages to un-do everything you just accomplished, and you get no resolution for key NPCs.

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    2. WB intentionally padded out the time the homestretch would take in order to 'encourage' players to buy legendary orcs from their store. It caused quite a bit of controversy at the time.

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  7. "...worst ending of any commercial RPG that I have experienced."

    Yeah, but how many rpgs have you played?

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    1. No, at least three. I know he's played an Ultima game, a D&D game, and one of the Phantasie games.

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    2. Plus Shin Megami Tensei and Faery Tale Adventure, so that makes five. I think he's a Hydlide II fan too.

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  8. Admire your tenacity, I ragequit at about five hours. I already despise quick time events, but here they figured out how to make them even worse: if you're poisoned (and that happens a lot), the button prompts simply won't appear. Yeah, no thanks.

    Anyway, care to elaborate? Why is it the worst ending?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Lbh fcraq 100 ubhef fybjyl pbadhrevat Zbeqbe'f sbegerffrf naq ohvyqvat lbhe bja nezl bs bepf gb punyyratr Fnheba. Gura va gur svany 45-frpbaq phg-fprar, Gnyvba fvzcyl fhpphzof gb Fnheba naq orpbzrf bar bs gur Anmthy, nofbyhgryl erirefvat rirelguvat lbh fcrag gur tnzr nppbzcyvfuvat. Ur trgf n "unccl" raqvat va gung ur'f serrq (be qvrf, qrcraqvat ba lbhe vagrecergngvba) bapr gur Evat vf qrfgeblrq, ohg fgvyy, vg'f pbzcyrgryl noehcg naq neovgenel.

      Guvf pbzrf nsgre yvgrenyyl 25 zvffvbaf qbvat gur fnzr guvat sbe nf znal ubhef, fb gur raq srryf cnegvphyneyl cbvagyrff. Naq lbh svaq abguvat nobhg gur sngrf bs gur ACPf lbh'ir tebja gb pner nobhg bire gur pbhefr bs gur tnzr.

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    3. I hope I'm doing this right, it's the first time I've used this.

      Naq fperjvat hc gur yber, gbb.

      Gur Anmthy ner gur 9 xvatf jub jrer tvira gur Evatf bs Cbjre.

      Lbh'er evtug, gurl fubhyq'ir svavfurq jurer lbh fnvq. Ng yrnfg gurl jbhyqa'g pbagenqvpg gur fbhepr zngrevny.

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    4. Jryy, yber bs gur YBGE vf zber be yrff frg va fgbar, fb "Funttl Qbt" Fgbel/Fubbg gur Funttl Qbt vf xvaq bs rkcrpgrq.

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    5. As I figured I was never going to play these games, I decided to satisfy my curiosity by reading the Wikipedia plot summaries. That summary seems to differ in a minor but important point copied here (emphasis mine):

      Qrpnqrf yngre, Gnyvba fhpphzof gb gur pbeehcgvba bs Vfvyqhe'f Evat

      The summary does make the plot seem interesting overall, although not exactly faithful to Tolkien as others have pointed out. More like decent Tolkien fan fiction which I suppose it is.

      I'm guessing Tolkien wasn't planning on a mass media empire based on his work, so it doesn't leave a lot of room to tell new epic stories in his world. Not to say that it can't be done, but it's not easy either.

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    6. J.R.R. started a sequel himself, based on the descendants of Gondor. He got 13 pages in and stopped.

      Biggest problem?

      It turned into all about the decadence and corruption of the people living amidst the splendor and ease won by Aragorn et al via their hard earned victories.

      Not saying it sounds familiar... but, yeah, it does.

      http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/The_New_Shadow

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  9. Man, if I were a dev of that game, getting that verdict from The Addict would be disheartening. Better than almost anyone out there, he's in a position to actually say something like that, without hyperbole, and have it be meaningful criticism.

    Very much looking forward to the inevitable post with more details. I feel slightly guilty, though, a bit like I'm getting popcorn ready to watch a train wreck or something.

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  10. The problem of the prequel? You will never be able to change the outcome of a prequel because it always has to fit into the timeline.

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    1. That implies you give a crap about the original material. :p

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    2. I don't know if you've played the game, but the developers ALREADY HAD the perfect ending.

      Orsber gur svany npg, Pryroevzbe yrnirf Gnyvba bire n qvfnterrzrag nobhg gurve fgengrtvrf. Pryroevzbe vaunovgf gur obql bs na rys jneevbe vafgrnq, punyyratrf Fnheba, naq svtugf uvz gb n qenj. Gurve "vzcnffr" vf erirnyrq nf gur bofgnpyr gung xrrcf Fnheba sebz gnxvat uhzna sbez, pbasvavat uvz gb n synzvat rlr ng gur gbc bs uvf gbjre.

      Gurl fubhyq unir whfg znqr gung GNYVBA'F raqvat. Nsgre tnvavat cbjre guebhtubhg gur tnzr, ur fnpevsvprf uvzfrys gb xrrc Fnheba sebz gnxvat culfvpny sbez, guhf cnivat gur jnl sbe uvf qrfgehpgvba va gur svyzf. Jura gur Evat vf qrfgeblrq, Gnyvba vf serrq naq fgvyy trgf uvf unccl raqvat.

      Vafgrnq, nsgre svtugvat Fnheba sbe gur ragver tnzr, va gur svany 45-frpbaq fprar, Fnheba jnyxf hc naq fnlf, "Vg'f gvzr gb wbva zr" naq Gnyvba whfg fuehtf uvf fubhyqref naq fnlf "Bxnl."

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    3. It was a general statement. I never played the game in question.

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  11. Wait... worse than Fate: The Gates of Dawn?

    ouch.

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    1. Fate's ending was just stupid. Shadow of Mordor's was actively offensive.

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    2. The whole premise of Shadow of Mordor is actively offensive.

      As were Peter Jackson's terrible films.

      #TolkienPurist

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    3. I have an inner debate as to whether the greatest disappointment is the Peter Jackson LotR movies, the Star Wars prequels, or the matrix sequels.

      Or Ultima Online, obviously.

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    4. It's been a while since I've seen them but I'd say:

      Good: FotR
      Decent: RotK
      Not Unbearable: TT & E3
      Ughh: M2,3 & E1,2

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    5. Oof, I'm the opposite.

      Best: TT
      Good: RotK
      Middle: M1, FotR
      Baddddd: E1, E3, M3
      Abysmal: E2, M2

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  12. Worse than just a text "you killed the foozle" and dropped to the Dos prompt?

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    1. I think the worst ending for a game is when you uninstall it, it corrupts your hard drive.

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    2. Addict's point is that in that kind of ending, at least you have a logical progression and conclusion, that you did the quest, you killed the foozie, you won, and you got dropped to the DOS prompt. In this case, gur sbbmyr erznvaf nyvir, lbh fheeraqrerq naq wbvarq vg, znxvat gur ragver tnzr cbvagyrff.

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  13. Thoughts on the Ending of Tyranny?

    I've read everywhere how bad the ending is, but after expecting the worst it turned out pretty OK

    Closes the narrative in the area the game plays and is open for a sequel (which perhaps never comes because of bad sales numbers)

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    1. I have no complaints. There are multiple endings for the protagonist, major characters, areas and factions, and everything is fairly reasonable for Part 1 of a longer story.

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    2. Tyranny is way overlooked. Ditto, to a lesser extent, Pillars.

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  14. Too many modern games I start playing with curiosity and end up finishing with the last half more rushing so I can finally uninstall it and forget about it. Aaaand this one looks like one of them.

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  15. Way to go. I skipped the last act and watched the ending on Youtube.

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  16. I got the game at launch but only got to act 3, or the end of 2. Not sure. Anyway, liked the first one better as far as gameplay, but am thinking I will have to go back and finish this one no matter the ending, just to get my money's work. After reading this post I almost don't want to.

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  17. I quite enjoyed this tidbit... I wonder if there is room for theaddict to do some out-of-timeline stuff... I'm all fired up to see him play Deus Ex and a couple other newer things...

    I do love the purity of the playthrough though. And I get a huge kick out of seeing stuff like EotB... so who knows.

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    1. Ermagahd!!
      Please play Deus Ex!

      Favorite single-player title of all time.

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  18. I was about to be suckered in to screw around with a horde of orcish slaveboys.

    Is the ending bad because it's trying to leave room for a sequel? Or just plain "puke stuck in throat" bad?

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    1. No, it pretty much quashed any chance of a sequel. It was just an abrupt ending after 20 hours of busywork that made those hours pointless.

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