AzureAzule27

Joined 02/23/2012

💙

323 Posts

There's a new trailer for the Sony/Marvel movie Morbius, which we can see in January. Morbius is what I like to think of as Marvel's Batman, however he's physically like a bat. He's a doctor with a rare blood disease and it leads him to research into vampire bats to find a cure. He ends up doing something, which gives him a bat like appearance along with bat like abilities. He can switch forms, the bat in him wants to hunt. He gets wanted by police for a "vampire murder."

There are some interesting things that stand out in the trailer. One of those is when he walks down an alley by a poster with the Toby McGuire Spider-Man. It has the word "murderer" spray painted on it. Also Michael Keaton's character Vulture crosses paths with him in police custody. You may remember him in Spider-Man Homecoming. Speaking of Michael Keaton, he's returning as his original Batman in the new Flash movie. As a side note, Matt Smith appears in this movie, too. I really loved him as The Doctor, so I'm looking forward to seeing him again. He's also going to be in the new Game of Thrones prequel show.

There are many connections to the MCU/Marvel/Sony/Spider-verse. Morbius is tied to Spider-Man, so is Venom. Maybe with what's going on in No Way home, these worlds are coming together, which may explain the post-credits scene in Venom: Let There Be Carnage. The Daily Bugle paper is notable as it looks like it has in the other movies. It mentions a few things which are hints to Spider-Man villains. One headline says something about a "missing rhino" at a zoo. Another asks if black cats or friend or foe. We've already seen the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There are many hints going on in many of these movies that the Sinister Six members are appearing.

I'd like to see this, but I've always had hemophobia, so parts of this movie disturb me. It's all the blood stuff. I tried to re-watch the Blade series recently and couldn't make it very far into the beginning of the movie before I felt like I was about to pass out. This makes me hesitant to try to watch it again, to watch this movie, or watch the new Blade move when it comes out. Morbius and Blade do meet in the comics. He gives Blade the vampiric abilities without the disadvantages.

What do you think about this? Are you planning to go watch it? This is one where I'd definitely rather watch at home.


There's a trailer for The Book of Boba Fett now and it looks great! The show will be exclusively on Disney+ on December 29.

I wasn't sure what this show would be about or like. New Rockstars has a great video pointing out things and explaining different pieces of the trailer (https://youtu.be/QMmCt7AEFns). It looks like this is going to be a cool Star Wars with the criminal underground like The Godfather. It takes when we last saw Boba when he killed Fortuna, who was sitting on the throne at Jabba's palace.

I really enjoyed The Mandalorian and am looking forward to more, for sure! I was glad to see Boba Fett and impressed with his character. I was also glad to see him working with Fennec Shand, who I've seen in The Clone Wars. I remember seeing the unfinished episode that was going to show Boba in a duel with Cad Bane and that's how he got the dent in his helmet. It'd be great if they could actually make this into the show. It's still a mystery how he escaped the sarlacc pit. Some joke or explanation would be cool.

It seems there's also an announcement for a animated Darth Maul series that takes place when we see him in Solo. Paul Bettany is apparently returning, too. Maul was in The Clone Wars and had a duel with Obi Wan. He was also in Star Wars Rebels, too.

What do you think about this? Are you looking forward to it, too? Did you see The Mandalorian? Did you like it, too? Let me know your thoughts.


Wow, 11/11/21 is going to be an amazing day for gaming! I just wrote about the GTA Trilogy and now I get to tell you that Skyrim Anniversary Edition is coming out on the same day. "This 10th Anniversary Edition of the game will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S." (Quoted from news source below.)

Just like the GTA Trilogy, I've known about this for a few months now, but have waited for a release date to share it with you. I was only aware of a couple of changes, but I found a good source and have decided to quote it here:

"Current and future owners of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition on any platform including Xbox Game Pass Subscribers will receive access to three free pieces of Creation Club content: Fishing, Survival Mode and even new quests with Saints and Seducers. Additionally, Skyrim Special Edition owners on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S, as well as Xbox Game Pass subscribers on Xbox Series X|S will receive a free upgrade to an enhanced version on November 11 for their respective PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S systems!

We’re also excited to announce the most definitive version of Skyrim to date: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition. The Anniversary Edition includes Skyrim Special Edition and 74 creations, all 48 currently available and 26 to be released. These showcase over 500+ individual elements such as quests, items, armor, houses, etc.

Existing owners of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and Xbox Game Pass subscribers will also receive the option to purchase an Anniversary Edition upgrade for their Special Edition version of the game to gain access to all the additional content found in the Anniversary Edition."

The Steam version isn't mentioned, but it is coming. Details I'm finding suggest that the Steam version of SE will receive the same treatment as mentioned in the last paragraph above this one. If you already own the Special Edition, SE's price will be discounted from the price of the AE. Keep in mind though, I'm finding sources that are saying AE will break mods. I've been looking for more info on the Steam version and I think I found a good source in the forums here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/489830/discussions/0/4809273833190921323/

What do you think about this? Is this an upgrade you plan to get? I think I will although I feel like I've played Skyrim enough and I'm not really sure I'm very interested in the additional content.

Quote source: https://elderscrolls.bethesda.net/en/article/REybYU3Gy2InVlHmus4UC/skyrim-10th-anniversary-fan-celebration

News source: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/skyrim-anniversary-edition-adds-fishing-ps5-xbox-series-x-s-upgrades-on-the-way/1100-6495364/


I've known about this for a few months, but have waited for a release date and trailer to let you know about it. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is coming 11/11/21. It is a remaster of GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas and it looks gorgeous!

GTA 3 was a pivotal corner stone in the series that brought the series from bird's eye view into the 3D third-person perspective we've come to love since. I believe GTA 3 took the series to a whole new level and it's popularity has exploded since. I loved GTA 3 very much and I also very much loved Vice City. I'm quite sure I bought both games in their infancy. I even have what was released on the PSP, except for GTA Chinatown Wars, which I've never played. I still have all three games on Steam. While I first played these games on my PS2, it was actually the original XBox versions that I loved more, because it allowed you to use your own music.

I don't mean to belittle San Andreas, it was great. I'm quite sure I bought it at launch. However, there is a mission called Supply Lines that I found to be extremely frustrating when I first played it. I'd rather not do it again, but I think this remaster warrants attempting it again. I did finally complete it, though. In recent years, I tried replaying the game on Steam and ran into another frustrating mission and I gave up. The mission itself is simple, you just use the hydraulics on a car and bounce around. Unfortunately the controller configuration didn't translate well to Steam and I was unable to figure out how to complete it. I think I did find a solution much later, but I haven't tried. It might work better now with my XBox One controller.

This compilation is $60 and is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC. As for PC, I don't see it on Steam and the article I linked below says it will be available on the Rockstar Launcher. I think I might get it right away, even though I strongly prefer to have all my games on Steam. I've actually been bored with gaming lately and have taken a break. There's a game coming out next month that I've been eagerly awaiting and it looks like now I have this one to look forward to as well.

Let me know what you think about this. Are you a fan of the series? What are your thoughts on the games? What do you think about this remaster compilation? Will you get it and if so when do you think you might?

News source: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/gta-the-trilogy-definitive-edition-release-date-announced-and-its-soon/1100-6497306/


Minecraft Live 2021 has wrapped up and as always Mojang has given us a lot to look forward to. I'm going to point out some key things, though I may miss some details. I recommend watching the embedded video, however it is about 25 minutes long and xisumavoid has a shorter video (almost 13 minutes), which actually covers more. You can see his video here: https://youtu.be/ZXMgC-HuvIk

Before I get into 1.19 I want to cover a few things briefly. Be sure to log in to your Minecraft.net account so that you can migrate it to your Microsoft account. Obviously, you can create one if you don't already have one. It's easy and you can get a free cape by doing so. Once the account is migrated, go to your profile on Minecraft.net and look near the bottom under the "skins" part. You'll find the cape there. When you open the Minecraft Java Edition launcher, it will ask you to log in as usual. However, it may not work, so click the "back" button and the "X" next to your account to remove it. Then it'll prompt you to choose a Mojang or Microsoft account to log in with. Select your Microsoft account and you're all done. If you need help, feel free to ask. You can also visit this link: https://help.minecraft.net/hc/en-us/articles/4403183382541-How-to-Migrate-Your-Mojang-Account-to-a-Microsoft-Account-No-Images-#h_01F8B6E4ZBPXQY72Q0T3NWCVAX

All DLC for Minecraft Dungeons has been released and there are a couple new features. The game will introduce seasons, just like Diablo 3, which will provide weekly challenges. There will also be a new single player game mode, which is a tower that you progress through each floor. I don't have details on this at the moment, but if you're interested you might be able to find more about this.

Next year 1.19 will be available and it's called the "Wild Update." It introduces a new biome called the birch forest. It seems the swamp may be getting revised (I don't think it's a separate biome). It will now include mangrove trees, which adds a new type of wood, which can be used for crafting just like any other wood. Some of the roots are large and you can ride a boat underneath of them. Mangrove trees can be planted in water or dirt using the propagules that grow on it.

Frogs are also being introduced in this update. They don't appear just in the swamp though and they have color variants depending on the biome they're in. So, the tropical frogs are a different color than the snowy frogs. You can't have frogs without tadpoles and they're here, too. You can collect them with a bucket of water. So, what do frogs eat? Fireflies of course! Yes, fireflies are being introduced as well.

Version 1.18 is the "Caves & Cliffs Update Part 2" and it will expand the vertical borders of the worlds. So, worlds will be higher, allowing for taller mountains, and much lower replacing bedrock and allowing for deeper caves. It is going to be easy to keep your world from other updates and migrate them to 1.19. They're calling this feature "blending" and it will not destroy your worlds.

Taking advantage of the new depths of the world, a new biome is being added called the Deep Dark. It includes unpopulated cities, which look like ruins. However, this is a very dangerous and actually very scary biome. You really should watch one of the videos to see this for yourself. There are blocks called sculkers. There are different sculker blocks, but I won't get into them here. They react when they detect motion and if they're activated enough, a new terrifying creature will spawn called the Warden. It is blind, but can chase after the player if they detect motion. You can usually avoid motion detection by crouching. One way to avoid the Warden is to throw something like a snowball in another direction. This will divert it's attention away from the player.

Early on 1.17 was going to introduce bundles. You can place up to 64 items in them and thus carry many more items making inventory management much better. Archaeology was also introduced, but both of these new features will not be in 1.19, but will come some time in the future. However, we do get a very cool new feature, chests on boats. This is going to be very helpful in transporting multiple items and they will also work with redstone.

Another cool feature is the introduction of the mud block. You make one by using a bottle of water on dirt. You can then put it on top of a drip stone block (introduced in 1.17), which will drain the water from the mud block turning it into a clay block. This will most certainly be helpful as clay is sometimes hard to find and easy to overlook. Mudblocks can also be made into mud bricks, which look smaller than regular bricks.

Voting for a new mob has been going on during Minecraft Live. The Glow Squid is a new mob in 1.17, which won the most votes last time. This time the Allay won. It is a flying creature that can retrieve items. You give it an item and it will look for more of the same item. It cannot harvest, mine, or break blocks though. I'm not completely sure how useful this is, though. It will return the items it finds to the player or on a note block. You might find some info here: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/minecraft-upcoming-allay-mob-will-help-you-collect-items-following-fan-vote/1100-6497172/

Let me know what you think about all this. Have you played 1.17? If so, how do you like it? What do you think about it? 1.18 will be available in December, are you looking forward to it?


https://i.imgur.com/XBgKduS.jpg
I found this great article by TechSpot today explaining why using "Ultra" settings (or the preset) is "dumb." I have to agree, although I'm one of those gamers that wants the best hardware to be able to easily run any game on that preset. However, this is an expensive and performance demanding preference. It's not based on logic, either. I have noticed great quality in games using only the "High" preset along with great performance. I've also noticed that the "Ultra" preset doesn't usually add anything noticeable, except for the huge performance hit.

That experience is exactly what TechSpot is referring to here. They've benchmarked the performance and quality of some games using really good hardware. Their observations were pretty much what I just said, the quality of "Ultra" presets is usually negligible and comes with a big hit to performance. I really think this is a relevant topic here and I do strongly recommend reading the article. One of the games mentioned is DOOM Eternal and the game recommend that I don't use the highest preset, but the second highest and it was great.

Sometimes it's difficult to decide which settings to use in a game and presets are a great way to do that simply. GeForce Experience can also optionally "optimize" your settings, but I've found that while those settings are usually good, sometimes they are not. This makes me question the basis of the settings that GE chooses.

Take for example Ark: Survival Evolved. I let GE "optimize" my settings when I got my GTX 1660Ti (and other new hardware). However, I noticed the performance with those settings was unacceptable. It was pretty much using the "Epic" preset, which is the "Ultra" one for this game. Ark has been out for a while now and it's been very demanding on hardware since the beginning. This is just an example of a game where the highest preset comes with an unacceptable hit to performance while not really showing any greatly obvious quality improvement that you'd think would come as a result of the settings.

Let me know what you think about this topic. Are you one of the people that *must* have hardware good enough to run on "Ultra" presets? Or are you someone who values performance more and still enjoys good quality? Have you also noticed how "Ultra" presets don't always give really big and noticeable differences in quality, but significant performance hits?

https://www.techspot.com/article/2338-ultra-vs-high-settings/

I didn't want to leave this post w/out an image, so I uploaded a screenshot I took some time ago showing my settings for Ark. This was primarily to help me remember, since the game sometimes resets them.


Check out the embedded trailer. I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to give away spoilers. Guy, played by Ryan Reynolds, is pretty much the main character but there are other recognizable actors in it as well. The ones I noticed were Taika Waititi and I recognized the voice cameo by Hugh Jackman. You might recognize it, too. It sounds like him, but you don't see his face. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was actually the bank robber in the trailer that Guy shoots. You don't see his face, either.

What if life were a video game? Guy found glasses that opened his eyes and he began to see video game things such as health pickups, money, and missions. If you like video games, you'd probably enjoy it. There are other pop culture references, even a brief cameo from Chris Evans. There's a bit of a Matrix theme going on here, but it's also similar to Ready Player One. So, go check it out, you might find it better than you might expect. It's a must see!


AzureAzule gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
AzureAzule gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. In a way it’s cool, because I felt like the game play was much more fun and addictive than I expected. Unfortunately, enough time passed and I became bored with it. It’s still a great game and I highly recommend it, but in the end I feel “blah” about it. I guess I burned out on it. I’ll let you know about game play mechanics, what I liked, and what I didn’t like along with problems I ran into.

In case you didn’t read my review of Shadow of Mordor (link at bottom) or if you’re unfamiliar with the basic game play of this series, I’ll give a friendly introduction. These games take place in the world of Lord of the Rings (Middle-Earth, of course!). I’d say it occurs some time between about the end of the Hobbit movie trilogy and the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, before the ring of power was destroyed. There are two main characters, Tilion, and Celebrimbor. Tilion was killed along with his family, but he was “banished from death.” I think this is explained eventually or at least that he could actually have been relieved of his “curse” at anytime (no spoilers!). Celebrimbor is an elf, well when we see him he’s actually a wraith, but he’s not a ring wraith (or nazgul). He was the one who forged the rings, including the ring of power. However, events occurred, which will be revealed throughout Shadow of Mordor.

Talion’s ultimate goal is to defeat Sauron, but he can’t compete against Sauron’s army of orcs. So, he gains the ability to recruit them by “branding” them, which basically means he takes control of their will and they become his soldiers. I was disappointed with a DLC character that would not use this and a second who could not, because branding is one of my favorite parts of the game. Branding an orc replenishes Talion’s health. Usually when this happens, it’s head explodes and with the right skill upgrade, you can make it so that nearby orcs flee in terror at the sight of this.

Skills are pretty self-explanatory. You get skill points that you can allot to different abilities. There are many abilities you can purchase with skill points. The main ones also have upgrades to them, which you can also with skill points, but you can only have one of these enabled at a time. An example of them is the one I just mentioned regarding head explosion. Eventually, you may run into a point where you have no use for them. At that point, I thought the only thing I could do was to buy the upgrades I didn't want, even if I didn't enable them, but there will come a time where there are a few skills you can keep spending points on. The one I always used was the final health skill, it gives a certain percentage of health you get back from killing an orc. This seemed to go on for a very long time, I never reached a point where I could no longer invest in it as it's increase was very small.

There are regular orcs that can get promoted to be captains, war chiefs, and in Shadow of War, overlords. Whenever you get killed, orcs level up. If a regular orc kills you, it’s very likely to get promoted to captain. Orcs have internal feuds, they get promoted by betraying a war chief. Each captain has a set of different attributes. These can be something like a fear of fire, enraged by poison, and immune to arrows, but there are very many more attributes. You won’t know these at first, you’ll have to gather intel to find out. You can see captains strengths, but you’ll need intel to reveal their weaknesses. Usually you get this by branding an orc that looks green in wraith sense. However, you can also find intel on a board or table.

Wraith sense is a second kind of vision. It’s similar to night vision. You can see the shape and colors of orcs and other objects you can interact with. I used wraith vision a lot, there’s no limitation to it. It’s extremely helpful, because with normal vision, you can’t see the orcs for the structures and terrain, to put it one way. I relied on this so much that I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to use this with the second DLC character.

A difference in Shadow of War is that there are regions and fortresses within those regions. Your goal is to conquer and defend each region, so you have to build up your army. There are missions where you take on a fortress and try to conquer it and then others where you have to defend your fortress.

You can get new gear by killing captains. Each piece of gear will have a random quality and attributes, just like you’d find in a Diablo game. You can upgrade them, too, but I think you can only do this a couple of times. Particularly, you can upgrade them by completing challenges. For instance, one piece of gear might tell you to kill 10 enemies with a bow. I didn’t upgrade all of my gear, because not all of the challenges were appealing to me or I thought they were more challenging that what I wanted to do. Also, there are sets of legendary gear and when you have more than one equipped, you get a bonus.

Speaking of Diablo and gear, there are also gems you can put in slots in every piece of gear. Each piece has one slot. There are three different colored gems that have a different attribute depending on what it’s slotted in. You can combine gems to create a better one, which is great, because you’re often finding gems and it takes a while to get the final ones.

Here lies an issue I have, though. There’s a currency in the game called mirian. At first, I felt like I had plenty. You get this by completing quests, destroying unwanted gear, or killing orcs that are white in wraith sense. Perhaps the most useful thing you can do with it is upgrading your orcs and fortresses. You can buy training orders with it, so you can level up your orcs, give them certain weapons, or other attributes. My main issue is that after you’ve completed the story and other quests, even though you can still do a lot of things, it’s hard to earn enough mirian to keep up with what I wanted. I wanted serious defenses on my fortresses, but I had to grind quite a bit just to afford them. Then it seemed as though those defenses really weren’t worth it (my entrance was always breached quickly).

There are online quests. You can send an orc into an online fighting pit or you can try to conquer an online region’s fortress. I didn’t do these, but I did take on online vendettas, which are for captains that have killed another player. If you decide to take on the mission, you’re apparently transported to another player’s world and are put into a captain’s fort. Drawing out the captain is the same as drawing out a war chief in the offline part, you have to do something specific. One example is to kill 10 archers, or kill 10 enemies without raising the alarm. Once the alarm is rung, a whole lot more orcs spawn, which can quickly and constantly be overwhelming, so you want to avoid that. You can see an icon over the head of an orc running for the alarm.

I think at least two other captains will appear, so you’ll have to find those green orcs in wraith sense to get intel about them, since you're in another world. If you brand and recruit any captain, they’ll be transported to your world and you can place them wherever you like. If you recruit the target captain instead of killing him, your mission is still a success and you will be rewarded. However, killing a captain gives a piece of gear, recruiting does not. You’ll still get gear as a reward for the mission anyway. There’s always a chest with some gear for you at the end, plus you’ll earn points towards a better chest, which will include free training orders (those upgrades I mentioned).

Stealth is a major part of the game and knowing that, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the games as much as I did. It’s why I’ve mostly avoided the Assassin’s Creed games, because stealth isn’t my thing, but I enjoyed it so much in this series that I’m thinking of trying Assassin’s Creed again. I forgot to also mention (though I mentioned in my Shadow of Mordor review), the combat is great. I used my Xbox One controller that I bought specifically for PC gaming, but you can also play with the keyboard and mouse. Combat is just like the Batman: Arkham series (they’re both Warner Bros games, so I think this shouldn’t be a surprise). You attack with X and counter with Y. Other buttons have other functions, some have combos. I really love this combat style, so I was glad to see it here. I guess my anti-stealth thinking was a bit of a contradiction, because I loved those Batman games, but you had to be stealthy in them, too.

Branding orcs is fun and useful, but there are a couple of limitations to it. You cannot recruit a captain that’s a higher level than you are. The best way to do this, without having to level up, is to shame the captain, which will reduce his level and he will run away. You can then find him later and try to recruit him again. You can also decide to “fight to the death.” The icon above an orc’s head will turn green when he’s “broken." You can only brand broken creatures. Some orcs, however, have a trait that makes them unable to be recruited, in which case you may as well just kill them.

If you’ve finished the main story, make sure you continue to do the remaining quests. What I mean, specifically, is make sure you control every region. This will show another cinematic, which explains Talion’s true fate. This is very relevant in the first DLC. I think if you didn’t see that “true fate” cinematic, then the story in the first DLC will be confusing as it’s a continuation of that.

The DLC allows you to play as two different characters, but they have their own little main story quest and don't do everything that was available to Talion. So, they're kind of like smaller, more limited versions of the main game. This didn’t bother me so much, but their abilities (or lack thereof) did. The first character you can play as is an elf that refuses to brand orcs. She makes up for this, though, by meeting orcs that are actually friendly towards her, one of which is obsessed with elves. While I thought that getting around her vow to not brand was greatly done, I was not at all a fan of her healing ability. That’s because, in order to heal, you have to hold the Y button and then you’ll heal over time (though it seemed to happen rather quickly). The problem with this is when you’re trying to heal and still being attacked by orcs, which gets interrupted if you get hit, plus you can’t counter while doing this either. So, if you’re close to dying, you pretty much have to run away far enough so that you can do it. Running away is really a key tip for these games, there’s no shame in it. It may be better to run away than let an orc level up by killing you. Anyway, her healing ability was frustrating. I did finish this DLC’s story, but I didn’t do everything I could have done. By that time I had grown tired of the game and was ready to move on.

Healing is part of the reason I barely even played the second character DLC. He’s a mortal human and the only way he can heal is by using potions and he has a limited amount he can carry at a time. I think you start out with three, but can upgrade later. This is a problem, because you can often run out of them, even though dead orcs sometimes drop them. He also doesn’t have wraith sense. Also, instead of double jumping, he uses a parachute, which is kind of annoying since the other characters could fall at any height with no fall damage. I got surrounded by orcs and the captains had shields, which made it harder to fight them, especially since some of them had immunity to acrobatics, which means you can’t jump over them and hit them in the back like regular orcs with shields. I had a body guard, but this was not a challenge I was interested in. Because of all of this, I gave up on the last DLC and thus the game.

I ran into other problems. I had a problem where my controller was disconnecting. It seemed like if I moved slightly it would disconnect, but I’ve been using my controller for the last few games I’ve played and it’s never had this problem. It’s a USB controller and I thought maybe I just need a new USB cable. Someone on the Internet suggested using Big Picture view in Steam, which I don’t like, but using it seemed to have resolved the issue. Another problem is that the game crashes sometimes. It’s not obvious, it’s just that it looks like it’s taking forever to load and loading times were pretty non-existent for me, possibly because I’m running off of a NVMe SSD now. But, when I noticed these long load times, I just went to Task Manager and stopped the game. This didn’t happen too frequently, but enough to be annoying.

I gave Shadow of Mordor an outstanding review, but I can’t do the same for Shadow of War. This game is in a lot of ways better than the first. It improves on many things and I think there’s plenty to do in it’s open world. However, even though the game play was addictive at first, it got old after a while. I still strongly recommend both games, but this second one had some setbacks I didn’t experience with the first. It reminds me of programming, the more features you add, the easier it is to create more bugs.

Let me know what you think about all this. Have you played these games? What did you think about them or do they look like something you’d be interested in? (I'm glad I proofread this multiple times!)

My Shadow of Mordor review: https://cheerfulghost.com/GregoPeck/posts/4670/a-spoiler-free-review-of-middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor


The trailer for The Matrix Resurrections is finally out and the movie will be released in theaters and HBO Max on 12/22/21. The trailer says "this Christmas" and my first thought was that is a bad idea, because Spider-Man: No Way Home comes out on Christmas and I wouldn't bet on anything getting as much attention. That's not to say The Matrix is bad, it's great in fact, but...well I'm sure you understand.

So, Neo and Trinity are back, but they don't know each other. Neo (Thomas) is seeing a therapist played by Neil Patrick Harris, because he's having weird dreams and thinks he's crazy. Jada Pinkett Smith returns as Niobe, who you might remember in the sequels. It *looks* like Morpheus is back, but is played by another guy. It looks like this might be a younger version of himself (according to the link below). Hugo Weaving will also not return and I'm disappointed both actors will not be returning.

I found a link with some more details, especially about the actors. You can check it out here:
https://www.digitalspy.com/movies/a29498105/the-matrix-4-cast-release-date-plot-trailer-keanu-reeves-news/

I'm looking forward to seeing it, I've loved The Matrix movies since they came out. I'm also extremely fond of The Animatrix and if you haven't seen it, but are a fan of The Matrix, you should. As it sounds, it's anime Matrix stories. Some aren't really relevant to the overall story, but a few of them are significantly related. IMHO the best ones give us the backstory of how the Matrix was created and it's very interesting and disturbing. I loved the soundtrack as well.

I'm glad it seems this is coming to HBO Max the same day as theaters. The one great thing about COVID is that it created a significant boost to streaming services like HBO Max and Disney+. Those services have started showing movies when they release and I really love it. I think it's incredibly responsible, especially since we're currently dealing with the more contagious Delta variant and even vaccinated people are getting sick (but not mortally so). I prefer to watch something in the privacy of my own room. I did go see Shang-Chi, so obviously I've decided to go anyway, since not all movies I want to watch are streamed right away.

Let me know what you think about this. Are you a fan of The Matrix? What did you think of the trilogy? Have you seen The Animatrix? I've got a little more to say, but I might wait and put it in the comments.


AzureAzule gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
AzureAzule gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor is a very good game. It seems I’m on a trend with my gaming lately. I’ve been enjoying open-world games that have a combat system like the Batman: Arkham games. Shadow of Mordor is very much like a Batman: Arkham game crossed with Lord of the Rings, but there are key differences. The main difference between the two is that in Shadow of War, you can build an army of orcs.

At the beginning, you learn that a ranger, Talion, was killed along with his family, yet he is denied death. He was cursed and now pretty much lives again. He can die, but he keeps coming back. He is followed by a wraith, Celebrimbor. This wraith is special, though, and takes Talion along on a journey. When Celebrimbor was alive, he was an elf and he forged the rings of power. Talion and Celebrimbor are bound together and act as one and their main goal is to defeat Sauron, but they must get through his minions first.

Being a character who’s pretty much half ranger and half wraith means that he has many abilities, most of which are not unlocked initially. There are quests and items to collect. There are main quests and side quests. One good tip I found was to go through the main quests for a while so you can unlock different abilities. Even if you end up finishing story mode without doing all the quests or finding all the collectibles, you’ll get that chance after the credits roll.

In this game, most of your enemies are orcs. They are in a hierarchical system. You’ll see plain orcs everywhere. There are different classes of them. There are archers and berserkers just to name a couple. If you find one that has a big shield, you’re not going to be able to counter their attacks, instead you’ll have to dodge. You can jump over them, then hit them in the back. For berserkers, you’ll need to stun them. Above these orcs are captains and above them are war chiefs. War chiefs typically have some body guards, so it’s best to try to get them out of the way before fighting a war chief. War chiefs often have to be drawn out of a fortress, which means you may be required to complete a certain objective, like kill a number of units without being detected.

Every orc has strengths and weaknesses and knowing these can change a battle. You won’t know these about every one, until you gather intel. Usually this is done by branding enemies that have a green highlight on them. These are called worms. Intel is sometimes lying around and there are also slaves you can rescue, which can also give it you. My favorite orcs are the ones that can be instantly killed by stealth. I found this is usually the easiest way to kill them.

In strongholds, there are lots of orcs and there are different things you can do to decrease their numbers. You can shoot bait for creatures that will attack them, for example. You can also poison barrels of grog (their alcohol) or shoot explosive barrels. If you’re spotted, chances are an alarm will be raised, which will summon many more orcs. It’s not too difficult to hide or escape combat, though. You may often find yourself in a situation where you should instead run away. Dying in this game is frustrating at first and a bit confusing. When you die, the orc that killed you will level up. Time will also pass allowing other orcs to level up as they go about AI activities. This really isn’t a bad thing. Orcs aren’t incredibly difficult and you may want a high level orc on your side. So, don’t get discouraged here. Some day you may have to fight that orc again, but you might also be able to brand it and turn it on your side. You can have it kill other captains. For war chiefs, your orcs can betray them, if they’re already it’s body guard or it can infiltrate it and become one. Then, when you’re fighting it, it’s body guards turn on it and fight for you.

There are some really awesome things your character can do. He can see into the shadows or the wraith world. This is very helpful to get a better look at what things are around. Enemies become very visible, but there are other things that require this wraith sense. One really fun ranged ability is a shadow strike. When Talion holds the bow, ready to aim, time slows down for a brief amount of time, allowing you take get a better shot. If you have something you’re aimed at, you can press a button and you will pretty much warp to that enemy and kill it. Stealth is often vitally important. You can do a variety of stealth kills including the one I mentioned, but you can also kill enemies from behind, above, or below.

Another great ability is called branding and it’s very fun. This allows you to take control of an enemy’s mind and in doing so, you create an ally that will fight along your side. You can tell them to fight for you, or you can also sacrifice them with the touch of a button to restore health. Not only can you stealth kill, but you can also stealth brand.

Talion has a sword, dagger, and a bow. Each has slots for runes. Runes improve something, like the ability to get health from a head shot kill or to restore focus. Runes are collected from captains and the higher level the captain was, the higher level and better a rune can be. There are also challenges, which help you learn how to use each weapon and also to unlock some abilities. There are also some wild creatures you can brand, too. You can ride some of them and they’re often really great allies.

The game was a bit shorter than I hoped. I’ve spent about 73 hours playing it, though. I got all the collectibles, unlocked all of the abilities, completed the main and side quests, and also played a bit more after story mode. The game play is a bit repetitive, but I think it’s also very entertaining and enjoyable. There are some DLC, too. In one, you play as the elf and it’s a bit more difficult, because he doesn’t have the ability to slow down time when the bow is drawn, so I didn’t use it as much. Instead of a shadow strike, he has the ability to do the same action, but when he gets to the enemy, he brands it instead of killing it. He can summon allies and also sacrifice them for health.

One DLC is a group of challenges. It’ll say like kill a number of captains and war chiefs. They have bonus objectives, which will award more points if completed such as finishing in under an hour. The points you get for completing objectives seems to just be for show. You can compete with yourself to try to get more points. Instead of worrying about time, I just went along with it and had fun with it.

Shadow of Mordor has a sequel, Shadow of War and it’s very similar, but it’s a bit more like a graphical and game play upgrade. Both games are very fun. I may review War when I am finished. As I said, it reminds me of the Batman: Arkham games, because that’s the combat system. It’s a lot of fun. The amount of stealth used makes me think of Assassin's Creed, but I’ve barely played any of those games. I didn’t think I’d like being stealthy, but since I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m thinking of giving another try.

The game can be discouraging at first, but if you stick with it, you’ll probably enjoy it once you’re used to it. Remember, there’s no shame in running away. Go restore your health, then come back to finish the fight if you want. There are a lot of other good tips, so I recommend finding some online. I found multiple helpful sources. At first I was discouraged, but those tips really helped me get into it.

Let me know if this sounds like something you’re interested in or if you’ve played it before. I picked it up on sale recently. If you’ve played an Assassin's Creed game and this, please let me know what you think about how the two are similar and different.


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