Most Recent: Top Story

The Path Our Enemy Forges: Shadow of Mordor and Mimetic Desire

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WARNING: This article will contain spoilers for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Whatever we may think about the universe, it is clear that John Reginald Reuel Tolkien firmly believed in an objective good and evil. A Roman Catholic who took his faith seriously, he shaped his fictional world of Middle-Earth to broadly fit a Christian worldview. A good and all-powerful God created the world from nothing. The angelic powers, some of whom fall into evil, exist as part of the created order. The world’s future hangs on the moral choices of common people. Evil is characterized as a turning away from the objective good, not merely an action that is deemed destructive by the social norms of the dominating culture. In fact, evil must be identified and confronted even though the dominating culture approves it.

Tolkien’s understanding of objective moral good and evil is demonstrated in his meditations on temptation in The Lord of the Rings. Boromir, a valiant but weak man, contemplates the use of the One Ring against Sauron. Faramir and Tom Bombadil, bastions of moral goodness, are unaffected by its draw. The power of the One Ring to dominate and to change free beings into thralls is disdained by those who recognize its means as objectively evil.

However, in Monolith’s recent hit, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, the player finds himself or herself doing battle with Sauron, not by taking the moral high-road and trusting good to overcome evil, but by wielding powers similar to Sauron himself. By dominating orcs and turning them against each other and their masters, players wield creatures with will and self-knowledge as pawns in a larger game. More than once, the high elf Celebrimbor states that the only way to overcome Sauron is to match him in determination, and to use his own powers against him. When the ranger Talion asks the Elven Lord how he can control the orcs, Celebrimbor states that when Morgoth (Sauron’s predecessor) created the orcs as a mockery of the elves, he made them to be dominated. Celebrimbor is merely walking the same path that his enemy forged. (more…)

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Don’t Leave… Take This Interview With the Developers of Guns, Gore & Cannoli

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At first glance, zombies, mobsters, and a wonderful cheese-filled dessert don’t seem like they’d have much in common. But while Clemenza instructed a young mafioso to leave his gun and take the cannoli in The Godfather, players will need both if they’re going to find any success against the rampaging zombie hordes of Guns, Gore & Cannoli. Belgium-based Crazy Monkey Studios is currently seeking funding for the game through Kickstarter, and we recently talked to Benjamin Claeys, one of the game’s artists, about the Prohibition era side-scrolling shooter and its unique art style.

Naturally, the conversation drifted away from the cartoonish violence of the game towards an appreciation for really good cannoli… (more…)

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The Games of November 2014

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It’s nearly the holiday season, and you know what that means – the big AAA games are coming out! We’re all excited for different reasons, though, and somehow none of those include Call of Duty. Read on to see what we hope to be playing this November! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |



Warpback: What We Played in October 2014

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We here at Warp Zoned were busy in the month of October! A couple of us (John Scalzo and Andrew Rainnie!) had birthdays, and celebrated by – how else? – playing video games. We played a little bit of everything this month, from old Pokemon games to new Alien games and all that falls in between. Hit the jump to check out what we were playing all month! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |

Angry Birds Transformers Review: Another Crass Crossover? Nope, Rovio’s Latest Is More Than Meets the Eye

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Most crossovers exist somewhere on a spectrum that reads “Logical, But Boring” on one side and “This Makes ABSOLUTELY No Sense” on the other. When Rovio mashed together their Angry Birds with the furious fowl from Rio, the pieces fit together perfectly. On the surface, Angry Birds Transformers definitely seems to slide towards the latter option. How do you mix birds, pigs, and Robots In Disguise? I’m still not sure it makes any sense, but Rovio was somehow able to take these disparate elements and create a pretty good game.

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. But I probably shouldn’t be. (more…)

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Inazuma Eleven Review: The Grindingest Soccer Game Ever

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I’ll just say it up front: Inazuma Eleven is really weird. It’s an RPG set in the world of high school soccer that plays as both a role-playing game and a sports game at the same time. Developed and published by Level-5, who are not strangers to games that are different, Inazuma Eleven really just rolls with it… no pun intended. It was released in Japan back in 2008 on the DS, and was re-released earlier this year on 3DS, which is when it finally came to our shores. The game – which has multiple sequels and spin-offs – has also spawned a manga, anime, collectible card game, and yes, according to Wikipedia, it even “served as the debut of a J-pop idol group” called Twe’lv. So what’s the deal with this quirky game? (more…)

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Kickstart This! Elegy For A Rough Year Edition

Analysts from ICO Partners recently reported that donations to video game projects on Kickstarter have seen a dramatic decline. They estimate that by the end of 2014, $27 million will have been pledged, compared to $58 million at the end of the previous year. A 50% reduction makes for grim reading if you are a game developer looking to launch a project, though it should be noted that 2014 is lacking in many of the big name campaigns that were launched in 2013.

Perhaps the bubble has already burst, or perhaps people have become pickier about which projects they participate in, disenfranchised by the multitude of disreputable characters who have tried time and again to launch projects with no aim of actually keeping their promises. As Evil As A Hobby discovered during their broad analysis back in January 2014, only one in three game projects launched between 2009 and 2012 delivered a finished product and accompanying rewards.

As I was finishing up this month’s edition of Kickstart This!, Boston-based Dejobaan Games reached their funding goal for Elegy For A Dead World, “a game about writing fiction,” according to the official description. It is awe-inspiring in its art design, offering a uniquely free reign in crafting the story of the game itself. Thankfully, there are more projects worthy of bringing to your attention. And that’s the point. There will always be great games begging to be made. If there is less money out there, it means less great games, but perhaps it will also add some quality control to a system untamed by accountability.

Unfortunately, the game’s deadline did not meet my own (although I did go on Twitter and rave about it). Thankfully, there are more projects worthy of bringing to your attention. And that’s the point. There will always be great games begging to be made. If there is less money out there, it means less great games, but perhaps it will also add some quality control to a system untamed by accountability.

We kick things off with side-scrolling puzzle shooter Red Cobra, survival adventure Impact Winter, and sci-fi survival horror Extract 237. After that, there is mech vombat MOBA Voxelfield, and last, but not least, The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy.

Yes, that last one is real. (more…)

Posted in Features, Mobile, PC, PS4, Top Story, Vita, Wii U, Xbox One |

Hyper Light Drifter Beta Impressions: How To Do A Beta the Right Way

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Who doesn’t love the sweet, slick, retro style of Kickstarter darling Hyper Light Drifter? This 2D action RPG took the indie world by storm last year, ultimately collecting more than $640,000 from backers during its Kickstarter campaign. Watching the videos and seeing the magic unfold as developer Heart Machine met its goal, beat it, and then left it in the dust was a joyful experience. I got a chance to play Hyper Light Drifter at PAX East this year and the staff loved it so much we chose it for our PAXpocalpyse list. And now I’m getting the chance to play it early in my living room thanks to a backers-only beta. The PC beta was originally supposed to be available from October 3rd through the 5th, but after some “internal discussions, the team decided to extend the beta to the 31st. I couldn’t be happier, and I’ll admit – I’ve had a hard time putting it down. (more…)

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