Video Games are Becoming Easier Again

My second go-around with Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor has been a blast compared to the first.

It had been way too long since I had experienced the thrill of mastering a control scheme in an action game and unleashing mayhem on my enemies. For several years when I was on dialysis for my failing kidneys, I had a rough time playing video games with the mental sharpness and motor quickness that I once did before. It was about a year and a half after my kidney transplant and a host of other health complications that I finally found myself back to where I was mentally before all of my health issues. It was during that time that I was regularly posting on this blog. But one day, my gaming abilities suddenly returned to me.

I don’t recall the exact game I was playing, but what I do remember is that I was playing an action game and found myself parrying and countering my enemies with ease on a difficulty harder than “Easy.” Since that day, I’ve begun to enjoy action games just like I had in the past. When I first purchased Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor on the Xbox One several years ago, I remember being very frustrated with the game. I knew it wasn’t the game itself but my inability at the time to focus and learn how to pull off all my attacks and counters seamlessly. My first experience with Shadow of Mordor was a negative one. I remember trading the game in at GameStop towards another game after just a couple of months. But my second go-around with Shadow of Mordor that began this past December has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The orcs don’t stand a chance when Tailon quietly sneaks up from behind.

Steam had a huge Winter Sale last year with so many great deals and Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor (Game of Year Edition) was just under five bucks at $4.99. What a great price for such a terrific game. After playing through the prologue where the main character (Tailon) and his family were killed, I was ready to help him take his revenge once the game gave you control in its semi-open world. My experience has been the exact opposite of several years ago. Under my tutelage with the controller, Tailon has brought absolute devastation to the orcs. Generals have been slain and humans have been freed from their servitude to their non-human aggressors. I’ve tamed wild beasts and used them to bring more misfortune to the orcs. It all shouldn’t be this fun. But this game is a gem.

Whether it was attacking with bow, sword, or Wraith abilities, I’m was able to pull it all off with ease. I admit that it has helped that I strayed from the main path and used every orc I’ve encountered for practice. Repetition works. Practice makes perfect. The controls felt terrific. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that it is a Lord of the Rings game, especially when I compare it to the films. This game is a darker and grittier experience than what one would see with Frodo and company in the movie trilogy. Tailon’s quest is one of revenge and the violence within the game portrays that very well. The backdrop of Mordor is certainly not a place that one would choose as a vacation destination.

As you progress in Shadow of Mordor, you unlock advanced attacks and maneuvers that expand your arsenal. It’s been very satisfying to have no difficulty in pulling off these new attacks. Being able to play Shadow of Mordor to its full potential has been very rewarding. It’s a shame that I didn’t have this type of experience the first time. But this also shows how far I’ve come and I’m very thankful to be able to enjoy games to this extent again.

Credit: Valve
There is no way I would have played a puzzle game like Portal a few years ago.

Strategy games and titles that involve more brainpower (puzzle games) have also become easier to play. During my stint with dialysis, I avoided these games. Now I find myself drawn to them. I now can truly play and enjoy strategy titles like X-Com 2Company of Heroes 2, and the Age of Empires series. Roguelikes such as HadesDandy Ace, and Curse of the Dead Gods are much more playable and enjoyable. I’ve gotten better at deckbuilding games such as Slay the Spire and Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle. A friend of mine had recommended that I play Portal, which is an amazing puzzle game that forces you to pass the levels using portals. This game can be challenging, particularly on the higher levels. But I was happy to be able to hold my own while I played. I’m able to enjoy a huge variety of games and I love it.

I’ve found myself raising the difficulty more often in the games I usually play such as Battlefield 2Star Wars Battlefront II, and the multiple Call of Duty games I own. I still use easier settings on earlier Call of Duty games. Those bots are challenging. Overall, video games have become easier for me. It is an amazing feeling. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. It’s nice to be able to fully enjoy my video games again. 

-LandoRigs (TVGA)

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