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I played 15 hours of the blockbuster new 'Shadow of War' game — here's what it's like

The new "Lord of the Rings" game, "Middle-earth: Shadow of War," is fine. 

Not in the '90s sense, but in the literal sense. It's not a terrible game, and it's not a great game. It's fine.

I've spent around 15 hours murdering orcs and arguing with the ghost inside of the game's main character. What I've found is an aggressively mechanical game with a nonsensical story that's as fun to play as it is rote. 

These are the highs and lows of "Middle-earth: Shadow of War."

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for "Middle-earth: Shadow of War," including story and gameplay.

It probably goes without saying, but I'm going to speak explicitly about "Middle-earth: Shadow of War" — this is a review, after all. If you don't want anything spoiled, turn back!

"Middle-earth: Shadow of War" is a third-person action game set in the "Lord of the Rings" universe.

POINT-OF-SALE TERMINALS: How evolving merchant demands are pushing POS terminal providers to up their game in an increasingly competitive environment

This is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The downfall of US brick-and-mortar commerce is overblown — despite sharp gains in e-commerce, which will nearly double between now and 2021, the lion’s share of purchasing continues to take place in-store. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, since the online environment can’t yet compensate for the reasons customers like brick-and-mortar shopping.


While Amazon and Microsoft battle in the cloud wars, this startup quietly built a $175 million business by picking up their slack (AMZN, MSFT, GOOG, GOOGL)

DigitalOcean is a cloud computing startup based in New York, competing with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure by focusing on smaller developers and startups. The company exclusively reveals to BI that it's on a $175 million annualized run rate (ARR) for 2017. An IPO isn't necessarily in the cards, but the company says it's well-positioned should it choose to do so.

There's a war raging in the cloud as the leader, Amazon Web Services, defends its $16 billion business from the rise of Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. The battleground: Lucrative customer deals with Fortune 500 companies.

That battle has created opportunity for


The 5 best new songs you can stream right now
Posted October 13, 2017 1:55 PM
The 5 best new songs you can stream right now

In this prolific week for new music, Beck, St. Vincent, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, the Wu-Tang Clan, and English rock prodigy King Krule all released new albums. 

Here are the 5 best songs from the past week that you can stream right now:

Beck — "Colors"

Beck's 13th studio album "Colors" commences with its shape-shifting title track, a pop-structured song backed by atmospheric synths, lively drumming, and a shockingly effective use of pan flute. 

 

St. Vincent — "Young Lover"

Annie Clark of St. Vincent paints a troubling portrait of love and drug abuse on "Young Lover," a moving standout track from her eclectic fifth album, "MASSEDUCTION."

 

Robert Plant — "Keep It Hid"

Jamie Dimon talks about bitcoin one day after saying 'I'm not going to talk about bitcoin anymore'

Jamie Dimon can't get bitcoin off his mind. 

JPMorgan's CEO popped off about bitcoin one day after saying he was done talking about the red-hot digital currency, which Friday morning reached more than $5,800 per coin

The billionaire banker, who in mid-September called bitcoin "a fraud" said on Friday "who cares about bitcoin" while speaking at a conference in Washington DC.

He also said that governments "are going to crush it one day."

"If you're stupid enough to buy it you're going to pay the price one day," Dimon added. 


Here's what the 'p' stands for in the Pixel 2 XL's pOLED display

When Google announced its new Pixel 2 XL smartphone, it mentioned that it had a "pOLED" display.

We've heard of various types of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays before, including the AMOLED type that exists in the Pixel 2 and other smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy lineup. But pOLED went by unexplained during Google's announcement. 

So check out what "pOLED" is:

"pOLED" is part of the "OLED" display family.

OLED panels are mostly found in some high-end TVs, several Android smartphones, and most recently in the Apple iPhone X.

In general, OLED panels are better than LCD (liquid crystal display) panels in almost every way. They offer incredibly rich color reproduction compared to LCD panels you'd find in older Android phones and the iPhone 8, as well as better contrast between bright and dark areas.


Zappos is offering to pay funeral costs for the 58 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting

Zappos is offering to pay funeral costs for the 58 victims of the Las Vegas shooting. 

The Las Vegas-based retailer has already given roughly $20,000 to three families money for funeral and transportation-related costs, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

The day after the shooting, Zappos announced that it would match donations — up to $1 million — to a CrowdRise fund for those affected. Zappos' own funds are being used to pay for the funerals, not the CrowdRise donations.

As of Friday, Zappos had raised more than $354,600. 

"Las Vegas is our home," the company said in a tweet


Tim Cook's iPhone X won't stay in his pocket (AAPL)

Of course Apple CEO Tim Cook is already using the iPhone X, the most advanced iPhone that won't hit stores until November 3. 

Students saw it slip out of his pocket during a public question-and-answer session earlier this week at Oxford University.

For nearly the entire speech, the unreleased device edged out more and more until it completely fell out of his pocket and onto the couch. 

Watch for yourself: 

via GIPHY

You can see him quickly check his notifications — perhaps unlocking the phone with Face ID — before placing the phone upside down. 


You can now easily order Chipotle, Five Guys, and more using Facebook — here's how (FB)

Facebook is launching the ability to order food for pick-up and delivery on the social network. 

"People already go to Facebook to browse restaurants and decide where to eat or where to order food — we're making that easier," Alex Himel, vice president of Facebook's local team, said in a newsroom post on the website. 

"Once you decide you're hungry, let's take you from that decision to food in your hand," Himmel told Business Insider, saying that Facebook was targeting people who are already seeking out restaurants instead of impulse buys. 

The service gives Facebook users a few ways to order. Restaurants' Facebook pages have an "order now" button, and they will also be able to browse through different restaurants in the "order food" tab.


How Andy Serkis went from playing Gollum to directing his first movie — and the pressure of making a non-Disney 'Jungle Book'

Known for being the master of the motion-capture performance following his roles as Gollum, King Kong, Caesar (in the “Planet of the Apes” movies), and currently Supreme Leader Snoke (“The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi”), Andy Serkis is throwing a major curveball on all of us for his feature directorial debut.

“Breathe,” about the life of Robin Cavendish — who became paralyzed from the neck down from polio — and his wife Robin, is a traditional biopic that is fueled by the performances of its leads Andrew Garfield as Robin and Claire Foy (Netflix's "The Queen") as Diana. The intimate love story is a departure from the usual CGI-focused work Serkis is known for. The movie was made through his production company, The Imaginarium, which mostly focuses on mo-cap projects.

But this is only a brief departure.