The Lord of the Rings. So many things can be taken out of that simple statement alone. You can think the release of the recent movie to DVD, or the second installment of the series onto the big screen. Or you can think of the books and how many hours you have spent reading them. The one thing that most of us don’t think about when it comes to Lord of the Rings is that there really hasn’t been a decent video game for it. Interplay released their Lord of the Rings game for the SNES a while ago, but it didn’t turn out to be much of anything.
This was really one of those games I really feel that can be reviewed in several different manners. This really makes it a difficult game to review. You can take the diehard Lord of the Rings fans who know everything there is to know about the series, and critique the game for all the things it does differently from both the books and the movie. Or you can just view Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring as another game, and review it that way. Either way the game has finally been released, but can it live up to all the hype?
The first thing I thought when I heard about Lord of the Rings was, I thought for sure this was going to be a pure RPG. I just felt that a fantasy novel would be more suited if played as an RPG. Well I really don’t know if I would have been right or wrong, but instead of an RPG, Lord of the Rings is actually more an Action Adventure game.
You start the game as the beloved Frodo, but will also be playing as Gandalf and Strider (Aragorn). If you have seen the movie or have read the book, you would realize that this is a game that is going to have a lot of running around to do along with some combat.
First we will talk about the blood and guts of the game, that being the combat system. This is pretty simple and straightforward. The A button is your striking button the B button is your defense button, and the Y button is to jump. These are really the main control buttons that will get you through the game. The actual combat it self is pretty clean and crisp, and works pretty well. For the most part you will only have one to two enemies attacking you at once so for the most part it is pretty easy combat. That being said, it does take multiple hits to bring down the enemies, so don’t think this will be just like a walk in the park.
During most of the game you will have the rest of the Fellowship along with you. The idea of having them around is to help you with combat. But in this game, they just prefer to watch rather than aid you in combat. So, what’s the point of traveling with the rest of the Fellowship if they’re just there for show? This might be as bad as it sounds because the enemies don’t seem to care about them either. They don’t attack the rest of the Fellowship, but just stand around them doing nothing. This gives you a glimpse of how terrible and consistently poor AI is in the game.
Now for the running around/adventure part of the game, which is my least favorite part of the game, and let me tell you there is a lot of this. Through the game (you will find this a lot at the beginning, when you’re in the Shire) you will play quite a few mini-adventures, which doesn’t seem to be meaningful to the game. To make matters even worse the little mini adventures are just not much fun. They don’t keep you very interested in the game, and some of them are just not worth playing.
When I first started Lord of The Rings, it really looked like a pretty open-ended game, but boy was I wrong. There are many places throughout the game where thought that you can go via different routes to your next destination, but they all lead to dead ends. The levels are so rigidly structured that there can only be one path to the next point. This does happen quite a few times. There are also places in the game where you really don’t have any clue where to go.
The sound of Lord of the Rings really gave us mixed reactions. At some points of the game the music flows rather well, at others it can become quite irritating.
The most impressive part of the sound would have to be the voice acting. It was probably one of the most difficult parts getting good voice actors to do the roles of the characters. Especially with the cut scenes with the singing, this was a very difficult role to fill. I felt that the voice acting wasn’t to terribly great but on the same time it wasn’t really that bad.
When we first viewed Lord of the Rings we really saw some excellent looking character models and an average looking landscape. As the game goes on to the graphics stay as impressive as they do during the beginning of the game. I was pretty impressed with most of the graphics, but everything in the land of the Ring.
There are still some problems in the game. When you start running around places you will notice that things start to look the same. The landscapes start to become very repetitive and they don’t really look as impressive as they do at the beginning of the game.
Probably one of the worst parts of the game is when you have some of these very long and boring mini-adventures that really don’t keep the game together. On the other hand there is some parts of the game in which the game where the game can be quite fun.
In the long run, Lord of the Rings falls short in every aspect of the game. There really isn’t much to this game. Even for the hardcore Lord of the Rings fans this one is not going to be much fun. With all the hype comes a game that has all the right things going for it, but was just not very well executed. This game is a disservice to the fans, wasting a fantastic license on such a terrible game. Hardcore fans might be tempted to play this game, but we can only recommend that you rent it first before blowing your hard-earned money on this disappointingly average title.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.