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9  |  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Successful Movie Adaptation
rageahol , 11/26/2004 6:50:00 PM

For years, many have attempted it and few have accomplished it. It’s a hit or miss trial, with results varying from becoming a time-enduring classic to the much more common dismal failure. I am talking about of course, the video game movie adaptation. It can create the perfect in-the-movie experience or it can be the one to reappear on the pre-owned shelves with in days. What do you need to make this game work? Well, first of all you need a hell of a good game. Then you need one hell of a good game-maker. Enter The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Story

I hope that you’re joking. A decent percentage of the Earth’s population has memorized the plot synopsis for all three of the 3-hour movies, or if you haven’t, there are probably enough Tolkienians in the near vicinity to set you straight. Anyways, it’s basically played from Gandalf’s charge into Helm’s deep (as Gandalf) until the destroying of the Ring of Power itself in the Cracks of Doom.

Improvements and Additions

Since the last Lord of the Rings game, EA has made many improvements to the game. One of my personal favourites is more playable characters. Were you ever playing The Two Towers and thinking “I wish that I could be a hobbit,”? Well now you can be a hobbit (but only in the game). Besides that there are different roads you can travel through the game, each with its own characters. First there is the Path of the King: play as the original three characters (the exile-turned-king Aragorn, the girly elf Legolas and the grumpy dwarf Gimli). Second is the Path of the Wizard is which you lead the spell-casting Gandalf to save the city of Minas Tirith. And last but definitely not least is the Path of the Hobbits, where you control Sam and guide poor, corrupted Mr. Frodo to Mt. Doom. Besides all those characters there are 3 extras available to you once you destroy the ring. (cough, cough pippinmerryfaramir cough). Another excellent addition is multiplayer. The best part about it is that it is as fully in depth and accessible as single player. Now you can compete for kills, cooperate and save Middle Earth two at a time.

Graphics

The graphics for this game are pretty darn good. Impressive enough to make you feel you are living the epic yourself and what more could you want? Experience the magnificent and deadly Army of the Dead completely lag free.

Gameplay

The controls are simple and natural. Attacking (speed, fierce and physical) and parrying are controlled by the face buttons, while the shoulder buttons yield killing moves and ranged weapons. Oh, and by the way, you move your character with control stick. Pretty much summed up as smooth and simple. You hardly have to think at all after a short time.

Memory

This is simple enough. 6 blocks on the ‘Cube (sorry not sure about the other systems) and this will get you about 10 slots on single player and 10 more on multiplayer. That’s a lot of games! Good thing this game has such a great replay value.

Replay Value

Like I said, this games replay value is excellent. After you beat it the first time, all characters will become available to any level. I’ve completed the game multiple times and I still have no problem going back any time, especially for a little multiplayer kills competition.

Sound

The background music is taking directly from the epic songs in the trilogy (composed by Howard Shore). They are brilliant rhythms created to make you feel the intensity and suspense of the game and they do their job well.

Strategies and Features

The game abides on an age old formula proven to develop fun: Hack + Slash = Glory. There’s little else to remember besides that. However you should also try to remember to attack enemies with shields and heavy armor with a fierce attack (Y). Try to build up your power meter by not getting hit (perhaps by parrying) and take out as many scum as possible to increase your exp. Points. This will help you buy new skills after each battle. One skill you should look out for is the bane group. They provide instant kills and upgrade your power meter to PERFECT immediately. As for features, there are many different interviews with the cast of actors, discussing their video game talents. It’s amusing to say the least.

All in All

This is a worthwhile game that any fan of the Lord of the Rings should own. Even if you’re not a fan of the greatest trilogy of all time, then you might want it because it is a great action game. Congratulations to EA and the Lord of the Rings for creating another fine movie to game adaptation.

Graphics~9
Gameplay~10
Repeat Value~10
Sound~9
Value~9
Difficulty~ Easy-Moderate
Length~ Moderate
Total~9.4

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