Lord of The Rings - Fellowship of The Rings (PlayStation 2 Review)

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The most important thing to note about The Lord of The Rings - The Fellowship of The Rings is that it is based on the book, not the movie. If you go in thinking the game is based on the movie you can plan on spending a good chunk of the game wondering where in the world some of the various baddies are coming from. The box claims that this is the “Official Game” “based on the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien.” In all practicality, that and the games loyalty to the story line of the book are its most impressive features. Take away that factor and you have a relatively bland game with no original concepts and pretty much mediocre everything. I am not saying the game was horrible or anything, just that at no point are you going to sitting there playing and go “Cool, I’ve never seen that before.” It just will not happen.

Throughout the game you play one of three main characters. Those are Frodo, Gandalf, and Aragon. Each character has a few unique characteristics that are supposed to give you an edge in certain situations. Frodo, for instance, can sneak, throw stones, jump, and he possesses the One Ring. Sneaking is only useful at the very beginning of the game and the stones are not much use any where. Jumping comes in handy a few times. Apparently, wizards and rangers are incapable of jumping even the smallest obstacle. I only used the One Ring twice in the entire game. Gandalf has a handful of spells, though I primarily used the fireball spell and the healing spell. Aragon has an array of different fighting methods and the use of a bow.

The game starts you out in the Shire. I’m guessing that the original game designers built the Shire level first then decided to drop a few concepts they introduced there as the game progressed through development. As Frodo, you have a purity level depicting how corrupted he has been by the ring. In the Shire you are given several little mini quests. When completed, these quests give you more purity. However, once you leave the Shire, the game completely drops that concept and the game becomes all but a linear slash and dash game. After the first level with Aragon, you path is all but set for you. The quests get simpler and simpler as the game progresses. By the time the game ends, the quests are mostly along the lines of “Continue forward movement.” There are a few mazes in the game, but they are nothing complex. One may get the impression that the release date of this game was pushed up, and development rushed, in order to get it out in time to tap in to the market created by the release of the movie.

Like I said, this game isn’t horrible. The graphics are up to par with your average PS2 game. This is not a time consuming game. In fact, I would recommend that anyone wanting to play this game go and rent it. You can finish this game in a weekend, easy. The soundtrack is nothing spectacular, and primarily provides simple background music. A funny thing though, the game comes with a copy of the soundtrack on CD so that you can listen to it while your not playing the game. I’m not sure where they were going with that one. Controls are simple and easy to pick up. The combat engine will not surprise you. Just slash, slash, block and you will be fine.

Any fan of the books will definitely enjoy this game. Anyone having no knowledge of the books or having not at least seen the movie will most likely be disappointed. I’m giving this game a 6 out of 10, subtracting most of the points for generic blandness and adding a few for book loyalty.

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