This game picks up 15 years after Frodo and Sam made their fateful journey to Mordor to destroy “The One Ring.” Sam, or Samwise Gamgee, is married to Rosie and together they have four children – one daughter and three sons. Their sons are named after the other three hobbits that set off from Hobbiton all those years ago and were eventually part of the Fellowship of the Ring – Frodo, Merry, and Pippin. Sam is now the mayor of Hobbiton.
The residents are preparing for a long-anticipated visit from the king – Aragorn. They have planned a party that will take place in the main area of Hobbiton where, once upon a time, a party was held for Bilbo Baggins.
When you begin the game (Hobbiton mode), you are young Frodo – Sam’s son. You are making your way through Hobbiton helping with the party preparations. Between moments of helping out, your father, Sam, takes time out now and then to tell you and your brothers and sister stories about his journey to Mordor.
When in “story mode” you are Aragorn.
Analysis of Story and Premise
The way this game is laid out is somewhat unique and charming in its own way. For the fans of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy this game will be a pleasant reminder of the wonderful musical score and some of the more humorous moments that happened. However, there are, for the sake of gameplay, a few inconsistencies in the “story mode” storyline. But, that is easily enough overlooked.
Gameplay and Extras
If you are looking for a hardcore fight game that requires some thought as to how best to approach and defeat certain enemies, this is not that game. That is not to say, however, that hardcore gamers cannot enjoy this game.
Though it is not the most difficult game to play, even though there are three different difficulty settings, the side quests (there are several in both modes) add to the fun of the game. Besides adding to the fun, completing the side quests prove very rewarding by giving valuable items that are not otherwise available.
Players can level up, learn new skills, and buy items during the game, which adds to the overall enjoyment of the game.
Graphics and Music
The graphics in this game are not the greatest ever created, but in their own way they are great. That is to say, they are charming. The characters are more like caricatures and, as it stands to reason, the surroundings are not made to look realistic either.
This game incorporates some of the original musical score that appeared in the LOTR movies lending to a sense of feeling at-home while playing the game. There is also new music that was written specifically for the game that feels natural – it fits with the overall feel of the original soundtracks.
When playing this game on PS3, players can use DualShock 3 controllers or the new Sony Move for Playstation controllers.
This game can be played by one or two players. The second person plays as Frodo’s sister in Hobbiton mode and as Gandalf in story mode. If you do not play with two people, there are some things that can be missed out on as Gandalf wields fire, which comes in very handy. It should be mentioned, though, that it is possible to play alone and easily pop Gandalf in and out as long as you have a second controller handy.
During gameplay, Gandalf gets a bit stuck from time to time and he has difficulty getting through at least one narrow gate. This is easy enough to remedy, though, by simply having Gandalf exit the game, moving Aragorn into place, and then bringing Gandalf back in.
It is a little disappointing that, when playing with two people, the second player is unable to interact with certain items in the game – the first player, be it as Aragorn or Frodo, alone can perform certain functions that can slow down gameplay a bit and make it easier to miss things.
At times during the game, on-screen help menus appear. Though they are helpful, they linger a bit too long and, though semi-transparent, get in the way a bit at times.
Overall, this game is fun to play – especially if two people are playing together. And although it is rated “Teen,” the game lacks blood and gore that parents of younger children often find objectionable. Further, it is easy enough, when set on the easiest difficulty, for young children to play. And, it is difficult enough on the hardest setting to keep more hardcore players interested.
The game is certainly worth the $60 that it costs as it provides any gamer with hours of fun.