Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings is perhaps one of the greatest fantasy stories of the twentieth century. It's been made into numerous films, inspired countless stories, and finally made its way to the Playstation 2. Fellowship of the Ring, the first in the LotR trilogy, is an adventure game that allows you to take on the role of Frodo the Hobbit, Gandalf the Wizard, and Aragorn the Ranger, on their quest to take the One Ring of Power to Mordor and destroy it in fires of Mount Doom.
Most adaptations of the Fellowship of the Ring leave out a few pieces of the story, or switch things around in the name of creative license. It happened in the original animated films made by Rankin Bass and Ralph Bakshi, as well as the new film directed by Peter Jackson. In their effort to make a fully detailed experience, the developers of Fellowship have aspired to include each and every part of the book in their game experience. The story unfolds just like the book, and you'll even find scenes with Old Man Willow that have as of yet failed to appear in any films.
Visually and aurally, Fellowship is a good, if uninspired experience. The poorer qualities of the game are revealed in the detailing of the Hobbiton and its inhabitants, which is essentially the visual equivalent of War and Peace; long and boring. Control wise, this game takes a long while to get used to, and even when you're adjusted, it doesn't perform very well. Even still, with all of the detail that the designers put into the game (story wise), you'll still fight both the Nazgul and the Balrog and in a completely un-book like manner.
Once I was finished playing Fellowship, I was happy to be done with it. It's got respect for the series that created it, but between the issues that I mentioned earlier, and a horrendous load time issue, it's definitely not what I'd call a good game.
Download Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Just because a good movie is made from an epic story, does not necessarily mean it should be made into a game. Case in point, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring sets out to be an ambitious romp through the Tolkien world where good battles evil. Instead, we get a subpar RPG/adventure game that handles badly, loads far too long and starts out simply too' err, well, simple.
Taking base elements (light on the base), players assume the roles of Frodo the Hobbit, Gandolf the Wizard and Aragorn, the would-be king in what is essentially an adventure game. Disturbingly, the game misfires on many cylinders. While the game looks pretty snappy and the rendering seems to have been done with skill, the game takes TOO DAMN LONG to load whenever new areas are found. Initially you wouldn't think is a problem, but think of it this way' Frodo enters a house (5 second load time), opens a chest and retrieves an item and exits the house (5 second load time), goes next door and enters that house (5 second load time) hands item to fellow hobbit and leaves house (5 second load time). See what I mean? It really is way too much, and don't even get me started on when you leave a major area where load times can top 20-25 seconds. God forbid you have to turn right back around. Considering the Xbox has a hard drive one would hope game makers would utilize this piece of hardware and have major game sections loaded on to it.
Next, the game has really unfriendly controls and even after playing a couple of hours I just couldn't get into a comfortable groove. Both analog sticks are used, one to control the character, the other to control the chase camera. The chase camera seems to be inverted and is way too squirrelly for it to be really effective. I have played some oddly controlled games in my time, and this one ranks near the top of the list.
Finally, I think it appropriate to mention that the game starts out too simplistically, and by simplistic I mean C follows B follows A simple. Mini quests are completed in mere moments while your quest log is constantly updated with new and dull tasks. As the game goes on, things do start to pick up, but the real challenge is fighting your way through the mediocre parts just to see some of the better things the game has to offer, like the monsters that start to appear, and the cool light sourcing. A hat tip to the voice actors in the game'they did a good job putting in accents and other Tolkien-esque style.
This game is really borderline between fans only and not recommended. I debated which side of the fence fall on, but had to go with the not based on the silly controls and the eventually unbearable load times. Rent it if you don't believe me, but don't buy unless you collect The Lord of the Rings memorabilia.