Written by  :  Pixelspeech (1006)
Written on  :  Jul 08, 2011
Platform  :  Xbox 360
Rating  :  2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars
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Gets a lot of things right, but also a lot of stuff wrong

The Good

I simply love the multi-player in this game, this should be the standard for video games, Once you start a multi-player match (4 player split-screen) you can play all the classes you can play in the single-player and you are aided by NPC's who work just as fine as they do in the campaign, also noteworthy are the Ents, Oliphaunts and Trolls you can take control of and the mounts you can use. We often pop this game in and just play it for a while just to experience some chaotic warfare with a little bit of strategy, it's also a nice party-saver for when the booze is all gone.

The game goes through all the battles we saw in the movie, but also adds a few of it's own that we had never seen before, this way is remains loyal to the original work while also offering something new and interesting. Examples of interesting new battles are the fight at the Witch King's Castle and most of the battles in the evil campaign (which are pretty much the battles with the tides turned). We still get to see enough Minas Tirith and Helm's Deep, but it's a welcome refreshment.

There is a lot of fast-paced action during the two campaigns, each mission has you completing certain objectives which mostly involve simple things such as; defending a position, capturing an item or carrying another item across a battlefield. The simple objectives seem thoughtless at first, but it also makes sure you don't have to worry about doing something while slaughtering enemies. The fights are also designed in a way that pretty much leads you to an objective if the objective isn't just murdering Orcs.

Because of the simple action and story you can pretty much skip if you watched the movies or just don't care, this game has a pretty nice replay-value. I bought this game at launch and I have replayed it a total of twelve times since which is pretty high compared to most games. We already heard the story of the "one ring" a lot of times, I don't even care about it anymore, so it's interesting to see how Pandemic worked around this problem by not caring that much either.

The Bad

During a mission a voice constantly repeats the same four orders over and over again every five seconds or sometimes immediately after he finished his last sentence. That alone is pretty obnoxious, but the problem that takes the cake here is that all the voices in this game sound like Fox News' image of teenager who plays role-playing games (in normal English, there is a lot of annoying overacting). The same goes for the narrator that talks during the cut-scenes, but here you can also hear that his lines were edited together to form an actual story, just to make it even more sillier.

The balance is nowhere to be found, each character has something incredibly annoying that can either instant-kill you or make everything you can do useless; the warrior has an insane amount of health, the archer can instant-kill without any skill, the mage has a shield that blocks all projectiles and the rogue can back-stab (even heroes die instantly from a back-stab).This makes a lot of situations very frustrating when you got a whole army of Orcs coming your way, but a mage makes all your archers useless.

The premise of fighting in all the great battles is pretty much a big lie, instead you are fighting in a designated area where a much smaller war is going on while the actual war with thousands of enemies just a looped animation shown in the background. I can understand that you want to exaggerate when marketing your game, but this is just flat-out lying to the people. They didn't even make any effort to cover this up, in the very first mission (Helm's Deep) the Orc horde is just standing still while five or six enemies spawn in front of the group and actually assault the fortress.

The Bottom Line

This is a special game because it messes up a lot, but once they get something right, they get it really right. The multi-player is a big chaotic battle where you can apply some nice strategy and the game knows nobody is here for the story and takes advantage of that knowledge, but at the same time it also lies about the size of the battles and it has some very obnoxious voice-acting.

If you're a massive Tolkien fan you might enjoy this a lot, but aside from a few exceptions there will not be a lot of non-Tolkien fans who will enjoy this game. It's a rather brainless game with little story and it's just not up to standard. You can get a lot better for the same money is the point I am trying to make, but I still like this game myself.