Before I sat down to write my review (still have not yet finished game but I did put about 30 hours of game play into it) I read other reviews and wanted to see what their pros and cons were. So in doing this I will point out the bad stuff first. At heart it is a Hack N’ Slash action game. This will equal out to be TONS of fighting. Please expect this and not solving puzzles and adventuring throughout a peaceful land of daisies. This type of game play could be considered repetitive to some, but then again all games repeat something over and over again. (Racing, first person shooters etc.)
I even read a review saying that the story was a basic hack n’ slash story. They must have missed something because the game I played showed that the story writer and entire dev team did some impressive research of Middle Earth. Although they do tell of a lot of back story, they definitely do not lack from the story they are telling of these three heroes taking on this conquest. I will say, I love Tolkien’s work and I consider this to be a very nice attachment to the stories I already know and love. They do have some faults in how they used Tolkien’s lore but over all I am very impressed.
The controls are simple and straight forward but the combat is more than just button mashing. Trust me, I button mashed at first and died a bunch, I then learned how to play and it was way better and played out sweet in my opinion. I my self like the more simple control scheme because it allows me to sit down and play and me as a player as to watch for patterns and dodge at correct times instead of having counter buttons for every other attack. The camera over all plays nice with you, I think I have died a few times from crap camera but after all the hours I put in to playing, a few times to me just enforces the concept that nothing is perfect.
The Gfx are beyond gorgeous, and I say that in more than just stating that they are well rendered. The environments are very detailed, in between fights you do get to explore a little and enjoy the world. I say one thing. Very impressed. They did take a lot of time and effort into making it feel like what they believe Middle Earth is . Some items (stage décor) does get repetitive but over all I will say it is more than a mass copy and paste world. The characters are also very detailed. One complaint for me was that the NPCs (quest givers and merchants) did feel kinda stiff. The over all animations looked well done.
The sounds were pretty well done, not all the voice acting was award winning material, but I would say that it was not enough to make me say, this game is crap. Battle sounds were very fulfilling. Crunches, squishy, clanking and clanging. It did sound like a battle each time. (and so did the over all visuals for combat, very fulfilling).
Now lets get to the multiplayer. Stated earlier I love LOTR Online. This game almost plays out like a 3 man instance except lasts a lot longer. This is possibly why I love this game so much. It is very easy to get multiple friends involved in a game. The game itself keeps all players very well in-sync. Each character has a special ability to find secrets so that is an added bonus that you can take advantage of during muliplayer. For instance, the ranger can see footsteps, the loremaster can collect mushrooms for crafting potions and finding false walls, and the champion can find weak walls to bash through. At heart, this is the way the game is meant to be played. And if you run solo the AI kicks in and takes control of the other two characters for you or or however many are not being controlled my humans. It does have some faults however such as when you get to the “head back to town” check points when you go back to the mission I had some bad cases where my team mate loaded at the beginning of the level. Just a few times. But nothing I would call game breaking. A simple future patch may fix this but for now it is the only big thing that can be considered a multiplayer glitch that I noticed.
I love all that is Tolkien (my most favorite game is Lord of the Rings Online) and feel that this does do the LOTR Franchise justice, and even as a game is fun. Although it over all plays like any other action hack n’ slash so this is nothing new for the market nor may it be the best. But a fun game I will say this game is. I like it that much more because of my love for Tolkien’s work.
So my quick wrap up.
Game Play: A typical well done Hack N’ Slash
Controls: Easy to learn, Very responsive
Story: Evil Mounting a war against good. (this is the part that is typical of this
type of game) The amazing part is how well they kept it to Tolkien’s Work.
Action: Very intense, in your face battles, very brutal
Replay: If you like how different all three characters play, (each finds their own types of secrets) then you may want to play though once with all three. I would put this at the eye of the beholder. I would play this many time over since I love Tolkien. If you are playing cause of the style of game it could be rather low.
Co-Op: Now this is what it is about and is the real bread and butter for this title. (Although Tolkien story and world do make this just that much more amazing lol)
Well I hope this review proved somewhat informative, it is the actual first full review I have ever written.
I did finish the game and the story wraps up really well and I am going to play through it again cause I enjoyed the game so freakin much.....