Hacking and slashing through Middle Earth is fun ― for awhileAre you a devoted fan of the Lord of the Rings series? Have you read all of the books and seen the films? Of course you have. Ah, but have you played the video game? Not yet? Well, I have to admit that I was reluctant, too. I generally steer clear of game titles that are derived from movies because most of them are just shoddy products cranked out so that the owners of the film franchise can cash in. They usually spend little time in development and offer nothing that cannot be found in the films.
For those reasons, I did not play the first two installments of the Lord of the Rings series.
But after reading favorable reviews of Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, I decided to try out the third one, Return of the King.
The experience was much better than I expected. You get to select from six characters, each with a unique special move that helps in taking out Orcs and other bad guys. Basically, it is a cut-and-slash-all-you-can type of game. As you progress through each mission you have to fight off more Orcs and more powerful creatures like Nazgul Dragons. As you advance through each stage, the power of your chosen character will also increase, resulting in stronger attack moves.
The Verdict: To be good, games like this need nice graphics and sound effects, otherwise the constant hacking and slashing can get boring. In that department, Return of the King delivers with crisp graphics that provide entertainment in their own right. That said, however, the game lacks the twists and complex missions of a real roleplaying game, which might explain why it failed to keep my interest for more than an hour each time I played it.
Return of the King would probably be a lot of fun for true Tolkien fans, and even from a pure gamer’s perspective it is entertaining. But it lacks the replay value that most hardcore gamers look for. For the casual gamer, however, Return of the King might “reign” a bell.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Rating: * * *
by Brian Lee