Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Lord of the Rings Return of the King PS2 Game Review

This is the game I've been playing with my sister for the most part of last week; it follows the basic storyline of Return of the King through three story paths- Gandalf; Frodo and Sam; and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. There are also additional characters to unlock, though they are only unlocked at the end of the game, by that time, you wouldn't really want to replay the whole story arc. The game can be played single player as well as Co-op. There are around 15 levels in all of varying difficulty.

Each character has their own fighting style and weapon. Levelling up will allow you to purchase upgrades: stronger combo attacks, projectiles and health. The maximum "useful" level is Level 10, as after that there are no more upgrades to buy.

The game itself requires you to complete tasks, for example killing a certain number of enemies or defending a fort, though these aren't immediately obvious and thus it requires several attempts before realising what you have to do before completing the level "for real". This is made more difficult by the lack of checkpoints in co-op mode compared to single player.

In this hack and slash game, you will face a variety of different opponents that come and swarm you: ghouls, orcs, trolls and even crazy elephants called Mumakil. Some will have shields, some shoot arrows, some just stamp on you and you will have to use different attacks to defeat them. 

The controls are therefore vital in succeeding in this game. There is a speed attack, a physical attack and a fierce attack (used for shielded enemies) and a move for parry (which blocks 99.9% of onslaught, so pressing this repeatedly almost guarantees survival). Unlike other games, this game has an additional move called "Killing Move" which can be initiated if the opponent has fallen for an instant kill.

These moves are quite hard to remember to begin with but after trying them all out on some of the easier levels such as "King of the Dead" or "Southern Gate", you will be pretty good at taking down a swarm of enemies.

The final level was rather anti-climatic. Opposed to being the hard toughie of the game, it was arguably one of the easiest levels to complete, though the game had to follow the story so I suppose they made it as hard as it could be. Thankfully, upon completing the story mode, there are two bonus levels which feature twenty consecutive swarms of different enemies to kill, which will REALLY test your skills!

Graphically, the game is pretty good- I really like Gandalf's magic attacks as they looked amazing. The settings are also realistic and stunning, but the orcs and other enemies were rather chunky and slightly less seamless. Still, detail is great and you won't be at all bugged by the graphics.

The game overall is enjoyably but lacks replay value as characters level up too quickly with no reward for doing so. My Legolas was about level 12 half way through the game and hence I slaughtered the rest of that story arc. On Easy setting you could get around 10-20 hours out of it, so if you are a hardcore gamer, you can probably squeeze 30-40 hours playing with all the characters.

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