Decide the Fate of Middle Earth - The First of the Electronic Arts Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for PS2 Game Review Series
Decide the Fate of Middle Earth
Join the Fellowship.
Defeat the Dark Lord's Minions.
Ah, but how the new Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game makes a gamer swoon. (Did I say swoon? EEK!) This game has been HIGHLY anticipated by Tolkien fans and general gamers alike; perhaps moreso by Tolkien gamer fans because we've been teased by all of the screen shots for months now, but fans of EA games are also flocking to their local game store to make this purchase.
Why? Electronic Arts has an excellent reputation for games in general. I fully anticipate this game to razzle and dazzle me with their reputed talent for graphics. Word has it that the movie scenes seam flawlessly into the actual gameplay. This is an action game; make no mistake about it. You are either Legolas, Aragorn, or Gimli and you can bet your latest batch of lembas that you are going to be taking FULL advantage of the various attacks that the game allows. Oh, you didn't know that? Yes, this is not just HACK, SLASH, RUN, FIRE ARROW....this is Speed Attack, Fierce Attack, Knock Back, Parry, Killing Move, Jump Back, Equip Ranged Weapon, and Fire Ranged Weapon. The BASIC combination moves that you begin with are Three hit speed combo and Double hit fierce combo and then you can mature into Linked Attack, Shoulder Rush, and Devastating Attack. No, this is not mere hack n slash; this is know what you're doing and how you're doing it or your health gauge is going to soon be on empty.
There is an experience meter as well to help you see your character's progress and at the end of each mission, you will get a Mission Results Screen. (Hint: There is a secret character and level teaser on the back of the gamebox and inside the manual, there is a Mission Results Screen for Isildur...hmmmm...) You can also choose any unlocked battle from a Mission Selection Screen as you make your way toward Mordor. Battles are unlocked by winning previous battles. There is also a Skill Upgrade screen as you earn upgrade points per your experience meter.
I can't help but compare this game to Universal Interactive's recent release of their Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring game for XBox and PS2, (I've played and reviewed the XBox version and am set to play the PS2 version.) If you've read my series of reviews about the XBox game, then you know that I went from great anticipation, to excited glee, and then finally to disappointment. If you don't care to or haven't read the series of reviews, basically the game was too short and NOT true to the books in some very crucial areas.
Why do I mention that? Well, mainly because the Electronic Arts LOTR: TTT game for PS2 already has an advantage, (in fact, several of them), over the UI LOTR:FOTR game. First, Tolkien fans, movie and book alike, are sitting in almost painful expectation of the movie release of The Two Towers in December. This game is a perfect appetizer to hold us over, (we hope!). Book fans who have been so critical of the UI game won't even be looking for "purist" pros and cons with EA's TTT: We know it's based on the movie; we know it has the actor's voices; we know it has movie scenes. Basically, we won't squeal over Sam being taken prisoner by a Winged Steed of the Nazgul.
At least, I hope that we won't.
In fact, perhaps the biggest advantage that EA has over UI with LOTR:TTT is Helm's Deep. Yes, the Tolkien fans who thrive on action and battle and who are shaking with anticipation over the much celebrated Helm's Deep battle sequence in the movie, get a nice sampling with this game. Not only do you get to SEE Helm's Deep in the game; YOU GET TO FIGHT IN IT!
Did you hear that? That was the echoing of the drawing of weapon, the notching of arrow, and grim determination of all of your fellow Tolkien fans out there who are now donning armor for the battle that will (according to Peter Jackson and friends) DECIDE THE FATE OF MIDDLE EARTH.
Like the Universal Interactive series of reviews that I did, you will get to peer over my shoulder as I don my own armor and play the EA LOTR: The Two Towers game. Frankly, I must confess that I'm more excited about the EA game than I was about the UI game, (which makes me a walking contradiction since I label myself as a purist book fan.) Would I feel that way if the UI game had been all that I had expected? We'll never know that; but, soon, we will know if EA leaves me flat or panting for more.
The Battle commences tonight! TO BATTLE!!