The Fellowship of the Ring – PC/PS2 Game Preview
Gamespot.com – July 13, 2002
PS2 LOTR – Aragorn in a Sword FightFor decades now, schools, booksellers, and libraries throughout the world have been giving voracious readers access to one of the most developed fantasy worlds ever penned–Middle-earth. The Lord of The Rings is the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, who inspired nearly all fantasy storytelling since then with his epic tales of hobbits, friendship, and power. Universal Interactive will be publishing games based on all three chapters in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. No doubt spurred into action by the incredible popularity of last year’s movie and the upcoming sequels, Universal will try to capitalize on the current Tolkien popularity by offering games that closely adhere to the author’s original vision.
Surreal Software is developing The Fellowship of the Ring for the PlayStation 2 and is making use of a modified version of its Drakan 2 engine. In order for Surreal to properly develop a world that accurately portrays Middle-earth, Universal has brought in experts in the field of Tolkien lore, who have compiled copious amounts of information detailing all of the subtleties of the world, including the many different races, specific characters, and environments and the nuances of the language used in the novels. Nitpickers and Tolkien purists should find that the story told in this translation of the tale is incredibly accurate, with deviations from the story taken with creative license to produce a better game.
Taking this storehouse of information and molding it into a highly playable game is then left in Surreal’s hands, and it in turn has put together what is shaping up to be a fun action adventure game set in the rich fantasy world. You will find that The Fellowship of the Ring for the PlayStation 2 and PC will focus on aggressive gameplay with plenty of fast-paced combat, as well as many opportunities to explore.
Visually, Surreal Software’s version of The Fellowship of The Ring is shaping up nicely, with detailed textures and impressive lighting effects throughout each stage of the adventure. Each character model has been rendered with plenty of detail in its clothing and general appearance, and their attack animations are quite smooth as well. Enemies, such as the troublesome orcs and other nasties, look quite polished as well, with many of them swarming onscreen at once, without a hitch in the frame rate. The environments are quite expansive, and there are plenty of areas to explore, although at all times you have the option of making a beeline toward your intended destination. The level design we examined in the preview version of The Fellowship of the Ring was reminiscent of that employed in Dungeon Siege, in which there is a clear path to follow, with multiple offshoot paths that can be explored if you so desire. These side paths aren’t critical to the progression of the story, but they contain additional challenges and items to obtain, which can provide for a more fulfilling experience.
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