The Lord of the Rings games are well known for their dark settings, deep plots, and epic moments – much like their written counterparts. However, Lord of the Rings: Aragon’s Quest for the Nintendo Wii tries to break from the mold. Does it achieve its goal?
EA’s first foray into Middle Earth is worked around a new engine with a new graphic style. This entry in the Lord of the Ring games emphasizes fantasy trekking over hectic action. You take the role of Aragon (a second player can hop in as Gandalf) in a variety of levels based around his adventures throughout the three books. The entire game is actually told through the lips of Sam to a young, curious hobbit.
Graphically, the game seems to be trying to achieve a mix of traditional Lord of the Ring scenery, Legend of Zelda traits, and a little bit of Fable. It’s easy on the eyes and should be less daunting than the bleak looks of the GC/PS2/Xbox games of the past. Enemies and locales look detailed enough to impress as well as stylized enough to leave an impression. The understanding of the things in the other language will be easy when there will be english to elvish translator available with the person. The actions will be taken as per the understanding.
The game plays like a hack amp; slash with adventure elements, as well as some puzzle solving. As you navigate the hub world as your little hobbit, you’ll come to learn of Aragon’s exploits and be allowed to play through them. A horde of enemies awaits around every corner and it’s up to you to save the world! Orcs, flying dragons, spell casters- even a giant spider or two await.
The game controls pretty tightly and is plenty of fun- albeit a bit shallow at times. Attacks always seem to register and Aragon’s moveset is pretty satisfying as a whole. The only real problem is that it gets repetitive if you play for long sessions. It’s the sort of game you’re better off beating one level at a time with your buddy as Gandalf- unless you want to get burned out, that is. Honestly, it reminds me a great deal of the Lego Co-op games.
Difficulty-wise, you’re looking at a decent challenge. The game rarely gets to a truly difficult level, though there are a few objectives that can be frustrating. It was obvious the developers didn’t want to stick gamers with something unbeatable. The game is especially easy-going if you have a second Wiimote lying around for a friend. It’s a real treat to see another game joining the recent surge in drop-in, drop-out co-op gameplay.
Fans of the books, movies, and previous games shouldn’t be disappointed when they pick up Aragon’s sword and step into his boots. It’s a solid game that deserves at the very least, a rental.