A modest, entertaining melee game with the major characters from the LOTR series. Not for hardcore RPG players, rather this game is ideal for young fans of the movie series.
You begin as Berethor, a Gondorian exile, and your party slowly accumulates characters until you get to the standard set of six: Gondorian, Elf, Dwarf, Dunedain Ranger, and two Rohirrim - male and female.
Along the way you fight alongside major characters starting with Gandalf. There is an "evil mode" that I'm not going to keep the game to bother trying.
The game discs are heavy with 109 remixed segments from the movie series. In fact, these cut scenes are so frequent at the beginning that it annoys the veteran gamer who already read Tolkein 30 years ago.
Once you're in Helm's Deep, about 30% in, the melees and treasures become much more interesting and challenging. It was there that my party was first annihilated. Play continues like this through Osgiliath - about 75% into the game, where your party is split into two groups and wage battle more or less simultaneously.
After clearing out Minas Tirith, you're diverted to Pellenor Fields. Normally as your party leader moves through a maze or tunnel, the action freezes and the screen dissolves to load the next segment. That's fine when you can run for 30 to 60 seconds, but when the screen dissolves EVERY FIVE SECONDS, it drives you crazy.
Sadly, you have to run around a lot in Pellenor Fields to attract encounters with the enemies you need to overcome. Fighting a set batch of enemies at each stage is the heart of this game. There are no genuine side quests or any compelling reason whatsoever to backtrack. Your level 65 character needs just one attack per kill to wipe out any enemies from the first third of the game. Snooze.
The final battle - contrary to my high hopes - was not at the Black Gate. It's a letdown to fans of the movie series. Nobody ever climbs to the top of the Barad-Dur. Honestly.
This game makes LOTR 2 the video game look boring. Because this was pretty much a behind-the-scenes game. I mean, it's cool how your playing as Berethor who's trying to find Boromir, and then meets Idrial who has to get back to Lorien to warn Galadriel. If you like the movies, then your gonna love this!! Like I said, you must buy/rent this game if you've liked the games and loved the movies! You won't be disappointed.