I had a chance to sit down with the second installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy today, and I must say that it the surprise of the show so far for me. I was able to play part of the final mission as Aragon, battling enemies left and right. Caught in the middle of a huge battle, it was amazing to see so many detailed characters on screen at once. The pace of the battles around me were hectic to say the least. The graphics were stunning even though the game is only partially completed, with smooth textures and very impressive effects, such as lighting an enemy on fire with your arrow and watching him burn to a crisp. In addition, the game seems to adapt the first movie's dark and dour cinematic approach, and the result is a convincingly eerie setting that is a great adaptation of the movie.
There are several different ways to attack an enemy, such as the simple attack with the X button, which you can tap repeatedly to execute combos. You can also use the triangle button to charge up a more powerful attack, at which point your sword glows bright blue, and this attack can easily cut most enemies in half, but it takes long enough that there is a tradeoff for this extra power, because while charging your weapon you are completely vulnerable. In addition to your normal weapon of choice, each of the three main characters has a secondary or sub weapon that can be used, which in Aragon's case was a bow and arrow. Attacking with the bow took some getting used to, but once I got the somewhat cumbersome methods down, I was lighting enemies up with my fire arrow like I was born with a bow in my hands.
In addition to the fast paced and hectic gameplay and the impressive visuals, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers promises to deliver in other ways as well. By using only the movie script for its adaptation to the console, players will be immersed in a world that very closely follows the upcoming movies, not only in story, but also in sound, as the original score from Two Towers will be included in the game. At this time, the game is only partially completed, but look for this game in late November, shortly before the next installment of the Lord of the Rings hit the big screen.
5/24/2002 Ryan Hartmann