Lord of the Rings fans were given a taste last year of one of the best movie-to-videogame transitions in a long time. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers demonstrated pure brilliance within its core and portrayed the series in a light that even J.R.R. Tolkien would have enjoyed. The atmosphere and overall mood was converted with ease and players were able to journey through the game with excitement and thrilling adventure. EA has returned with its second installment in their action series, although the movie is the completion to Tolkienís trilogy. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is shaping up to be an excellent transition from The Two Towers and has added numerous features that will benefit the entire experience.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is based on New Line Cinemaís adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkienís novel of the same name and will follow the basic plotline described throughout. The fate of Middle-earth is in the hands of each of your characters, as EA has increased the number of playable characters from last year. Players will be able to defend the walls of Minas Tirith as Gandalf, choose from Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli to raise the Army of the Dead, and finally deliver the ring to Mount Doom as Frodo and Sam. The environments nicely replicate those of the upcoming movie and exhibit the ambiance famous to the films. Also, there is a new multiplayer co-op mode included in Return of the King, as players can travel through the game with a friend. Different options are made available in this format, as each player is only allowed one life, opposed to infinite lives in the single player mode. However, different health flasks are accessible throughout your quest. Also, your partner at any point is able to give you half of his life if necessary, and vice-versa. These elements add a certain level of strategy and allow players to see exactly how friendly their teammate truly is.
The surrounding areas are completely interactive and are not just simply for show. Players can utilize the environments for various long range and short attacks, with the option to jump and swing from ropes, fire catapults, and kick boulders. There are twelve locations in all, including the Paths of the Dead, Minas Tirith, the Pelennor Fields, the Black Gate, and the Crack of Doom. The musical score has is composed by Academy Award-winner Howard Shore and offers a wide variety of pieces to capture the mood of the situation. A final bonus to this already captivating title is the inclusion of exclusive movie footage from the upcoming The Return of the King movie.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is scheduled for release November 2003. PSX Extreme will keep you updated with any new information, so stay tuned for further coverage.
6/10/2003 Matthew Stensrud