The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

June 15, 2004

[floatleft][/floatleft]I took my sweet time getting around to playing The Two Towers as you can pick up Return of the King for about $26, but I had fun playing it and since it’s a bargain for $20 I figured I’d let you know about it.

As you can probably guess, the game closely follows the story of the 2nd movie in the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. As the game begins you are allowed to choose which character you would like to play as: Aragorn, Legolas, or Gimli. After playing with all three, I much preferred Aragorn’s attack moves and he seemed to be a more balanced fighter. Legolas had faster arrow attacks, but he seemed to be a little weak on the melee attacks and Gimli felt very sluggish in all aspects.

Regardless of which character you choose your journey will begin as Isildur. You will see a cut scene showing the bearers of the rings and you will have to defend yourself. This mission sets up the story of the movie trilogy which many of you are already familiar with. I used this intro mission to learn the control scheme and figure out which attacks worked best together and basically to familiarize myself with the game. Being that you are a Level 10 Isildur, you shouldn’t have too many problems with this level. Upon completion you will see Isildur strike down Sauron with a single blow. The story then jumps to the scene where you must play as Strider/Aragorn and defend Frodo from the Ring Wraiths. The Ring Wraiths are easy enough to defeat and allow you to really start the game.

[floatright][/floatright]As you progress through the slew of levels you will build experience points. The XP system is quite simple and makes it easy to build up some hefty points very fast. As you kill enemies you are given a rating on the kill. The more enemies you kill without being hit the higher your rating goes. You eventually reach the level of Perfect which virtually kills most enemies with one hit and allows you to rack up serious XP. After a short while, your meter is reset back to the lowest level of fair. Upon completion of a level, your kills are counted up for each level and XP is rewarded accordingly. Each time you level up based on XP, you have a new set of abilities you are allowed to purchase using the XP Points you earned. Some abilities are actual combo moves, some are upgrades to the strength of your weapon, and others increase your life meter for future battles. You are also graded on your efficiency of the level overall. You will be given a score of Fair, Good, Excellent, or Perfect based on the number of kills at each level.

The main gripe I have with TTT is that you are unable to go back and replay levels that you have already completed with the same character. You can replay it with the additional 2 characters if you like, but you unless you nail Perfect on each level the first try, you are stuck with an “incomplete” game and that drove me nuts. Apparently they fixed this for Return of the King.

The Two Towers is graphically a very well done game. I think that EA did a very good job on the modeling of the characters and the Orcs. The mere sight of an Uruk-hai made me a little nervous since they are pretty bad to the bone enemies. The level design was also well done and created a very nice environment to slay some Orcs. I also have to give some attention to the way they transitioned from cut scenes to gameplay. It was very cool and created a nice epic mood for the gamer to get into the game instead of just merely playing it.

[floatleft][/floatleft]One little bonus that seems to be a common addition to games recently is the addition of DVD style bonus features. In the Two Towers you unlock bonus content from the movie as you complete levels with each of the 3 characters. The truly hardcore LotR fan will no doubt play through with all 3 characters to unlock all of the content as well as the hidden playable character at the end of the game. I didn’t particularly like playing with Legolas or Gimli so I will pass on those things for now.

In a nutshell, I really enjoyed LotR: The Two Towers. Two Towers is a really nice RPG-ish action game that puts you in the action of the epic trilogy. Spot on graphics and wonderful gameplay really make for an enjoyable experience. I am a huge fan of the Tolkien series and I am definitely going to have to pick up Return of the King after this. At $20 and being a Player’s Choice title, you have no reason not to add this one to your library.

Score: 2/5

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