The Lord Of The Rings: Aragorn’s Quest
Developer: TT Fusion
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Players: One
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It’s fair to say that a few years ago the world went a bit Tolkien crazy with Peter Jackson’s blockbusting and surprisingly decent film adaptations of the famous novels. Whilst the fans wait for the upcoming Hobbit film (now with Jackson confirmed for the director’s chair) developers TT Fusion have brought us their gaming take on one of the more popular characters with Aragorn’s Quest on the PSP.

Narrated by Sean Astin, who played hobbit Samwise Gangee in the films, the game is split up into 17 chapters all recounting highlights from Aragorn’s exploits in the trilogy. With such a rich world and cast of memorable characters it’s a great shame and a missed opportunity that the developers decided to only focus on the one character. It would’ve been nice to switch at key points within the story.

Playing as the ‘soon to be King’, your main focus in the game is combat. For the most part you’ll be expected to clear out an area of enemies before the game will let you move onto the next section of the map. Annoyingly you can be standing around for a few seconds before the game registers you have done this. Light and heavy attacks are there as standard but as you progress you can unlock more moves and attacks. As well as his trusty sword, Aragorn has a bow and arrow for long range attacks. Both weapons can be upgraded or replaced with better variants collected throughout the levels.

Underlying everything is a light RPG system where kills and completing tasks will level up your character. Levelling up dishes out ability points where you can buy special attacks (with names such as Isildur’s Vengeance) which can then be mapped to the D-pad for quick access during combat. These attacks all use the morale meter, which can be replenished again by completing tasks or picking up morale in chests dotted around the environments (wouldn’t this be great in the real world?)

Despite this implied layer of depth, the game is frustratingly simple. Tapping the same button to swing your sword is all you’ll be doing for pretty much the entire game. This is button bashing at its worst and when you compare it to the fluid fighting in GoW for example, it fails to stand up. There are times when you’ll have to block or unleash a more powerful attack but for the most part you’ll scrape through with ease. Variety is something that this game just simply doesn’t have.

Visually the character models look okay but the animation is decidedly stilted and the environments you’ll go through are rather bland and lacking in detail. The developers haven’t even bothered to put in any of the other characters to fight alongside you – a major part of the LOTR experience in my opinion. All you get is a speech bubble at the bottom of the screen with the odd bit of dialogue telling you to look out for incoming enemies or traps from them. It may have been too much for the PSP but some kind of ad-hoc co-op mode would’ve been a great idea. I would happily play through the experience again with a friend if only the option were there.

There is the obligatory arena mode packed into the game with additional maps unlocked as you progress through the main story. You’ll fight various waves of goblins, trolls and the like but the combat is so simplistic I can’t see many dabbling with it.

LOTR: Aragorn’s Quest is a missed opportunity to bring the much-loved trilogy to the PSP. The ingredients are there for a decent hack-and-slash RPG but the repetition and lack of variety cripple the licence. Not one of the PSP’s best additions.

Best Bits

- The music is faithful to the films.
- If you’re a fan of the fiction there might be something to sustain interest.
- Sean Astin is a welcome narrator.
Worst Bits

- Repetitive button-bashing gameplay.
- Bland graphics, poor animation and general lack of polish.
- Unimaginative in pretty much every way.

by: Pedro

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