|System: PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Headstrong Games / TT Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 14, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The controls for Aragorn's Quest is where the game will either shine or fail. Depending on whether you have Playstation Move, you'll get to experience motion control combat. Unfortunately, this review can only speak to the quality of the controls with a standard controller. Moving around the world is fairly simple and straightforward. However, the player will quickly come to hate the camera that is mostly locked behind the character. Running toward the camera eventually changes its perspective, but if you're trying to quickly fight enemies that approach from behind, you'll be mostly swinging your sword blind.
The game does include ranged combat as well, which would probably handle better using motion controls. When using a standard controller, on the other hand, the player has to hold down L1 while using the right analog stick to move the crosshair that appears. When in ranged combat mode, the camera slowly moves along while you attempt to aim, making it especially difficult. Luckily, there is a lock-on feature that makes it so you only have to be close to your target for your shot to hit.
While the game doesn't feature any online multiplayer, it does come with a 2-player cooperative option where a friend can join in as Gandalf. And, in a clever bit of design, if you're playing around in The Shire as Frodo Gamgee, your friend joins in as another hobbit dressed in a gray wizard hat. While you can complete the game with only one person, many of the secrets and unlocks can only be had if someone is playing with you. For example, there are some chests and pots that come with a magical barrier that, obviously, cannot be broken except by a certain wizard. There aren't any missions or quests that the player will miss out on if they play solo, but nearly any game is made more fun if you're playing with a friend, and Aragorn's Quest is no different.
Aragorn's Quest is decent romp through the familiar events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but some obvious flaws and design issues make it difficult to slap the must buy on it. The game's violence is toned down to the lowest level, making it meet the requirements for the "T" rating, and it is obvious that it is designed for a younger audience. Therefore, if you're a fan who loves the cinematic fantasy action, you might be a bit disappointed in what this game is offering. The blood, grit, and desperation that was often captured by other games is completely missing here--this definitely feels like story time.
If you're a PS3 owner, be prepared for a game that doesn't utilize the console's power to its fullest. It may be an interesting test of the Playstation Move's capability, but if you want to play the game the way it was designed and intended, your best bet is the Wii version. Aragorn's Quest isn't the best Lord of the Rings game to hit the market, but it certainly isn't the worst either.
CCC Freelance Writer