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Will you buy an Xbox One X on November 7?


Game Profile
Vivendi Games
GENRE: Action
September 24, 2002
Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

More in this Series
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on September 09, 2002

First Impressions: The Lord of the Rings finally makes its way into the gaming world, annoying little hobbits and all.

So you're a Lord of the Rings junkie. You've read the books an uncountable amount of times, you waited in line to see the movie the first day of release, you bought the recently released DVD, and you secretly play out scenes from the movie when no one is around (c'mon, you know you do it). So, what's left for you to do? Well, it's been a long time coming, but the Lord of the Rings videogames are just on the horizon, and if you own an Xbox you have much to be excited about. As the title is being developed by the Seattle based company, WXP, and will be a stand-alone title when compared to the Lord of the Rings games in development for the other systems. What's this mean? It means the Xbox will feature it's own unique take on the Lord of the Rings, and by the looks of things thus far, fans won't be disappointed.

Interestingly, the title is not being based after the blockbuster movie, but is instead being modeled directly from the words of Tolkien himself, in other words, his groundbreaking novels (thankfully we won't see a miniature Elijah Wood running around as Frodo Baggins). As you'd expect, the game will be a third-person action/adventure title that takes you through all the events found in the first book of Tolkein's trilogy. Though, only three of the nine members of the fellowship will be playable ? Frodo, the Hobbit and bearer of the One Ring, the powerful Wizard, Gandalf, and Aragon the ranger, protector of the ring. Seeing as these are the three main characters in the book, it makes a lot of sense. However, fans of the series will probably protest the fact that you won't be able to play as the super cool archer/elf, Legolas, or the dwarf, Gimli. But trying to do too much could possibly hurt the game in the end, and it looks like WXP took note of this and will only allow the big dogs to be playable. Although, the game will follow very closely to the book (even more so than the movie, which had to cut some scenes because of length), so expect to see every character make an appearance throughout your adventure.

Just as each of the three character's personalities differ, so does their use in the game. All three present a unique take on gameplay; Gandalf being the magic user, Aragon the combat specialist, and Frodo as the master of stealth. When playing as Aragon you'll be able to use ranged weapons, such as the bow and arrow, but you specialize in the use of your deadly sword, the Anduril. Which is capable of mopping up most baddies without much of a problem. Gandalf, of course, will be able to cast a huge variety of magic spells. Including the ability to put weaker foes to sleep, shoot fireballs or cast a chain lightening affect, and heal himself if needed. Gandalf isn't just a wicked magic user though, if the time comes he can hold is own in combat with the use of his Glamdrig. Last and certainly not least is Frodo, who is possibly the most interesting of the playable characters. While crafty with a short sword, Frodo puts a lot of emphasis on his stealthy abilities to stay alive. Not only is he small and hard to see, but he also possesses the ability to sneak around quietly, becoming virtually undetectable. Topping it all off is his ability to equip the One Ring; making a fiery circle around the screen and turning Frodo invisible. While this technique will be extremely useful, it can't be indulged upon too much, as it not only slowly corrupts the young hobbit, but it also alerts the feared Ringwraiths of your position, not good.

The story in videogame version of The Fellowship of the Ring will play out exactly like it does in the book through the use of cutscenes that use the in-game graphics and voice acting that seems to be pulled off very well. Your adventure will take you through all the settings found in the book, from the hobbit's Shire, to Rivendell, to the edges of Mortar, all of which have been faithfully recreated with lush, highly detailed environments. The characters and different races in the game, including hobbits, elves, orcs, etc? have also been given much attention, and look absolutely fabulous. The game also comes complete with some great looking spell effects. So visually the game is coming along very well, and seems to be up to the Xbox's standards. But most importantly, WXP is apparently doing the world of Middle-Earth justice, something the fans will most certainly appreciate.

Final Thoughts
With the release of the incredible Lord of the Rings movies, the reprinting of the books, and now the soon to be released videogames, it seems J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novels are only now reaching the pinnacle of their popularity. And the good news for gamers is that the games seem to be coming along very well, and are sure to please die-hard and casual fans alike, especially this Xbox only created title. Promising gameplay and that authentic Middle-Earth look and feel should make this one incredible Lord of the Rings inspired title. Look for it later this month.

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