A book to play
Frodo Baggins is a Hobbit, a small man who inhabits the Shire, a rural region of Middle-earth. A heavy burden weighs on him: Frodo was handed down by his uncle Bilbo a mysterious magic ring, found by the old adventurer in a dark cave during one of his adventures. The Ring is none other than the infamous One Ring, belonging to a threat that Middle-earth and its inhabitants still remember with horror: Sauron, the Dark Lord of the land of Mordor. This diabolical Enemy had forged nineteen Rings of Power thousands of years earlier, and had distributed them among the elven, dwarf, and human rulers who ruled the peoples of Middle-earth, to be seduced and possessed by dark lusts for power. Sauron, in fact, had forged a twentieth ring, the Only one, able to command all the others. In short, he had subdued the free peoples and was preparing to subdue every living thing, but in the end he was defeated and the Ring was lost. But Sauron has never completely disappeared, for years he has waited for the reappearance of the Ring, in order to be able to wage a new war on free peoples and above all on Men, corrupted by the growing desire for power. The only solution is therefore to destroy the trinket, but it will be necessary to bring it back to Mordor to throw it back into the mouth of the volcanic Mount Doom, where it was forged. Frodo has the arduous mission, but he will not be alone: with him will be the hobbits Pippin, Merry and Sam; the mighty magician Gandalf; the valiant Aragorn and Boromir; the slender elf Legolas and the grumpy dwarf Gimli. Together, the nine wayfarers will be the Fellowship of the Ring ... The Fellowship of the Ring can still be misleading: unlike Le Due Torri, this game is not directly inspired by the film adaptation, but rather by the novel. And therefore, great absentees at the cinema will make their (unexpected or predictable, of course) appearance on your television screens: the likeable Tom Bombadil will help Frodo and his companions in the dangerous Tumulilande; Glorfindel will take Frodo to Rivendell, escaping the Black Knights of Sauron and so on ... In short, a great way to relive the beautiful, complex and compelling storyline that made The Lord of the Rings the Bible of modern fantasy ...
A game to watch
Through the constant presence of cut-scenes in real-time or full motion video, the player will witness the unfolding of the events mentioned a little above, but The Fellowship of the Ring is also a video game, and here we are talking about how to plays. Basically, the entire adventure is divided into a series of levels that will be possible to overcome by completing certain objectives: for example, in the very first stage we will have to recover the deed of ownership of the Baggins house and take it to Lobelia Sackville, the greedy relative. of the "poor" Bilbo (another sequence that will be unpublished to the connoisseurs of the film but well known to readers). Often, therefore, we will find ourselves exploding the various environments in search of objects, but sometimes our only goal will be to survive the attacks of the Dark Lord's servants until the end of the pattern we are following: here, then, that Vivendi has considered appropriate to put ourselves in the shoes of two other characters much more "adventurous", namely Aragorn and Gandalf. Thus, despite lacking Frodo's jumping skills, the two Men have great warfare experience on their side: Aragorn wields bow and sword with dexterity and precision, while Gandalf can rely on both his sword and a whole set of arcane defense and attack spells. It goes without saying that the most interesting interactive sequences are those that see the two humans as protagonists: Frodo's missions tend to be rather repetitive and particularly simple, despite being based more on exploration; while those in which he impersonates Gandalf and Aragorn have more bite, although they are characterized by a certain monotony: slicing enemies without stopping in the long run tired ... and certain problems could make it extremely frustrating.
A sight to forget
The Fellowship of the Ring deceives twice: as already mentioned, it is based more on the book than on the film, and then it seems technically excellent. It seems. Graphically, there isn't much to complain about at first glance. Solid, well animated and discreetly textured polygonal models; vast and detailed settings, beautifully structured and very varied; surprising details such as the care taken in the realization of the ponds and the light effects ... In short, it would seem a real orgy for the eyes. But in fact this is not the case. The defects of La Compagnia dell'Anello, in fact, are caught while playing, and they are really many. To begin with, collisions are implemented very badly: the inability to get out of the paths set by programmers is shown by absurd slips on invisible walls, and this can provoke strong deja-vue of hundreds of similar products, up to being forgiven; but the same error in the code has a decisive impact on the most frequent aspect of the gameplay: combat. There is no lock-on system, so it is virtually impossible to aim and land accurate winning hits during melee with two or more enemies, not before turning our heroes' barbaric attacks into Mr. Bean-worthy gaffes: seeing Aragorn trying to kick an enemy to throw him to the ground, and misses him, becoming the target of the other opponents who do not hesitate to knock him down and beat him is not a good show ... And not only that: the game provides the possibility of kill a downed enemy with a single shot, skewered with the push of a button. It goes without saying that this deadly attack soon becomes a suicidal technique, since the code does not immediately and accurately reveal the collision between our alter-ego and the enemy, leaving us exposed to any ambushes ... And not only. There was talk of excellent light effects of amazing realization of water: well, as far as the former are concerned, it is incredible to note that a shred of code for dynamic shadows has not been implemented in such a game; while as far as water is concerned ... well, it's just a well-curated texture, but it has no physical reaction with everything that interacts with it: it's just ghost water.
These are just some examples, but they give a pretty good idea: The Fellowship of the Ring surprises at first sight, it is really admired, but in the end it is nothing more than an illusion, since there is little behind it. As if that were not enough, for some unknown reason it was decided not to use the splendid music of Howard Shore, which turns into a shabby remix of his best compositions; nor have the dialogues of the film been adapted, as happened in The Two Towers, ergo we are faced with dialogues that are just discreetly dubbed and full of pronunciation or intercalation errors. Sin.
With bitterness, one can only define The Fellowship of the Ring as a red herring. Fans of the novel will not be able to give up a game that faithfully traces the paper stages of the Company's journey (only the presence of Tom Bombadil is an incentive to buy for a true fan of the Tolkenian saga), as well as all those who have appreciated the films will find in The Fellowship of the Ring a more than discreet game through which to relive the fate of Frodo and his companions ... But nevertheless, it is undeniable that the product itself suffers from above all technical problems that undermine its overall quality, making it superfluous for those who do not want to get nervous about the umpteenth "game over" caused by a failed shot due to a mischievous code, rather than for their own inability. There are also few extras present, leaving aside that the game obviously does not have a real conclusion ... A missed opportunity, fans will be able to come to terms with the heavy programming gaps, but all the others would do well to orient themselves towards Le Due Torri.
- The plot is that of the book
- Good variety of levels and situations
- It looks like a technical masterpiece ...
- ... but it isn't
- Impossible to fight without lock-ons and decent collisions
- Too frustrating and unbalanced
The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of the celebrated literary masterpiece The Lord of the Rings, written by the distinguished JRR Tolkien over half a century ago. And so far, nothing new: after all, the work has been experiencing a golden period lately, thanks to the success of the impressive film adaptation curated by Peter Jackson, which together with a cast of great actors has succeeded in what many they believed it was impossible, that is, to give life to more than one thousand three hundred pages in "only" about ten hours.
Obviously, the film has been divided into three parts, as many as those of the book: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King. And so, while we are about to see the second part in Spain as well, as with any classic commercial phenomenon, the fantasy saga par excellence has also seen the production of a series of video games for almost all platforms. From this point of view, what happened on PlayStation2 is original: first Le Due Torri was launched, an excellent quality slash'em-up; then came the prequel, The Fellowship of the Ring, which is placed on a different playful level, perhaps the most appropriate to Tolken's work: the adventure. But will this new product be able to satisfy both casual users and fans of the saga? The answer, unfortunately, is neither a yes nor a no. But let's go in order.
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