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Posted by drew10 on Nov 30, 2010
Review: Aragorn’s Quest – Warner Bros – PSP

Review: Aragorn’s Quest – Warner Bros – PSP

The Lord Of The Rings has been a curious thing in gaming. Firstly there has yet to be any really decent games based around the subject. Sure there has been a few decent attempts but as yet none have really captured the true feeling of the films or the original text. Enter Aragorn’s Quest, the latest game to attempt to break that sequence.

Released over five formats this version is for the PSP and hopes to bring the feeling of the movies to the small screen.

Aragorn’s Quest is a 3rd Person action adventure that has a hack n’ slash style gameplay very reminiscent of classics such as Gauntlet and Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom.

You play the title character Aragorn through familiar scenarios from the three films. The story is narrated by way of Samwise Gamgee retelling the tale to his children. This is done through some FMV sequences and is quite a clever way to retell a story that we are all so familiar with whilst keeping it relatively fresh.

Despite all of the scenes in the film featuring the party of Frodo, Gandalf and the others, Aragorn’s Quest has only the title character on-screen. The rest of the party are merely represented by subtitles and an image of who is speaking to help the narrative.

Gameplay is simplistic at best with the square button performing quick attacks, triangle heavy attacks, x is block and circle will use Aragorn’s bow. There are lots of special moves that can be purchased as you level-up your abilities and these are accessed via the R2 button. To be honest the games hack n’ slash gameplay feels dated and even the combos add little. The use of the special moves might be required for the larger enemies such as trolls but in truth these still do not amount to much. In fact everything in the game feels a little too dumbed down. This goes too far when you find out that even jumping over a river is automatic.

That said the gameplay mechanic, whilst simple, still works well and blocking and parrying an enemies attack can be very rewarding, for a time anyway.

Developers Tt Fusion is an arm of Travelers Tales the team that brought us the brilliant Lego games. The influence of the Lego titles is in evidence but lacking any of the charm or humour that made them so successful. But oh how it makes us wish for a Lego Lord Of The Rings Game. In fact TT Games have kind of hinted they are thinking about it.

Anyway back to Aragorn. Graphically the game feels a little underpowered for a modern PSP game with bland backgrounds. However the character animation and modelling is decent enough.

The sound features snippets of music instantly recognisable from the movies and a decent if not entirely convincing impression of Sam himself. The effects though are pretty poor and the sound of Aragorn’s feet makes him sound like he has a constant limp.

Earlier I mentioned Gauntlet and Aragorn’s Quest could have benefited greatly by adding multi-player in much the same way Gauntlet had. Alas there is no option for link-up play in Aragorn’s Quest and the land of Middle Earth can feel like a very lonely place indeed.

Aragorn’s Quest isn’t a bad game it just isn’t a great one either. It falls into the category of pick up and put down. Yes you might like to play it from time-to-time but it is in no way going to keep you enthralled from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong there are some rather cool moments buried in it but moving between them takes lots of repeated button bashing.

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