Backlog Quest II – Sidequest: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

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Dear Journal,

Today I journeyed to the land of Middle Earth. Although, it was not easy to get there. I had originally planned to play this on the Playstation 2, but after going through the fourth controller that did not work for some reason or another, I went ahead and found a copy for the Gamecube.

I have had this game on my backlog since 2004. I attempted to play it when I originally bought it from Blockbuster, but I always got stuck in Fangorn Forest. So, completing the game was somewhat bittersweet since I did not actually play the PS2 version I have had since my adolescence.

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While the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers may have had stunning graphics and a great movie-based title at the time it was created in 2003, The Two Towers has not aged well in any sense of the word.

Most of the game is cut scenes – long ones that cannot be skipped. In fact, of the three hours I sat in front of the game, it felt like two of those hours were watching cut scenes. While I do appreciate the movie, I do not want to sit through five minute cut scenes that I have already seen a dozen times while watching said movie. The problem is exacerbated from the fact the cut scenes occur almost every five to ten minutes, almost like clockwork. The cut scenes also have a somewhat comic effect as well since it switches from a standard clip from the movie to the game’s crafted version of events.

Additionally, The Two Towers has an outdated method of giving points. It works on a sort of hit-combo scale akin to many brawlers. So, for each orc I killed, a meter filled up and the higher the meter got, the better the kill was ranked, and for each hit I took, the kill was downgraded. The kills garner experience points that I am then able to spend on upgrades and more combat options.

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The Two Towers is less role-playing game and more Golden Axe hack-and-slash. One of the best parts of the game was the final battle at Helm’s Deep. The level is marvelously crafted, especially for a decade old game. Perhaps, this single moment is the lone redeeming quality for this antiquated title. The swarms of orc, Urk-hai and men in an embattled frenzy with rain and exploding projectiles are not much compared to today’s standards of games, but were nothing to scoff at in 2003.

The game gets extra points for the allowance of multiple characters to play through many of the levels. The short gameplay is somewhat redeemable from the fact I could play as Gimli, Legolas or Aragorn. Each character had his own skill set and features that helped make each time through a little different and not the same cookie-cutter sequence. That being said, Aragorn is without a doubt the best character to play with. He is stronger and more agile than the other two. The only downside is the fact Aragorn’s bow is not as quick as Legolas’.

For a game based on the second iteration of the trilogy, the title draws liberally from the first film. In fact the first third of the game is exclusively from the Fellowship of the Ring. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the parts drawn from are very exciting parts of the story like the trekking through the mines of Moria and the battle near Parth Galen where Boromir ultimately dies.

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The game does show some promise overall, but it really feels lacking. The lack of substantial playing time compounded with the fact most of the time is spent watching cut scenes from the movie does not help the game’s cause. However, it does have some behind-the-scenes features about the movie among the added features which are a surprise and genuine treat for LOTR fans.

 

Final Rating: 6/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: PS2/ Gamecube
Time to completion: 3 hours
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: $22 PS2/ $1.50 Gamecube
Current Price: $7 used from Amazon
Recommend Purchase Price: <$3
Why you should buy it: If you need a stroll down memory lane, or want behind-the-scenes footage of the movie, although I am pretty sure the same footage is available in the extended editions of the trilogy.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Game is pretty antiquated and shows; you can get the same feel from watching the movie in slightly less time.

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

Check out all the Backlog Quest II journal entries!

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About Steve Lesniewski

Steve lives in Chicago and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He has been fascinated with video games since his ninth birthday when he received a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. He loves following sports and cheers win or lose for the Bears, Bulls and the Fighting Illini, who include the 2012 men’s gymnastic national champs as well as the 2011 women’s volleyball national runner-up.