Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Game Info
PS2, GC, Xbox
Electronic Arts
Stormfront Studios
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Violence
The Good

• Fast, yet deep battle system
• Game looks and sounds just like the movie
• Lots to unlock

The Bad

• Not that long
• Cutscene models look weak


Based on the film adaptations of Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, this action title allows players to use Aragorn, Legolas or Gimli to battle their way through certain portions of the story. For those unfamiliar with the movies, or their literary source material, the story is about Frodo the Hobbit, who must travel into the dark Mordor to destroy an all-powerful ring before it's master reclaims it. Along with Frodo is a band of men, including Aragorn the ranger and Gandalf the wizard.

The game is broken up into missions, where each mission is set at a stage in the story. Often, the mission's goals are straightforward and usually involve just getting to the end of the stage alive. Certain missions end with boss battles that can test the player's mastery of the battle system's techniques. During combat, you will gain experience for dispatching enemies - the faster and more efficient you are, the more experience you gain. At the end of the mission, you can spend the experience towards new combination attacks or powerups of that character's stats.

Combat is fast and furious. Players have a fierce and a fast attack, along with an effective and even necessary block move. You can also kick enemies and even jump a step back. Holding the L1 button brings up a distance attack weapon, be it a bow or throwing hatchets. The controls are crisp and responsive, which is a necessity as combat is often one huge adrenalin-filled melee where the player will have to fight quickly. Instead of just hammering attack buttons over and over, players will need to use a variety of techniques and combos to survive each mission. If not, you may be spending a lot of time dying.

Visually, the game looks really sharp. Levels have lots of details packed in that really aid in drawing the player into the game. Detailed textures and some really nice lighting effects show off levels that feel like they're pulled straight from the movies. Animations from the main characters to even the lowliest minion are smooth and fairly realistic. Every character has a fine level of depth and detail. During certain sequences, you'll be amazed by how many people are on screen at once with very little in the way of slowdown. Both water and particle effects are well done. Cutscenes are a mixture of movie footage (including scenes from the upcoming The Two Towers film), highly-detailed CG-sequences used to transition from film to game and the occasional in-game cutscene. Unfortunately, the sequences done with the in-game models look rather clunky and are the only part of the game that really feels weak in the graphics department.

As with most EA games, the audio portion of The Two Towers is finely done. The music is powerful and works in favor of the game's concept. Voice acting is pulled straight from the films, so not only is it accurate, but it doesn't suffer from a poorly written script or weakly delivered lines (which can happen when you take professional actors from the set and put them into a studio).

While the combat is well done and the game both looks and feels like the electronic representation of the movie, I can't help but feel the game is shackled by the fact that it is a movie tie-in. The game is short - roughly around five hours long. Even though there are three difficulty levels and you can play through with three different people, the fact that there is very little exploration and most levels are simple in structure and goal will leave most gamers wanting a lot more.

With a lot of media and extras to unlock, fans of the movies and Tolkien in general should give this one a play through. The action is quality and the story is told, even if in small portions and with very little in the way of depth.

- - Kinderfeld

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