The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is yet another jaunt into the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkein. One would have thought that all of the adventures of Frodo, Aragorn and friends had been exhausted, but I can quite happily spend some more time in MiddleEarth, maybe for one more adventure before the inevitable slew of games that will arrive with the release of The Hobbit movie.
In what is a break from tradition, things are approached within Aragorn’s Quest from a different perspective, sort of. The game is actually set some years after the end of the trilogy with the player taking control of Frodo Gamgee, son of Samwise. Young Frodo begins by helping his father to prepare a celebration for the soon to be arriving King Elessar, aka Aragorn. During this time the player will learn the basics of the game and run some simple quests whilst learning how to fight with sword, shield and bow. This all serves as a fairly straight forward tutorial for the player.
But, in a stroke of genius, the majority of the action is played out through the tales of Samwise as he recounts the adventures of the heroes from the trilogy. It is at this point that the player takes control of Aragorn as they reenact some of his most famous adventures. But the fun doesn’t even stop there, with young Frodo being able to play with his friends as they play through imaginary adventures based around the stories.
What makes this game interesting is the choice of controlling options available on the PS3. Of course, the standard controller can be used and works perfectly well. But Aragorn’s Quest supports the Move motion controller. Those of you that are lucky enough to own both the Move controller and the navigation controller will be able to use them to control both the sword and shield. But what about if you have only shelled out for the Move controller? Well, Aragorn’s Quest has you covered there as well. The player holds the Move controller in one hand and the standard controller in the other.
But when it actually comes to the motion controls, the game will revolve around various thrusts and swipes of the the motion controller. This all works to a reasonable degree, but feels very loose and will have the player just waving frantically before too long. This could be in part due to the PS3 version being little more than a port of the Wii version.
Which is my major issue with the game. We have come to expect much more from our PS3 games and this version of Aragorn’s Quest simply doesn’t look very good. It feels as if the game has been rushed onto the PS3 and maintains the looks of the Wii version. On the PS3 it is disappointing. And the same thing has happened to the motion controls, not taking advantage of the enhanced precision of the PlayStation Move controller.
The visual style is somewhat cartoony, yet with a gritty edge. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t look especially bad, just not what we have come to expect on the PS3. Players will notice a lot of on-screen anomalies on the PS3 version which simply shouldn’t be there, making the games performance seem problematic.
But it is not all bad. There is a surprising amount of content in this game and players will find themselves entertained for quite a while with the battles and the various quests. there is even a local co-op mode that sees the second player taking on the role of Gandalf. In fact, the majority of the fun can be had through this co-op mode and the game has obviously been designed to favour this, as there are a number of instances where both players are needed.
Essentially Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest is aimed at the younger gamers out there who have maybe yet to experience the trilogy. The game does a good job of covering all of the major events from the books and the production value is high. They even had Sean Astin return to voice Samwise. But for an impressive experience, the player would be best picking up the Wii version which has better visuals and motion controls.
Porting the game onto the PS3 from the Wii has let this game down. The game is basically very solid, but the shoddy motion controls and unimpressive visuals leave the PS3 version far inferior to the Wii version. If you have the chance, pick up the Wii version and enjoy reliving the tales of Aragorn.