With major motion picture releases tend to come videogames that tie into these movies, among them being several different console versions of the first installment of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. What made these games unique is that instead of following the movie itself, they instead follow their own formula that in most instances sticks more closely to the book. Tie-in games tend to be of mixed quality, and the PlayStation 2 version is no exception, although it has some things going for it.
Fellowship features action-oriented gameplay, with the player at times receiving several objectives they must fulfill, such as dodging Ringwraiths in the Shire. Players control three different characters from the book: Aragorn, Gandalf, and Frodo, each with their own unique abilities. As they journey through the game’s various environs, they may occasionally find healing items that are of limited quantity, although in this player’s experience, they were more than enough, and the game itself isn’t terribly difficult as a result, although some bosses can kill the player easily. There’s also a glitch with the final boss that leads him to disappear, preventing players from beating the game, although in most instances the gameplay helps more than hurts.
Controls are okay, with easy controller configuration and clear objectives, although navigating through the various environs can be tedious at times given the lack of in-game maps and an indicator indicating where the player must go to fulfill the current objectives, and while cutscenes are skippable, they’re unfortunately unpausable. The save-anywhere feature, however, is as always a godsend, although the other parts of interaction could have been better.
The story naturally follow the events of The Fellowship of the Ring, though the videogame is actually a bit closer to the book than the movie version, what with some scenes missing from the movie such as a visit to Tom Bombadil’s place. The script does have some minor grammatical errors, and there are occasional deviations from the source material, although it’s still a decent driving factor and makes the game feel unique from the movie.
The voice acting is largely top-notch in spite of the absence of the celebrities that play the characters in the movie, the sound effects are decent, and the music is even epic and enjoyable at times, although there are some areas that rely a bit too much on ambience.
The graphics look good for the most part in spite of some blurry textures and slowdown at points, and that the characters look a little different than in the movie is a plus, adding to the game’s uniqueness.
Finally, the game is fairly short, taking around five hours to complete, with no sidequests, a linear structure, and little reason to replay. In the end, the PlayStation 2 version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is for the most part a half-decent experience with things going for it such as the gameplay and things going against it such as the lack of maps and direction at times and a glitch possibly preventing players from beating the title. It’s not the best movie tie-in title, although it’s certainly far from the worst, and deserves a look from both Tolkien and movie enthusiasts.
+Decent action/adventure gameplay.
+Plot follows book decently.
+Nice music and graphics.
-No in-game maps for areas.
-Glitches potentially preventing players from beating the game.
-Sound is a bit too ambient at times.
-Graphics are rusty at times.
-No replay value.
The Bottom Line:
An okay tie-in game.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Game Mechanics: 7/10
Lasting Appeal: 5/10
Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Playing Time: Less than 10 Hours