My FULL review after buying + completing the game for the xbox360 (single player)
I managed to find this game for £25 brand new from a local supermarket to me. Thats around £10 or so off full retail price.
I was only after reviews + my brief playtest using the "onlive" pc service going to pay £10, maybe £15 for it BUT as I was looking for a new game just prior to christmas and this was the only one I was interested in I decided I'd risk it.
Here's my review, good + bad having completed the full game on "normal" (default setting) using the human character in single player.
Story:- Overall not bad definately NOT the best this year at all and the dialogue "wheel" bits where you have very limited choices would have been better handled in cut scenes instead. However it did its job and was reasonsably well done for a fantasy action game.
Wheither it fits well into the LOTR universe is another point entirely though BUT as I'm NOT a huge fan I won't comment on that.
Better than I initially thought after I had unlocked the human's special skills, these added some much needed variety to the combat. The basic attacks were responsive but not that many different attack animations.
Then you had the strong attack used for critical attacks when a yellow icon was displayed over an enemy's head BUT I also found it usefull on certain creatures later on in the game.
The trolls for instance I liked to hit with a strong attack from a slight distance away and then use the roll to avoid any counter attacks they did. This tactic also worked on some of the other larger enemies.
I didn't really use the human's bow attacks apart from to get the "50" headshots achievement and sometimes to shoot at enemies who were in the distance.
The roll was my most used defensive tactic. The block was of limited value but was occassionally usefull.
However several characters you couldn't block at all.
I think some sort of counter button would have been better which perhaps could have also doubled as a guard break as well (when you press block + normal attack together).
I used the "evasion" skill, where the ranger dissappeared which I also found usefull if you need to heal your companions. Instead of positioning yourself to attack I used the time to "revive" at least one of my AI companions safely.
Wish I would have thought of doing that sooner would have saved me some frustration + restarts at certain points.
I also used this to attack some of the tougher enemies as I think it did the most damage for a single hit.
I also used the double attack where you could hit two opponents at once, though also used this on single opponents + the ranger strike attack, accessed with RT + Y on xbox controller.
I didn't use dual wielding hardly at all or skills based around it. I also didn't really use shields very often either. I mostly used a two handed sword.
Overall I found the combat for what it was fast, responsive and reasonsably fun, not enough variety even when just using the two handed sword attacks but not as dull/repeatitive as I feared.
You could have had attacks from different stances, at different ranges, more variety depending on where the opponent is and what direction you are facing in relation to him BUT it did work well on a basic level.
I didn't like the following...
Fighting more than one undead sorcerer when you faced the undead opponents. I mean the enemy that used magic and used the flying rocks it had spinning around it to attack you at times.
Fighting one of these was fine but more than one felt repeatitive and not in a good way.
You also had the end of that section boss who was larger and attacked via a possessed human + undead enemies.
This I actually thought was a reasonsably decent boss fight but would have made a better part of the game with just one of those undead sorcerer things prior to it.
I also didn't like how some of the smaller enemies didn't really react even to strong attacks, you hit them and just took it and attacked you. Some the undead warriors who wore the armour during this section for instance.
I can understand why the biggest enemies like trolls didn't react apart from some blood spraying BUT smaller more human sized enemy's should have reacted and been more staggered especially by a "strong" attack.
I think my favourite enemies were the orcs, goblins and trolls.
The spider's in mirkwood were an interesting change of pace but too repeatitive, they would have been better IMHO to have been just in the boss fight where you rescued the wizard. Instead I would have had orcs/goblins or something else in the woods personally.
The fight against the stone troll/giant was the worst boss fight as just hitting his legs seemed very dull IMHO and then his arms once he was "down".
I think the trolls were as big as any enemy should have been as you could still fight them well and the killing of them when you sometimes climbed them and thrust a sword through their head's was the most satisfying boss type kill IMHO.
Overall though I had more fun with this game than I expected too. I had around 600 gamer score after my first play through.
I have since gone back to get one or two achievements I didn't have on a "herioc" play through which I unlocked after completing normal.
I didn't do any side quests and personally found repairing the armour/weapons a bit tedious. For me this game would have been better as a straight action game with no need to do this but I am not a big RPG guy.
I am more of an action orientated gamer.
Bugs + glitches..
I started playing this game on december 23rd in UK. I installed the game to my xbox hard drive and then got an update when I loaded the game up.
I only encountered two..
On my normal play through during the dwarf mine levels. One of my AI companions got stuck on a higher ledge.
The female elf followed me into battle but the dwarf stayed in a bad location attempting to use his crossbow.
This made the following section alot tougher as I only had one AI back-up for a while.
However the dwarf did join us again when I made it to the next section where you have to press the interact button to take down the barrier's this game have where you have to gather your party at.
On my heroic play through...
A armoured orc when my team was fighting with the two male elves you encounter fairly early in the game. He just wouldn't die I was unleashing normal attacks, critical attacks (with yellow icon displayed) + the special attacks.
He took thousands of damage points but no death.
I restarted the game from the last check point and it was fine though and completed that section without issue on next play through.
Overall a fairly good game, some of the reviews especially the really bad ones were rather harsh IMHO.
I'd give it a solid 7 out of 10 personally. I wouldn't argue highly with anyone who gives it an 8 but even without any bugs or glitches don't think it is good enough for 9's or 10's.
Simply put there were definately better games released this year more worthy of those types of scores. However like the rest of this review this is my OPINION.
However a fairly decent effort SB guys and nowhere near as bad as some reviews made it out to be.
Last edited by gamer1535; 12-28-2011 at 06:01 AM.