The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest
|The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest|
|Developer||Headstrong Games (Wii),|
TT Fusion (other platforms)
|Publisher||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Platform||Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii|
|Release date||NA: September 14 2010|
AU: October 6 2010
EU: October 29 2010
|Genre||Third-person, "hack and slash", action adventure|
|Modes||Single-player, two-player co-operative|
ESRB: E10+/T (PS3)
The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest is a third-person, action adventure video game in which the player fights through Middle-earth as Aragorn. The game was developed for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 by TT Fusion, and for the Wii by Headstrong Games. It was released on 14 September, 2010.
Aragorn's Quest is the first officially-licensed game to be released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, who took over the license from Electronic Arts to publish The Lord of the Rings-related games.
Set in the early Fourth Age, 15 years after the destruction of the One Ring and downfall of Sauron, Samwise Gamgee waits for the return of Aragorn to the Shire for a great party. As the Mayor, Sam is in charge of arranging the festivities for King Elessar's arrival; in the mean-time, he regales his children with tales of Aragorn's exploits. (Cf. Aragorn and Arwen meeting Sam at Brandywine Bridge in Fo.A. 15.)
The player controls Frodo Gamgee in the hub world of the Shire, where he can talk to people and perform simple tasks. When sitting down with his father, the player can control Aragorn in a fairy tale-like setting. Wii players can also control Gandalf as a second character.
Aragorn will wield a sword, a shield, a bow and spears, and can mount a horse.
The controls on the Wii have been compared with those of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, with the analogue-stick being using to control the on-screen character, with swiping of the Wii Remote up, down or to the side makes Aragorn perform similar on-screen actions; the D-pad switches weapon (to bow-and-arrow and flaming torch, for example), and the Z-button locks on, and C looks around. The controls for the PlayStation 3 - which only works with PlayStation Move - is much the same as those for the Wii.
The Nintendo DS version of the game uses rudimentary touch-screen controls (such as tracing a rune in order to open doors).
At any point (on the Wii and PlayStation 3), a second player can drop into the game as Gandalf, and work co-operatively in order to complete the tasks. Gandalf wields his staff and can utilise powerful magic to defeat enemies, such as hitting enemies with lightning and shooting firebolts, as well as the ability to heal, and use his sword; Gandalf's magic is recharged with orbs from dead enemies.
When in the Shire, a second player can also play as Elanor (dressed as Gandalf) to help Frodo Gamgee complete the mini-quests in Hobbiton; the second player has the same magical abilities as Gandalf in the Aragorn quests.
- Bilbo Baggins
- Frodo Baggins
- Merry Brandybuck
- Merry Gardner
- Pippin Gardner
- Pippin Took
- Rose Cotton
- Samwise Gamgee
Cast members are billed by name only; no roles are specified in the game's credits.
|Sean Astin||Samwise Gamgee|
|Deborah Baker, Jr.||Unspecified|
|Kieron Elliott||Pippin Took|
|Elan Garfias||Pippin Gamgee|
|Jim Piddock||Elrond/Bilbo Baggins|
Archive sounds from The Lord of the Rings (film series) were used for many of the main characters. It is unclear whether Chris Edgerly provided additional lines for Aragorn as he did in previous games. But Crispin Freeman did replace Orlando Bloom as Legolas
Since the first announcement in May 2009, Warner Bros. have periodically released trailers (and one interview) demonstrating various aspects of the gameplay. All video links are to YouTube, and times are in minutes:
|Debut Trailer||1:05||c. 29 May 2009||Displays Sam's story-telling and Aragorn's fighting prowess|
|Trailer #2||1:17||14 December 2009||Gameplay and, for the first time, two-player co-operative|
|Overland Trailer||5:12||18 June 2010||Lengthy gameplay sequences|
|Vignette||1:57||10 August 2010||Action sequences of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields|
|Co-op Trailer||1:24||c. 26 August 2010||Co-op gameplay and tutorial, with controls|
|Behind the Scenes||2:09||10 September 2010||Sean Astin and John Rhys-Davies explain the game and their characters|
|Launch Trailer||1:26||14 September 2010||Generic clips of gameplay and enemies (with an Oliphaunt and the Balrog)|
History and development
In May 2009, it was announced that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment had taken over from Electronic Arts and entered into partnership with the Saul Zaentz Company and New Line Cinema (itself a subsidiary of Warner Bros.) to produce video games based on The Lord of the Rings books and films. The game's title was initially leaked at Electronic Entertainment Expo (more commonly known as "E3"), before being confirmed a week later by Warner Bros., "accessible gameplay set in a friendly, colorful rendition of Middle-Earth. Players assume the role of Strider and embark on his greatest quests from The Lord of the Rings trilogy." The press release promised a more family-friendly experience in which the player relives Aragorn's adventures, as retold by Mayor Samwise Gamgee, available on the Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable in the Fall 2009. Kotaku were luke-warm to the announcement of "a kids' game".
The Lord of the Rings franchise is world renowned for its captivating adventures, and we are creating new experiences in the game space designed to appeal to a wide array of consumer tastes from core to casual... The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest is the first of many different types of games we will be developing with the film and literary rights. It is also the first game allowing kids and their families to interact in their favorite locations and stories from The Lord of the Rings with accessible gameplay.
—Martin Tremblay, President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
In August 2009, Warner Bros. announced that Aragorn's Quest had been delayed until Spring 2010, but no reason was given for the delay. Come Spring 2010, however, no release date had been announced; on 10 March 2010 Warner Bros. informed Kotaku that Aragorn's Quest would be ported to the PlayStation 3, supporting PlayStation Move. Kotaku speculated that this why the game was being delayed, again, until Fall 2010. 
|Nintendo Power||55% |
|Nintendo World Report||5.0 |
|Official Nintendo Magazine||58% |
The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest has received generally mixed reviews, with reviewers praising the sound quality and accessibility, but ultimately believing that the easiness of the game and the visuals hold it back from achieving the sort of sword-fighting The Lord of the Rings game that many would like to see. There is a general feeling amongst reviewers that Aragorn's Quest was an opportunity missed to make a truly great The Lord of the Rings action adventure hack and slash game.
1UP compared the controls of Aragorn's Quest to Nintendo's Twilight Princess, praising the varied gameplay and the game's accessibility, but complaining that the game's side-quests were too repetitive, the Wii controls were too simplistic and "a bit iffy", with the experience of the two-player co-op mode being ruined by lag. Similarly, GameTrailers said "The bottom line is that combat is not fun, and enemies are typically a cakewalk." and that the Wii controls were a nuisance, as was the lack of camera control; they also thought that the voice acting was "awkward" (although the soundtrack "fits right in") and that the game looks "drab".
the greatest strength of Aragorn's Quest comes not from its diverting but unspectacular combat, but the way it so accurately captures the atmosphere of the locations in the films and the resulting pleasure that comes from adventuring in these memorable Middle-earth locales.
However, GameSpot, in a more positive review, said, "The environments impress with their variety, attention to detail, and the way they so faithfully reflect the visual style of the films." but that Aragorn's Quest lacks challenge, with the Wii controls being "imprecise"; they wish that more attention-to-detail had been paid to enemies. IGN thought the Wii version was far superior to the PlayStation 3 version of the game, but still suggested this was a game for just J.R.R. Tolkien aficionados as only they would be able to overlook the game's flaws; IGN also complained about the mixed visual style, but loved reliving moments from the films.
CNET describes the storytelling as "charming"; they also found the motion-controls on the Wii "frustrating" but felt it didn't matter because defeating the "very easy" enemies was still "satisfying". CNET also said the ending of the game was an "anti-climax", but praised the environments: "The environments impress with their variety, attention to detail, and the way they so faithfully reflect the visual style of the films. Finally, Kotaku loved the game's film-based adventure, "attractive" visuals, variety of characters and film-based soundtrack, but absolutely hated the easiness of the game, claiming that one person could play the two-player co-op mode.
In Short: reviewers enjoyed the graphical style and musical score, faithfully recreating the feel and atmosphere of the films (although some thought the mixed style was confused, and some thought the attention-to-detail was inconsistent), but felt that the Wii controls were frustratingly inaccurate and that enemies were far too easy. Though aimed primarily at families and younger gamers, reviewers were keen to point out that anyone could enjoy it, but it would appeal primarily film-fans who would be able to over-look the game's faults.
- Images from The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, for an extensive gallery of screenshots
- The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, another game from Warner Bros., released in 2011
- The Lord of the Rings: Middle-Earth Defense, a tower-defence game for the iPhone and iPod Touch
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