The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest - hands on

Your memory isn’t what it once was after you pass the age of, ooh, 17. We can’t even remember what we had for breakfast this morning (or, for that matter, what ‘breakfast’ actually is) let alone stuff that happened years ago. So please forgive an elderly Samwise Gamgee if the way he re-tells the story of King Aragorn to his children is a bit, ahem, ‘factually challenged’.

As we can see from some of the screens of this latest Lord of the Rings game, Samwise seems to have regressed into a child-like state in his old age, recalling a brighter, rounder Middle-earth, where blood and guts stay firmly inside their hosts. Either that, or he doesn’t want to relay the full, sordid truth of his exploits to his kiddies. However you look at it, it’s a more inventive way of dealing with these non-canonical offshoots than the usual ‘It never happened!!!!! LOL!’ approach…

Aragorn’s Quest might be a game for ‘da kidz’, but that doesn’t automatically make it bad, especially considering how happy it is to riff off some of Nintendo’s finest. The controls remind us of Twilight Princess (but then our memories aren’t what they… what were we saying?). As in Zelda, you can thrust your shield into some leery goblin’s face by yanking on the Nunchuk, while swishing the remote horizontally and vertically will have a predictable effect on Aragorn’s sword.

If you get a bit bored of dispatching orcs, wargs and fuzzlewarts (or whatever) in this way, you can indulge in a spot of either lancing or archery, the latter of which, again, controls in a similar vein to Twilight Princess. Super Mario Galaxy might seem like a less obvious influence here, but its presence can be felt in multiplayer, where the second player takes control of an unseen Gandalf who helps out the main player by sizzling enemies with fireballs and the like.

This is turning out to be a real surprise, and we’ll keep tabs on… wait, we write for a website? When did that happen? Is it bedtime?

Jul 20, 2009