I liked Star Wars Battlefront and I liked Star Wars Battlefront II. I was really looking forwards to seeing what Free Radical could have done with III. The reason I mention these is of course EA jumped on the bandwagon, producing with the aid of Pandemic, the studio who managed to make Mercenaries 2 miss the mark for an open world 3rd person game that could have really revolutionised the genre.
On paper it seems awesome, fight key battles from Middle Earth in a massive online or offline warzone... killing the servants of Sauron and playing as key characters from the hugely popular fantasy saga, on paper.
In practise it's pretty much Star Wars Battlefront with different skins and some new classes.
You can play two stories, the War of the Ring where you get to fight the aforementioned key battles in Middle Earth's history. Then when you complete that you're able to go off and play the more interesting, Rise of Sauron where you play as evil.
Fans of Star Wars Battlefront are going to find out that the game is pretty similar, you can play as the key classes, Warrior, Scout, Wizard, Archer and so on. Each one of them has a bunch of abilities that you can use, special attack meters that you can build up and devastating powers that you can bring against your enemies - typical run of the mill stuff we're used to from these kinds of games.
It's not rubbish; it's just not really very different from Star Wars. You capture some points on the map, do a few objectives here and there and move on from one map to the next in a short and mostly lack-lustre campaign mode. You get to protect Frodo at one point (I pretty much wanted to let him die) and you can ride around being self righteous slaying Sauron's minions.
If you die you can respawn as the same class, or pick a new one. Each class has varied strengths and weaknesses, the balance seems pretty standard. You can spawn in as a hero depending on how things are setup, heroes are badass and have various special powers derived from ideas in the films. Aragon's army of the dead and so on.
It looks decent enough, it's not exactly the best graphics on the face of the planet but you can tell that the characters are who they are. Aragorn looks like Aragorn and Legolas looks like a girl, which is spot on for those who have ever read DM of the Rings. Reference too obscure for you, tough, use google.
Yeah, they don't move like retarded stick men and I have never been one for technical explanations. There seems to be a couple of times where they might get stuck in an animation or the combat seems a little slow.
There are some there, the usual things explode, bodies fly, swords connect yadda yadda.
The AI is dumb as ten rocks in a bag of more rocks, basically, typical AI for this kind of game. Don't rely on it and play it coop with a friend, you'll be happier that way.
Good and solid, no problem with the sound, a sword sounds like a sword and the cries of battle are all around you.
Nice music, it should be since EA and Pandemic have access to the various musical libraries of the filmmakers.
Voice and script
Its cheesy fantasy, what do you expect from Lord of the Rings. Some re-used bits from the movies and Hugo Weaving doing the narration, Agent Elrond Smith. Good stuff.
A bunch of game modes for online play round out the package, it has online or split screen cooperative gaming for you and a friend. There are various types on offer from Control style games where you have to take a certain number of points, King of the Hill affairs where you need to hold a specified location, out and out skirmish/deathmatch where it's every team or man for themselves. The same rules apply from the single player game and there were a few lag drops and some frame rate issues when I played it.
All in all a pretty standard package.