The ultimate online
game has arrived on the PC that reaches into the far corners of
Eriador in Middle-earth. With the forces of Mordor mobilizing, the
Nazgül hunt for the One Ring and the land of Middle-earth is once
again in peril. Based on the legendary work of J.R.R. Tolkein,
gamers are transformed into a variety of races from men to hobbits
in an attempt to drive back the forces of Sauron.
Needless to say, an
online game based on The Lord of the Rings is definitely a game of
epic proportions and with so many other stable online games at the
moment, the title could not afford to pull any punches and
fortunately for developers Turbine Entertainment, they have
faithfully recreated the world of Middle-earth with extraordinary
graphics and gameplay to match.
Harvesting gameplay to support
player created items. Players
can harvest a variety of raw
materials that can be used to
create more powerful weapons and
armors, and even food or
decorative items. High end
crafters can create the most
interesting items in the game.
Players can select from a
variety of roles, and then
eventually specializations, for
their character. Within those
templates, players have choice
of the direction of the
development of their character.
Players can re-specialize if
they decide to change direction
at a later date.
Player owned housing. Players
can earn the right to purchase
race-specific dwellings. They
can then decorate their dwelling
and use it for socialization.
Players can form Fellowships of
up to 9 characters for
short-term adventuring. Players
can also join a Kinship of
characters, marry another
character or even adopt them as
Fierce combat against the
denizens of Middle-earth. The
combat system has an unique
blend of gameplay elements, and
gives room for the players skill
without overwhelming the player
or falling prey to the latency
issues of the Internet.
The Lord of the
Rings Shadows of Angmar is beautifully presented and features an
amazing introduction which really draws you into this amazing online
universe and the in-depth history of J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle-earth.
Before engaging in the world, players will experience the story
behind each of the races which also assists in your ultimate
decision of which race your character will hail from. Although
strongly immersed in Tolkein lore, the developers have ensured to
contain enough myth from the story to allow players to compete
various aspects of the mythology and enough side quests to keep you
immersed in this online world for days upon days.
The basic premise
behind Shadows of Angmar is your classic role-playing game where the
player must embark in a variety of missions in order to gain
experience points which can then be used to upgrade your characters.
The online aspect allows the gamer in interact with hundreds and
hundreds of others online to accompany them on adventures through
Middle-earth in an attempt to thwart the forces of Mordor.
As you explore the
lands of Middle-earth, your characters will also come across
treasure from items, equipment and of course money. The quests
require you to roam about a good deal, which makes for some
occasionally leisurely travel but gives exploration types plenty to
see. Aside from the story quests, they mostly boil down to the usual
Players have also
the ability to form fellowships with up to nine other characters in
order to assist with those difficult quests. For those preferring to
slug it alone, there are hundreds of solo missions that you can also
engage in. However, the fellowships are definitely worth
experiencing and really assist in complimenting your characters. It
should also be noted that players can even purchase their own homes
which they can even decorate and invite other players around.
Another feature in
this new MOOG is the conjunction system which allows your characters
to unleash devastating combinations on the enemy. This can also be
linked to other players which really increases the gameplay of this
title, especially in those difficult areas. You can also earn titles
be completing various tasks in the game which is more about bragging
to other characters of how apt your character is in certain areas.
Still, credit given where credit deserved! With this said, titles
also assist in forming your characters by changing the boundaries of
your traditional class traits.
I'm guessing some
readers may be thinking about player killing, however Shadows of
Angar is strictly a no-killing zone when considered with other
players. However, once a character reaches level 40, players can
enter the Ettenmoors which opens player versus player battles.
Although not up to that stage yet, it's definitely something to look
forward to for those wish to challenge others. Another interesting
feature is that once hero character hits level 10, you can create a
secondary monster avatar that's already at the maximum level of 50.
The control system
of Shadows of Angar is vaguely reminiscent of World of Warcraft,
ensuring that those players have no problem in hopefully converting
to The Lord of the Rings Online. However, for those who have not
experienced the interface of World of Warcraft, the developers have
ensured that everything is logically set out with the ability of
hotkeys for when the excitement heats up. The keyboard and mouse
work hand-in-hand that allow you to not only interact with the
gaming environment but also other players and of course the enemy.
of Angmar is a visual treat on the PC and is easily one of the most
impressive looking online games, more specifically MMOG titles to
date that will run on a variety of different machines without any
hassles. As soon as you walk into the online world of Middle-earth,
you know you are in for a treat with its detailed gaming
environments and extremely realistic characters that movie with a
human-like or sometimes orc-like grace.
As with the
graphics, the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings - Shadows of
Angmar is a majestic orchestral treat and match that with a plethora
of sound effects you have a very decent sounding game on epic
proportions. Voice-overs are top notch as well, though most
non-player characters aren't all that chatty anyway.
reviewing an online game is a difficult task as this review only
just briefly reports on how amazing this game is. The Lord of the
Rings - Shadows of Angmar is definitely the most impressive looking
online RPG with a sturdy gaming engine that really challenges the
current contenders such as the World of Warcraft. Definitely a game
to checkout if you're into the online scene or considering entering
this amazing world of virtually endless gameplay.