The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar review
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadow of Angmar
The MMO market is dominated by one game at the moment and there is no prize for guessing which game (It's World of Warcraft for those who haven't gathered) and there haven't been many games that have come close to knocking it off top spot. However, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadow of Angmar (or more commonly known as LotRO) might just have the potential to knock it off top spot. Or at least, give it a run for its money. The chance to battle your way through Middle Earth is a very promising and exciting claim for any gamer. Especially fans of Tolkein.
What strikes you most about Lord of the Rings Online is how beautiful the world is. The graphics are something that PC gamers haven't seen before in such a large scale game, especially one that is online. The famous place you know from the book and films have been re-created and they look breathtaking. Rivendell looks quite spectacular and, with the very good frame rate, looks nearly as good afar. Other places such as Weathertop and Bree really do look fascinating and will bring a tear to the eyes of many a Lord of the Rings fans. Sadly though, it comes as a price. And a very high price at that. Due to the fact it has such amazing graphics only the higher end of computers can take it at full so many gamers will find themselves lowering the graphic settings and won't be able to experience what makes The Lord of the Rings online such a beautiful game unless they buy themselves a new PC which is a shame.
Explore the huge and unpredictable world of Middle Earth.
Onto the nitty gritty. How does it play? The controls are pretty much identical to World of Warcraft and can be mapped in anyway you see fit. Characters are able to run, walk and perform nice little emotes if you so wish. There are four available races to choose from, Humans, Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits. Sadly, you can only play as the good side which could make a few not want to buy the game as the chance to be an Orc or a Uruk-Kai is very appealing. However, there is a little surprise for such players which we'll be explained later on in the review. There are a total of seven classes available with certain ones being available to certain races. The customization levels for your character are very impressive with the opportunity to change hair styles, hair and eye colour and skin tone. Once you've finished your character you jump into the starting area when you are given a quest to complete. Once that's completed, you're let loose and able to explore the huge and fascinating world of Middle Earth.
The quests that are scattered throughout Middle Earth are entertaining and interesting, keeping you hooked on it – a lot more so than its rivals such as World of Warcraft. You have your bog standard quests such as kill x amount of bears or fetch me x amount of food yet it seems to be a lot more interesting due to the scenery. Turbine (the developers) has also implemented a main storyline which you can choose to follow. This way you'll definitely encounter some famous faces such as Gandalf, the Ringwraiths and even Frodo himself. The main storyline quests are designed to be done with other players and generally have some rather hard bosses to beat but with a little patience and skill they can be no trouble. The main storyline is spilt into Books and then into Chapters. Each Chapter is a quest. Generally a book is made up of 9 – 15 chapters on average and as Turbine release new books on an almost monthly basis, you won't be short of things to do. Plus, the rewards at the end of each book seem to encourage more players to get up and do the main storyline.
Help the Hobbits protect their beloved Shire from the evil forces of Sauron.
On the subject of questing, doing certain quests and killing a certain amount of beats will earn you titles. For example, killing 100 spiders will earn you the title Spider Foe which is added to the end of your name. It's a pleasant addition and certainly gives the game a fresh and fun appeal.
Lord of the Rings Online is full of surprises and a nice little feature Turbine has included is an in-game voice chat. Ever present in FPS's but not so much in MMO's. Though it isn't used much out and about, it is used frequently during instances and raids, especially for clans. It's an interesting feature that helps keep your computer running fast by not having to using some other piece of software to communicate with your clan members by voice.
The community is another pleasing thing, with the vast majority being mature and not running around like headless chickens. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what you'll find and makes your experience a lot more enjoyable.
Fight alongside your friends while admiring the beautiful scenery of fire and evil.
Regrettably, we have to talk money now and yes, you've guessed it, there are monthly fees and they are a little on the pricey side with it costing around £10 a month. However, Turbine has decided to allow players to buy a lifetime membership card but that'll set you back an extortionate price, £100 to be exact. However, there are many out there that will emphasize that however you decide to pay, it is most definitely worth it.
Overall, Lord of the Rings Online is a must for any fan though if you're looking for a solid, well built and busy community you may have to look at World of Warcraft and it's price plan may deter you. But if you can look past that then Lord of the Rings Online certainly has what it takes to knock World of Warcraft of that top spot.
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