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Review of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

by Henry Edward Hardy

Aficionados of Professor J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings may enjoy the online multi-player role-playing game Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (LOTRO) from Turbine, Inc. and Midway Games. Based on the best-selling novel The Fellowship of the Ring and succeeding volumes by the late Tolkien, LOTRO traces the quest to evade the minions of the evil Witch-king of Angmar and aid the Fellowship of the Ring to destroy the evil One Ring.

Players may choose to be a rotund but clever Hobbit, dour-handed Dwarf, lithe Elf or a male or female Man (human). The world of Middle-Earth is lovingly rendered from the Maxfield Parrish-like gazebos and towers of the High Elves to the stinking fens of Midgewater and the red rock hills of Rhudaur. The medieval town of Bree is strikingly detailed with its ancient monumental arches, aged courses of stonework and Tudor-style housing and inns.

The LOTRO client program is small and efficient, using about 50 MB of memory. Server operation is generally stable, and the client crashes infrequently compared with other online games.

In LOTRO, characters can’t die. Instead, they lose their morale and must withdraw from combat to regroup. Morale is primarily maintained and restored by the minstrel and captain classes. Crafts professions available include mining, farming, and smithing. One can cultivate special varieties of “pipeweed” for spectacular smoke-ring-blowing effects. Musical instruments such as lute and clarinet can be improvised with in-game.

Tolkien’s book, The Fellowship of the Ring, emphasizes the majesty, ancientry and heart-felt longing for the past inspired by the abandoned ruins encountered by the protagonists. In LOTRO, such areas are oft overrun with competing factions of adventurers, quarreling over mining rights or the initiative to kill a favored foe.

The opportunity to “meet” representations of beloved characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn the Ranger and the mysterious leaping, poetry-spouting Tom Bombadil is not to be missed. The great underlying story, innovative game systems, stable game platform and stupendous, awe-inspiring graphics make Lord of the Rings Online a superior Internet role-playing game.

A version of this review was previously published in Current and Electric Current.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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9 May, 2007 - Posted by | dwarf, elf, fantasy, Fellowship of the Ring, games, hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings Online, LOTRO, review, role-playing, Tolkien

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