EA's UK Press Launch for the ROTK Game
EA’s ‘Return of the King’ Game

Irascian writes: Here’s a short report on tonight’s UK press launch of the EA console game “Return of the King”

EA used the prestigious Science Museum as the venue for the official launch of their “Return of the King” game, scheduled to be launched for PS/2, Xbox, Nintendo and PC on November 14th in the UK, just four days ahead of the release of the extended edition DVD of TTT.

Press representatives were treated to seemingly never-ending wine, beer and canapés, free pass to the LOTR exhibition and a generous goody bag that comprised a CD press kit, TTT DVD. TTT Howard Shore soundtrack album, paperback copy of “The Lord of the Rings” novel and an “exclusive limited edition” Smeagol poster. It’s a hard life attending events like this, but I guess someone has to do it! The game itself was available to play on a number of two-player consoles scattered around the venue and showcasing the various platforms the game will be releases on: Nintendo, PS/2 and X Box.

EA's UK Press Launch for the ROTK Game
An amazing rendering of Sean Astin as Sam

Company spokespeople were clearly fans of the game and book and movie, as one eager assistant explained that although the first movie hadn’t been made available as a game by EA on the Xbox, another company had released a version of Fellowship that he’d bought and enjoyed as a different type of game to that which EA offered with their TTT and ROTK console games. Refreshingly, the company admitted that they realised many sales went to hard-core fans, rather than real games players, who are apparently keen to get their hands on the advance footage and “behind the scenes” material included in the game. Not that the game itself is a poor show – in fact the graphics and motion are so impressive I found myself wishing the guys responsible for the game had been allowed to do that “Legolas digital double jumping off the cave troll” scene from the first movie. Unlike the game for TTT which was a single-player offering, the new game is a multi-player offering where you can play a friend, although, as we soon discovered, it helps if you work together rather than trying to head off in different directions! The game starts with Gandalf’s appearance at Helm’s Deep and moves on, if you’re clever and skilful enough, to the destruction of the One Ring itself in the cracks of Mount Doom. Admittedly neither myself (playing Boromir) nor my partner (playing Aragorn) would pretend to be, in any shape or form, games players, and indeed various orcs soon put paid to our efforts to destroy them, but I think the fact that we both admitted we’d be buying the game when released on November 14th says all you need to know about what’s on offer here. The graphics are amazing, and if you can persuade a chum to join you the game is great fun even if working out what all those buttons do can get a bit confusing at times.

Comparing the different versions it became clear that if you have access to an X-Box this is the platform to go for. The game is basically the same on all platforms, but on the PS/2 the graphics just didn’t appear quite so sharp or fluid, presumably because the platform is somewhat older.

Many of the products launched “Under license from New Line” have been of somewhat dubious quality. EA’s “Return of the King” certainly isn’t one of them and if it’s state-of-the-art gaming you want, with the added benefit of “behind the scenes” footage and exclusive commentary from the original movie cast, this is one movie tie-in product that should be high on your wish list. I’ve already placed my advance order!