Alright, so, I talk a lot about video games on this blog, which I am not ashamed of in the slightest, so here we go.
A while back, I was browsing the used game store in my dinky college town looking for cheap entertainment. Since the PS2 is now considered a fossil, the games are now disgustingly affordable, the good ones going for $15 and the bad ones going for $2. A while ago, my ‘mates and I discovered that we love horrible video games.
Our first horrible video game was the EA Harry Potter game based on the fourth movie. It was short, confusing, and disgustingly padded. 😛 Since that, as I said, was super short, we were on the lookout for something new. And I found this game: Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. At the time, all I saw was a $2 pricetag and another EA stamp of shame and I was sold.
So, we started it off, originally trying it with 2 people, the max for both the game and my number of controllers, and we quickly found out three things:
- The game was not about any of the Lord of the Rings characters that actually matter
- Only one person could actually wander around, despite co-op mode being turned on
- The game was built from the pit of hell that is random encounters and turn-based combat
Despite that, we were not deterred.
Much. We continued on, starting off with an elf and a warrior wandering around a forest picking up stuff from chests and getting interrupted ever thirty seconds by things that generally didn’t like us.
Full disclosure, my friends and I really suck at video games. We get lost easily, we die a lot, and we don’t generally use strategy.
Not that these flaws ever seem to deter us from playing them, but it does give our friend Gavin a lot of joy in tormenting us when “he plays it better his first go”
because he is a big jerkface because he knows how turn based combat works better.
Everything was going just fine and dandy for us for a while. We met some new guys, a questionably hetero pair of a ranger and a dwarf who joined us in our mission of trying to visit every place in the movies without actually connecting to the actual plot except in a few awkward scenes.
Yes, the idea of the game is that we, a group of six (eventually) ragtag weirdos helped the main characters of the movies somehow win they day and may or may not die at the end (it’s uncomfortably unclear, but I’ll get to that later). Oh, while also having a bit of plot and “drama” of our own, most importantly focused on the warrior and a ridiculously skewed love triangle that involves the elf and a warrior woman we found in Rohan. And there’s something about the Nazgul having created the warrior through . . . . magic? Something something fight the monsters beat the guys profit. That’s about the only substance in the hastily thrown together plot.
The point is, the game is bad. The mechanics are bad, the plot is bad, and the characters are bad. The only thing that allows it to be called Lord of the Rings is because it’s set in Middle Earth and attempts to mooch off the plot like a lamprey. After the first few hours, we kind of abandoned it for a little while, until my friend Meggie took up the mantle of gamer for a while, while the rest of us sat around and shouted suggestions and encouragements. We didn’t know how to strategically level up our guys, and so then got stuck in Helm’s Deep where we kept getting killed by Uruk-hai bitches that kept staggering us and killing us literally before we could do anything. So we (meaning mostly me) had to level grind for two days before being able to kill them. That was a load of bollocks, and was almost more mind numbing than level grinding in Pokemon
which apparently I’m one of the few who do that, so . . . ., although it did give rise to two of the many jokes that have since become standard in our household:
Meggie: Hey Kat, let’s go find some Wild Men!
(meaning one of the types of enemies that are present in Rohan)
Me: *gets attacked by a Wild Man* AH! He Wild Pierced me!
(meaning one of their attacks)
Childish? Yes. Hilarious? YES!
Anyway, over the course of most of the year, we’ve sunk over 50 hours into this game, so recently, today actually, we finished it, and now we’re sitting around going “Now what?” Especially with the shitty ending we got, which consisted of a cut scene featuring awkward screen shots from the movies that really had nothing to do with our characters and no ending animation for us! What is this?! We didn’t get any resolution! We didn’t find out what happened to our characters! Technically all that happens is that we defeat Sauron’s Eye (don’t ask) and then we cut to the scene from the movie where the tower crumbles. So, there is a chance that everyone just died. And, in case I haven’t made it clear by now, I’m not into those kinds of ambiguous endings, especially not from a game that has no right to feel important, despite all the hours we’ve sunk into it!
In all honesty, thought, it was a fun experience. It was one of those weird bonding things that manages to suck everyone in with its horribleness and its frustrating, ball-grating combat and I hope that we can find another game as engrossing as it was. I have one in mind, but we’ll have to see, won’t we?