Kicking Ass and Taking Names: A Hobbits Tale


By : Dan Nockels

The comparison between the movie and the video game versions of lord of the rings is in many ways unfair. It is a bit like comparing playing little league baseball to watching the big leagues knock home runs out of the park albeit with significantly more bloodshed on both counts. At my particular point in the game, low level, pigs serve as quite enough of a challenge, hordes of Uruk-Hai might be slightly beyond a hobbit fresh off the create character screen.


Although if Merry and Pippin are any indication I should be able to kill them if I can find out how to pick up a stone and throw it. Which brings me to an important difference between the movie and the game, balance and transparency. Being a protagonist is not the equivalent of god mode, your character is in balance with the tasks you are meant to complete. This makes the game more difficult and consistent than it seemed in the movie, as well as fun for more than a short while. For example there is no super duper crit that would allow me to kill Sauron in by chopping off his fingers, nor is there any chance of me taking three giant black death arrows to the chest and still fighting ala Boromir. Your health, energy and damage are transparent and knowable. Unlike in real life and the movie I can see how many arrows I can take to the face before I die (or retreat, in this pansy case). Unfortunately that means I can’t pull an Aragorn and maim and slaughter my way through whole armies without breaking a sweat (yet!).


 Another dissimilarity is the first person perspective to the game I see events happening in the world of Tolken through the eyes of my hobbit or at least the disembodied eye that follows him around.  In the movie the audience bounced around following Bilbo, Gandalf or Frodo sometimes independently and sometimes together. In the game we can meet these characters, but we will still only see through the eyes of our character.


Pacing is another difference I don’t remember Bilbo needing to kill so many dogs and pigs before leaving in The Hobbit. The game takes its time we get to see and struggle though whatever the environment throws at us while in the movie for the sake of time and entertainment value the long trek up a mountain is summed up in about a minute.


It is however important to note the differences in the way the story is told aside both media are visual and focus on actions of the main characters impart their tale to the audience. This Visual kinetic feel permeates both the video game and movie making the differences in the details while the wide strokes are very similar. That said my favorite element of the game so far is the opportunity to play as a chicken. Seriously, playing as a fowl was way too cool, they should have included it in the movie.


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