Tag Archives: lord of the rings

Gaming Update: Army of Two: T4D | LOTR: War in the North | Just Cause 2 Games | My Reviews 05 JUN 2013

I have been a little on the slow side when it comes to giving my thoughts on the various games I’ve played over the last couple of months, so I’m taking the shortcut with a quick round up of the last three titles that I tackled on my trusty old XBOX 360.

Army of Two: The 40th Day (2010)

Army of Two: The 40th Day is a third-person shooter video game developed by EA Montreal as the successor to the original Army of Two release. As with the last game, the focus is on two-player cooperative play and employs a pretty well thought out cover and distraction system. It features Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem as the two protagonists (who also fronted the original game), combatant partners who, with the assistance of their handler Alice Murray, must fight to survive and prevail over invading forces that have engulfed Shanghai, China in a devastating terrorist attack.

I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. First off though, if you’re playing it with an AI partner then you’re missing the whole point. Army of Two is made to play with a friend over XBOX Live and with Ryan in tow, the two of us blasted our way through a very satisfying and action-packed campaign that had a great deal of depth in terms of gameplay elements, the correct difficulty level, an intriguing story and just delivering on plain old explosive fun.

There are a variety of very customizable guns to select from, a lot of varied mission objectives, pretty decent if bloody graphics, an excellent musical score, and the addition of some silly ‘bro actions like high-fives, rock paper scissors, not to mention a lot of wisecracks and one-liners, makes for quite the addictive gameplay as you battle through horde after horde of enemy soldiers.

A very satisfying and enjoyable third person shooter to play, especially if you have a willing buddy to join you online!

army of two the 40th day screenshot

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_Two:_The_40th_Day

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (2011)

Another game that I picked up purely for the cooperative play, Lord of the Rings: War in the North is your run of the mill action RPG that sees you control one of three characters in a group tasked with taking out a dangerous enemy that is slowly conquering the North in Sauron’s name. The story cleverly intertwines with the original Lord of the Rings story and your paths will often cross with the more well known characters as you go on your quest business.

Each character is of a different class, Eradan being a human Ranger with stealth abilities, Farin a dwarf Champion with excellent melee abilities, and Andriel a Elven Loremaster who makes use of magic for her combat abilities. As you progress through the game and defeat enemies and complete sidequests you receive XP and ability points which you can then use to uprade your characteristics as well as build up a skill selection via the abilities tree.

The varied enemies that you face and the gorgeous landscapes makes for a very enjoyable journey and the game itself delivers a compelling storyline and some memorable battle sequences.

The cooperative aspect makes the gameplay particularly enjoyable and combining all of this with some great visuals and a really fantastic musical score does make for a very worthwhile game to pick up if you are a fan of action RPG – and even more so if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings fantasy realm!

I certainly enjoyed it and can easily recommend it.

lord of the rings war in the north screenshot

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings:_War_in_the_North

Just Cause 2 (2010)

I was a huge fan of the original Just Cause sandbox action game that hit the PlayStation 2 a couple of years ago and needless to say I was quite excited when I finally got around to picking up Just Cause 2. The story boils down to special operative Rico (who you play as) entering the tiny nation of Panay in order to track down a fugitive agent as well as cause some much needed chaos in order to shake up Panay’s new dictator regime which seems intent on breaking all ties with the United States.

Armed with your parachute, grappling hook and a variety of upgradeable weapons, you are let loose on a huge island nation that features just about every landscape imaginable, from barren deserts and snowy mountain tops, to big cities and tropical forest villages. As in the first game your primary trick is your grapple gun, which you can use to launch yourself into the air, jump from vehicle to vehicle, catch faraway enemies and pull them down, and scale insanely high structures. The acrobatic aspect of the gameplay is its biggest strongpoint, as you skydive out of helicopters, hook onto a plane and then drop off on top of a speedboad kind of thing. It’s an absolute adrenaline rush in other words.

There are hundreds of locations to discover and attempt to complete by finding collectable upgrades, assassinate arm colonels and destroy military property. Each time you cause a ruckus you alert the authorities and as you cause more and more chaos, the response gets heavier and heavier. The range of vehicles to hijack and make use of is astounding, and includes a full range of two wheelers, four wheelers, boats and aerial craft!

The story missions are particularly entertaining and combined with an engaging storyline there is very little not to enjoy about Just Cause 2. The voice acting is strong, the musical score sublime and the graphics particularly good, especially the gorgeous landscapes, weather effects and time of day sequences you’ll experience during the course of the game.

Brilliant location designs, a massive world to discover and almost guaranteed non-stop action makes for a really enjoyable sandbox title that will keep you occupied for hours and most certainly entertain you.

Highly recommended!

just cause 2 rico in a helicopter screen shot

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_cause_2

Trish’s Lord of the Rings Party My Life 19 MAR 2012

Again I find myself playing catch-up with my weekend report back blogging, but oh well, what can one do? If you’re reading this then it means I haven’t lost you lot just yet, so all’s good then! ;)

This weekend was Chantelle working weekend, so once again single-parent mode was switched on and Jessica and I ambled through a weekend of chores, lunch time braais, DVD watching and loads of time playing in the sand on the beach. No big disasters, just loads of tickles and smiles then.

Of course, this means that the weekend before was the activity packed one, and as you know by now, the first half of that weekend was pretty much dominated by Chantelle’s first ever market selling experience. While she and her mom slaved around at the stall in Bellville, Jessie and I tackled the morning, which included a visit to the costume shop to pick up our costumes (which Jessica made more entertaining by making a big poo in her pants just as we arrived), a trip through to Willowbridge to buy a slice of cake and support my better half, followed by a trip through to Ryan to help him move some furniture, before making the journey to Tygervalley in order to buy some new clothes for Jessie, who is growing at the rate of knotts I tell you! (Ackerman’s is a real lifesaver when it comes to buying lots of baby clothes for not quite so much money).

Saturday evening however was the next big one, and after leaving Jessie at home with Ouma, Chantelle and I changed into our fancy dress costumes and awaited Ryan’s pickup, heading out to D’urbanvale for Trish and Matt’s big combined 30th Birthday Party – Lord of the Rings themed of course!

Chantelle looked awesome in her rented brown peasant girl dress, complete with bare feet and braided hair, which she sourced from the fantastic Wonderland Costumes in Somerset West, while I stepped off the conventional path and instead dressed up as a New Zealand prop, complete with rugby socks and a Gilbert ball tucked under my arm, courtesy of Ryan’s old rugby days stash. I also sported this awesome forest green cloak to make people even more confused, also sourced from Wonderland Costumes in case you’re wondering.

Amazingly, Ryan navigated to the address first time around, and we were welcomed onto the huge premises by a helpful little hobbit, before being accosted by the little girl of our host who demanded some game time with the rugby ball (which ended in tears thanks to Ryan). The costumes on display were all fantastic and very inventive (you should have seen Karl’s homemade tree beard!), and we had everything from elves, to Ents, to Peter Jackson himself! (I was kind of hoping some photos would have made their way online by now, considering the fact that the host had hired an official photographer for the night, but as you might have guessed from the lack of photos on this post – that hasn’t happened yet. Tragic because Chantelle and I forgot to take any pictures ourselves!)

There were loads of people (from both parties, though our side was a little thinned thanks to an unfortunate work call that meant Evan had to miss out, despite his costume neatly laid out on his bed – Not that this stopped Natasha from joining us mind you!), a manned bar, delicious starters, themed decor, a lurking pool which claimed two victims on the night (Ryan was one of them!), all leading up to the awesome main feast where we hungrily partook in a succulent spit braai, followed by a cool Minas Tirith cake (cut with a real sword) for dessert.

Apart from the incident which saw Michelle and Damen leave in a haste after the photographer’s flash triggered a little bit of an attack for poor Michelle, the evening was a complete and utter success, thoroughly enjoyable and definitely a highlight of the month!

I was a little bit disappointed in that my extensive research the weekend before wasn’t put to any use, but hey, at least I could identify a lot more costumes that what I would have been able to otherwise, and Trish has promised that we’ll put it to use a little closer to her actual birthday later this month! :)

Anyway, after the fun that was Saturday evening, Sunday was a far more relaxed affair, spending some enjoyable time with the family as we tucked into a lazy braai for lunch, did a spot of shopping, and partook in quite the competitive game of darts against Robert – which I for a change actually won!

Excellent. Anyway, this weekend coming up also promises to be a good one, what with Chantelle doing the market again on Saturday morning, Trish and Karl’s boardgames and cake get together in the evening, following by Michelle and Damen’s little Logan’s big Christening on Sunday – Lots to look forward to then :)

Photo Gallery: Trish’s Lord of the Rings 30th Birthday Party (2012-03-10) My Life 10 MAR 2012

In celebration of Trish Storbeck’s 30th birthday, they organised a big Lord of the Rings themed party which needless to say, turned out to be a whole lot of fun (as chronicled here).

A photographer was hired to capture the events of the evening, and these are a couple of photos I managed to grab off Facebook once they finally went live! :)

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Pinnacle Point, Poker and Lord of the Rings – Lots of Lord of the Rings My Life 05 MAR 2012

Wow, I see that I’ve been a bit sloppy when it comes to reporting on the last three weekends past, so sorry about that, I guess I had better bring you all up to speed then.

Obviously four weekends ago, the Gordon’s Bay Lotter Clan was resting with their feet up in Jacobsbaai, but that you know already. The weekend after that though, little Jessie and I caught a lift up with my Mom and Dad to Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, meeting up with Ryan and Claire for a Lotter Family weekend away (shame, Chantelle was working so she missed out). The weather played along beautifully, I got to play golf at Pinnacle Point, a picturesque journey out to George, plenty of evening Uno – in other words, apart from the incident in which Ryan nearly killed Claire by tossing the two of them out of a moving golf cart, it really was an enjoyable family weekend of some proper rest and relaxation.

The week that followed Pinnacle Point saw Chantelle and Jessica pretty much living in Bellville with her folks until the next Monday, as Chantelle was pencilled in for the laser op on her eyes, and the extended recovery time meant that she needed to be at home with her folks.

The weekend however saw me join up with my missing family, and the Saturday evening saw Chantelle and myself join up with Evan, Natasha, Ryan, Karl and Trish, for a fun-filled evening of poker (Ryan won), Uno Jenga (I lost), and then to the surprise of all involved, “Donkey”, a card and spoon-snatching game that I haven’t played since my early childhood! (I walked out unwounded, so I’m taking the win then. Evan gathered the most letters, so the loser tag belongs to him). Sunday was the big birthday celebration for my mom, and we enjoyed another great extended family get together around the fire and the big outside family table. (Oh, and I simply must add that my folks’ new front garden which was just recently landscaped looks absolutely stunning!)

As for this weekend just past, well Chantelle was back on duty as per usual, so that afforded Jessica and myself the opportunity to watch all three Lord of the Rings movies over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in preparation for next weekend’s big Trish 30th Lord of the Rings-themed party. (Wow, what an incredibly long slog I must say. But at least now I can join in on the conversation, seeing as I haven’t watched the Peter Jackson masterpieces since they first came out on the big screen all those years ago!)

Oh, and we managed to get our costumes pretty much all sorted out as well. Wonderland Costumes out in Strand really are amazing!

Anyway, that’s pretty much it in terms of weekend activities catch up, so now you are all up to date. As I mentioned, next weekend is Trish’s big 30th costumed birthday party (we’re having spit roast, can’t wait!) as well as, just need final confirmation, Chantelle’s first ever food market exhibition as Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes makes an appearance at the Willowbridge Slow Market. (I trust you’ll be there to support?)

Interesting times I tell you, interesting times! :)

Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Games | My Reviews 29 JUN 2007

The Lord of the Rings   The Two TowersI’ve become a bit of a fan of Stormfront Studios game productions, particularly their hack and slash titles that I got introduced to in Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone. Enjoying the fairly frantic yet cinematically styled action presented by their rather impressive games engine, I went back on got my hands on their earlier titles in this genre, namely the massively successful The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Although based on the second movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Tower actually includes quite a huge chunk of the first movie in its story as well, probably just to get everyone up to speed. Each level takes an action sequence out of the Two Towers movie and then allows you to play through it using either Aragorn the human ranger, Legolas the elven archer, or Gimli the dwarven fighter as your playable character. Some sequences, like the initial battle with the shadowy ring wraiths from The Fellowship of the Ring, are surprisingly short, but some of the later battles have you fighting off a seemingly endless horde of creatures.

The Two Towers gives you a strong set of upgradeable attacks that are all very easy to execute. Quick attacks are good to use against weaker, unshielded enemies, while you’ll need to use a fierce strike to do any real damage against stronger enemies or enemies that have shields. Chaining attacks together is the most effective means of disposing of enemies, and the game includes a large number of different combos. Chaining attacks together also fills an onscreen meter. The more enemies you concurrently strike, the higher the meter will go, which builds your character’s experience level. The more experience you earn, the more moves you can purchase to improve your character. Also, if you strike enough enemies in a row, you can increase your character’s attack strength for a short time. – The sheer number of opponents thrown at you simultaneously means you need to keep your wits about you at all time. And don’t think you can get through with just pressing hit all the time. If you are to survive the onslaught then youd better learn how to properly use the parry button as well!

The game is on the short side though and you can progress through it in a couple of sittings easily enough. However, the three playable characters means you can go back and redo levels and with the tons of extras such as interviews, sketches and production videos to unlock, there is literally a host of things to keep the hardcore fan busy with.

The game is a 2002 release, but to be honest, it is a very impressive looking PS2 game. It handles the huge amount of characters on screen slickly and without any slowdown whatsoever. The character models are all detailed and the animations are extremely realistic. Environments are beautiful and clever use of the camera creates a beautiful cinematic feel to the game. The only negative aspect is the prerendered cutscenes don’t look good at all, which is a pity when you consider how good the game looks elsewhere. The seamless integration with movie footage and game footage makes for a visual treat though.

The Two Towers features the soundtrack from the Fellowship of the Ring film as well as some tracks that were made for the film but were later cut. The music includes ominous moody melodies that instantly ramp up to full-blown orchestral tracks, taken straight from the action sequences in the film. The sound effects are nearly perfect and fit the action well. The actors from the film voice the game’s dialogue, and it all sounds fantastic.

So to sum it up, if you like hack and slash games, pick this title up – you should be able to grab it for a good price considering its age. It is easy to get into, but very difficult to master which makes it quite challenging to the hardcore gamer. Be warned about the short length though.

Lord of the Rings in Questions My Life 28 APR 2007

I encountered the most hardcore fan board game every late Friday night as Angelas birthday braai wound down. Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit. Basically its Trivial Pursuit recast in a Lord of the Rings theme. The little cheese-holder character pieces have been replaced with war game-like figurines, the question categories have been updated to things like good characters, evil characters, places, warfare and movie trivia and theres this funny little black hooded figurine on a horse who apparently likes to chase after people, especially short ones with hairy toes. Oh, and theres a ring of course, which kind of make sense if you look at the title of the story I guess.

Honestly, the only things I contributed to the game were a couple of dice throws and a lot of stupid comments/answers. And I made the cupcake plate lighter.

Nevertheless, I was amazed at some of the peoples knowledge of this fantasy epic. Its really quite scary when people know all 12 hours worth of footage backwards – plus deleted scenes.

Although it was a nice change of pace in the end (my team lost even though we were 3 against 1 – Patricia still won) I can honestly say I hope they find 30seconds soon.


Review: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Games 14 MAR 2007

So I did give in to purchasing Lord of the Rings: Return of the King last night. A second hand copy I know, but I really wanted it seeing as it was made by the excellent Stormfront. Seeing as I thoroughly enjoyed their follow up, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone I thought it would be a good idea to check it out, especially since that linear scripting hack-and-slash type adventure game is currently right up my alley. And I’m not disappointed! Had a quick peek at the game and it was awesome! Tying in with beautiful DVD quality footage lifted right out of Peter Jacksons epic movies, Return of the King is pretty hard to put down. Hacking and slashing seemingly endless hordes of trolls and villains with all the major heroes of the story is completely and utterly a satisfying experience. A rich musical score, great voice acting and a tightly scripted game makes for one heck of a ride.

I cant wait to play this one properly. But first I got to get through the The Matrix: Path of Neo, another enthralling action adventure game thats sucking up all my time.

Lord of the Rings Return of the King ps2 game