I don't really know where to start with this game. The plot basically orbits scarcely around the main story of the legendary lord of the rings series before soaring into a black abyss of jaw dropping ridiculousness. In many ways the game is effective in allowing the appearance of new and much loved characters from the books that didn't make it to the movie. Although it attempts to remain true at first to the strict Tolkien lore of cause and effect, balance and nature etc etc etc... the game quickly takes a sharp downward spiral by introducing lavish lightning and fireball-esk magical spells (Tolkien known specifically for his low-magic fantasy), regular flights on grand and noble eagles to blowing up mountains, dealing with dragons and surviving unmentionable odds... you start to wonder pretty soon on whether if just one of your team should have swapped with Boromir at the council of Elrond almost none of the tragedies would have befallen the fellowship.
As far as RPG stands, the game is supposed to create the effect that you have control over your actions and if you have played the famed 'Dragon Age' series the dialogue options will seem extremely familiar... however this is not the case and unlike 'Dragon Age' your conversational decisions make little to no change to the overall story, no matter your answers and replies the script eventually works its way to the default answer resulting in your experience feeling very 'steered'. Also notable is the huge lack of attention applied to the combat system, I notice a lot of the younger generation claiming this is the best part of the game, yet your main objective is to basically button mash ONE button and then finally press a second button (when you are told to no less) to perform the same finishing move throughout the three characters that cuts a limb off (even if you have a wooden staff or blunt mace). The same hack, evade and slash activity quickly becomes dull and highly predicable.
The worst and probably most frustrating aspect of the game (Also being that of any game I have ever played) is the revival system, a flaw that has not gone unnoticed in other reviews. To revive your downed companion you must find them amongst the rabble of orcs and goblins and hold a specific button for an amount of time without being interrupted. Sounds easy right? Well... you'll quickly find almost 70% of the enemies in the game perform heavy damage knock back attacks at very regular intervals making this seemingly simple task a none negotiable and more an act of luck. Not only this but in the solo campaign when any member of your party is unfortunate enough to fall (which they will regularly do as even though they are capable of hack and slash, 'evade' is still a skill unmastered for the AI) any enemy in the area goes into a desperate frenzy and gains speed and strength from the seemingly impossible to tirelessly destroy any character attempting a revival. If you haven't thrown your console or pc out of the window by this point... I suggest you swiftly return the game before you do.
It's not all constant death, doom and unloreful gloom. You'll find that between rag dolling around the screen and being reset back to a save point the game automatically made at the most inconvenient time (yes, you hear me correct... no manual saves here) there are plus elements to the game like the graphics, the audio and the self gratifying gore and not to mention the... no, no I think that's it actually.
From one lord of the rings fan to the other... rent it.