All About DoctorWho88
As is agreed time and time again, Tolkien's masterpiece universe is a joy and wonder to immerse oneself in. The sheer complexity of it, mixed with its fruitful simplicity makes a beautiful story, and a world that truly seems to be living, to be breathing, to be thinking and to be alive. This world is realistic, and the King of Fantasy, and this world is the world of Middle-Earth. So why hasn't it been used in a video game?
The truth of it, is it has. Just not as people would expect it to be. For example, many people would probably expect any game based on Middle-Earth to be an Open-World RPG. After all, some of the most memorable fantasy games and worlds are built around the Open-World genre. So the question being asked constantly, and even more now so with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is why isn't there a Lord of the Rings RPG?
The most common answer is, there is. Lord of the Rings Online (developed by Turbine) is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), and a good one too. Though it doesn't quite count as an Open-World RPG, one can argue that it has all the elements and experiences of an Open-World, although many MMO RPG's could count as Open-World's (WoW, Gw2, Warhammer Online etc.) and many MMO's could also count as coming nowhere close (Maple Story, Runescape etc.). Another response is this: that the story of Lord of the Rings has already been built, and that thus if one tried to make their own stories and tried to roleplay in an Open-World LotR game, it wouldn't be very successful as they would be very restricted by the main storyline.
However, LotRO has proved that the above is untrue. In LotRO, while your storyline is not completely built out in front of you, there is an unclear path that you can take. LotRO takes your character around the main storyline of Lord of the Rings, not quite interfering with it, but meeting up with some of the characters (such as Gandalf) and forging yourownstoryline, that is linked in with the main story. This is quite successful- it stops plagiarism yet allows the player to be fully endorsed in the wondrous world, without restrictions andINCLUDINGthe joys and treasures of it.
The problem is, when most people ask for a Lord of the Rings Open-World RPG, well, they've already tried to look for one. Put it this way, people asking for a Lord of the Rings Open-World are Tolkien fans. You won't see CoD or Assassin's Creed fanboys asking, out of the blue, for a LotR Open-World. These guys actually WANT a LotR Open-World, and yes, they've done their research before asking for this, for no one wants to sound stupid. Like no one would ask "I wish there was a game called Call of Duty". And they (not the idiots asking about CoD, the LotR fanboys) probably already know about LoTRO. So why aren't they content?
Number of reasons. Probably more obvious is this: LotRO lets you explore maybe about 1/5 of the total map. Not all of Arda. All of Middle-Earth. As expected, this doesn't quite meet expectations, and for a lot of people is a disappointment. Also, a lot of people prefer playing Open-World's to MMO's. Despite what I said earlier, there are still a number of differences between the genres, and it'll be a long while until anyone fully accepts an MMO like WoW or LotRO as an Open-World. Lots of people prefer Open-World's to MMO's as well, explaining popularity of games such as Skyrim and Dark Souls, and declining popularity of games like WoW.
So what have I told you? Actually, very little. No problem, as long as I'm alive I'll update my blog! It seems that the main thing I have told you is that people want an Open-World, why they want it, and they want it fast. In my next post, I'm going to briefly describe the history of LotR in the gaming world, and highlight the ups and the downs. Mainly the downs.
As all of you probably know, quite recently The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released, the first in a three-part film adaptation of Tolkien's famous book, The Hobbit, the story which set the stage for the probably more famous novel The Lord of the Rings (which is arguably a trilogy, six books (2 in every "physical" book), or one big book, as Tolkien would rather us believe). An Unexpected Journey depicts the first parts of Bilbo's journey, from the party at Bag-End, to the "stoning" (see what I did there?) of the trolls, to the meeting at Rivendell (now including a meeting of the White Council), to the escape from the Wargs and Goblins to the Carrock.
Peter Jackson has chosen to expand the storyline- changing small details (such as Thrain, Thorin's father, being taken in chains by Azog the Defiler instead of the Necromancer, who we better know as the Dark Lord Sauron (Boooooooo!!!!!)) has allowed him to expand these storylines and episodes into something greater. In this particular example, it leads on to Azog being brought in as a primary antagonist, and the Necromancer being completely unknown to all, allowing Jackson to portray footage of scenes involving the White Council (which will eventually lead up to the attack on the Necromancer's fortress in Greenwood (which has become, recently, Mirkwood), Dol Guldur. The former has been expanded so that an intense rivalry between Azog and Thorin is established, making us see Thorin in a more leader-ly, heroic way, and makes us feel the intensity and sorrow of the misfortune of the dwarves, losing their beloved home to a dragon, then losing their King to Azog (Thror, father of Thrain, father of Thorin). Despite recent critics pointing out that one can't properly connect and sympathise for the Thirteen when one feels that about 8/13 of them are useless and fools, their sorrow is very realistic in the sense of their loss. Jackson uses flashbacks to great effect to impress this upon the audience, however the effect is gone once one looks at Dori with his miniature slingshot, or at Bombur who eats huge amounts of cheese for no reason (Jackson has given Bombur some skill with a sword, so he seems less like a jester or a joker as he was portrayed in the Hobbit by Tolkien, where Bombur was made out to be pitied, instead of respected as he is in the film).
What has also beencriticizedis the long three hours "making even the most loyal-Tolkien fans weigh out their patience". To some extent this is true, I myself when seeing this checked my watch numerous times during the film (probably out of self-interest to how late I would be able to stay up). Scenes such as the one with the trolls and the one with the final battle at the Misty Mountains seem to drag on and on, without clear purpose. Sometimes this is intentional, after all, the more action one sees of the Thirteen in combat with Gandalf at their side, the more they might feel connected with them. This certainly reaches some of its desired effect, but once that happens, it just seems boastful and boring. Bringing the Great Goblin back to life, even after he had been pushed off a cliff into the great darkness of the Misty Mountains (logically thinking, how does that happen?) is the down-point of this scene, and when you see the Thirteen dodging and killing and jumping and avoiding things to that extent, they really do seem invincible in a bad way, in a way which makes you think they're going to survive so there's no point in watching any more of it. The same effect comes of the antagonists, the Great Goblin and Azog the Defiler. Some Tolkien-fans might find it hard to believe Azog survived, even though in Jackson's own version this is entirely possible, and after Azog is revealed to have survived after a flashback in which Thorin is seen so heroically and daringly cutting off his arm, makes us feel the Goblins aren't just dangerous, powerful, and frightening, but also invincible, what with the Great Goblin also surviving as I previously noting. The result? The two sides seem a bit silly.
My last points are about the individual characters. I can't say much about the Thirteen, for as individual characters, we're only really told they're loyal to Thorin (which doesn't really personify them as individual characters). Thorin himself, as I said before, is a character of great sorrow and great loss, which Jackson successfully conveys to the audience. Compared to Gandalf and Bilbo however, he is also conveyed as foolish, brash, arrogant, and, though this might be a slightexaggeration, cruel. Linked to his sorrow, this is understandable in some cases, but not when he gets angry at Bilbo for coming, which makes him a sort of demi-antagonist. This darkens his character ever so slightly, making it such a triumphant moment when Thorin tells Bilbo he regrets what he said about him. Bilbo himself is like all Hobbits, representing homeliness, peace and comfort. Bilbo conveys this in a small speech when he gets back to the Dwarves, and this too is heart-touching, though it is not as effective as it should be, when Martin Freeman uses his logical, matter-of-fact tone. Gandalf is as imposing as ever, and shows a sign of humility and simpleness when Galadriel wishes him good luck. This is a side of him not often seen, and it will be interesting to see how Jackson expands on this in future films
So what can I say in my conclusion? Mainly, really, that whilst Jackson's questionable expanding of characters and episodes into something bigger is probably unwise, it is at the same time semi-effective, and time-wasting, depending on your view. If you liked the Lord of the Rings, go see it, Tolkien's universe won't ever get old or boring. If you're a moviegoer, who just wants to see a good film, go see it anyway. If you're a movie critic who is cynical and contemptuous, don't go see it.
Does nobody understand the usage of the five golden stars???
My dilemna: I go on my iPad and look at the app store, and try to look for good games to play, and then, wah-la!!! Thousands and hundreds of mindless idiots on the app store decide to go off and rate games 5 stars. Why? Because they thought the game was fun. I have spent hours flicking through the app store quickly, and almost all of the reviews which gave the game five stars, all in all said something equivalent to: wow this game is fun, has a few problems but it is still really fun. THAT'S NOT A GOOD REASON TO GIVE A GAME FIVE STARS!!! Five stars means, surprise surprise, ten out of ten!!! There's hardly any games in the market worth ten out of ten!!! 100%!!!
Let's see: my list of ten out of ten games? GTA IV maybe, or some DmC or Metal Gear game ... and yes, to be fair since it is mobile games (iPhone, Android) you can give a bit of exception since it is hard for a mobile game to be excellent, but you can't just write a review saying: it is fun, but has a few problems!! You could spend hours (slight exxageration) flicking through the reviews until you finally came upon one that was full, long, and gave proper reasons why it deserved whatever rating it was given. Nonetheless, I won't complain, as Apple have made it as convenient as is within their very shor scale reach :/
My other problem: put yourself in the gamer's position. No, the everyday-guy's position,a normalbody rich enough to afford an iPhone or iPad. Would he be that inclined to write a review? Let's see, if a game is bad, you usually stop playing it right? And when does the app offer you a chance to write a review??? When you have played it for a considerable time! It literally says in the popup (or something close), "We see you have been playing *insert name here* often. Would you like to write a review?" And would a normalbody bother to manually go and write a review, for a game he doesn't like? No! Only a gamer bothers to write a review manually (without being offered to write one by the app) if he dislikes it! Why? Because gamers, knowing a decent amount about games,canwrite them!!! Therefore by this system, it is more likely that more positive reviews are going to come towards a game, than negative ones. This is not entirely convenient, and so yes, Apple is in the wrong here (Do we feel sympathetic??) so what do I recommend? Don't offer someone to write a review only if they've been playing for some time, offer it to them whether they've been playing it for a long time or not!!
DoctorWho88 does not have any recent activity. What a slacker! Maybe you should send DoctorWho88 a private message and ask, "Where are you hiding?"