To help keep the trauma level down for children, you also don’t die. The plot is delivered in storybook form, told by Samwise Gamgee. His narration segues the missions, and when you “die” in a spot, he pipes up and says something like “Aragorn was overwhelmed by (insert current enemy here). But wait, that’s not really how the story goes is it? I think it actually went something like this...” and you begin that portion of the game again. Another more youthful touch that is added is the Feast at the Shire. This serves as a carnival booth training ground. For this section you play as Samwise’s son, and you visit different stalls as mini-games that help you get used to the controls. The mini-games also err on the side of being too easy, but this section is a little more open-ended so that you can do some further exploration.
It’s a typical formula, and while it’s not very creative that’s not the biggest problem with the game. The gameplay is just hindered by being overly simplistic. Most of the enemies you meet are much too easy to kill, with you hitting them once or twice and they fall over, and then you go on your merry way to the next group. Once a boss fight comes up, things get a good bit more difficult. But even this is largely due to very clunky controls. The biggest problem is that you don’t have any control over the camera angle unless you run around. Good luck trying to strategically take down a baddie. You’ll find yourself running in circles trying to keep the camera visibly locked on your opponent. What should be an easy kill ends up taking at least twice as long while you continually adjust for lousy controls.
The bad camera angles would be a little more forgivable if your combat controls could actually keep up. In general the Wii Remote acts as your sword or primary weapon, as does an almost-decent job of letting your swings slice and dice through opponents. The nunchuk handles directional movement with its joystick nub, while its motion capability is reserved for controlling your ancillary weaponry (a shield or a torch are two common ones) as well as the buttons aiding in movement options. Both work fine sometimes and are just laggy in others. Reactions to your movements often feel arbitrary, and you’ll frequently end up just waving things around and letting the game pick which will stick. Again, you learn to compensate for molasses-like response, but you shouldn’t have to.