Okay, let me start by saying BRAVO to Atari and the team that brought us Two Towers. I really enjoyed almost every aspect of this game. At first, I wasn't VERY excited about this game, but I do enjoy the Forgotten Realm tomes by R.A. Salvatore. That's why I enjoyed the Baulder's Gate series, another chance to roam the wonderful world of Salvatore. Anyway, on with the review.
Gameplay and Learning Curve: The game is great fun. In the very first level, you control all of your three characters, one at a time, to get a feel for each of them. Once you get the button scheme down, all of the characters play essentially the same. Of course, each of them have their own special abilities, so you cannot go through the game as just one character. You must use each of them. Personally, I liked Zhai, the drow rogue, in the first few levels, then the sorcerer Illius in the middle levels, and finally the fighter Rannek in the last levels. Zhai has three things that make her unique. She can jump (the only character that can), hide in shadows, and do sneak attacks for one-hit kills. She is particularly agile, great at the hit-and-run. Illius has his spells which, toward the end of the game, are devastatingly powerful. Lastly, Rannek has great defense and just brute power, where a single sword strike can wipe out 3 or 4 enemies. The gameplay is pretty simplistic. Hack your way through WAVES of enemies until the end of the level and the boss. The game has backgrounds for all three characters and you really will care about them. There is a very good storyline that goes along with this game. It is great for the ease of learning and just to pick up and play.
Graphics: Nothing in this game particularly stands out as "pretty". The game is rather dark and kind of bland, but not in a bad way by any means. As an example, LOTR: Two Towers is the same way, as it should be. It looks more realistic rather than a game like Sudeki for Xbox, which looks cartoonish. The cutscenes, however, look quite good and the voice acting lines up well in scenes. Overall, it is satisfying. By no means are the graphics choppy or anything bad...just bland.
Replay Value: Unfortunately, I don't find much in the replay value. After you beat it, there really isn't anything new to do or unlock. It's just a matter of getting all of the items and abilities your character can equip. However, I played on the normal difficulty and by the last level of the game, I had all of the best items I could equip and everyone's, except Illius', abilities. And I only needed two more to have Ilius completed. If you could import your characters into a new game, that would have been great.
Sound: Sounds are fantastic -- everything from the clang of two swords coming in contact, to the sound of Zhai when she sticks her two daggers into a troll's throat. Great sounds all along the way and the music blends quite well with all of the levels.
Overall, I only have two complaints about this game. 1) It is WAY too short. It is only ten levels long, and although you can go back to previous levels and earn more gold and experience, it just isn't the same. 2) I wish they would have been more creative with the weapons. You can upgrade your weapons and armor. I'll use Zhai as an example. She had Leather Armor, Studded Leather Armor, Shadow Armor, etc. However, for her daggers, all she had was Dagger +1, Dagger +2, Dagger +3, etc. Same goes for the other two characters with their armor and weapons. They could come up with names for armor but not weapons? Anyway, it's a minor complaint that doesn't affect the game in any way, but I still wanted to mention it.