Review by JxRPGxK

"Frodo where art thou?"

I'm not a huge fan of Action RPGs, so when some of the Lord of the Rings games came out and I found out they where Action I was a bit discouraged, But when EA released Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, and that they had made it a Turn-Based RPG, I was elated. I rushed to the closest gaming store I could find and purchased it, unwrapped it immediately, and started to play.

This story consists of an entirely new cast of characters, who oddly resemble some of the original cast. (Elegost = Aragorn anyone?) This cast consists of a bunch of humans, one dwarf, one elf, and not a single hobbit. And to add to the strange cast most of the characters lack any major back story and seem to just randomly find their way into your faux Fellowship.

Story and Gameplay wise the game is very moderate. There is nothing to exciting, except for the Balrog battle at the end of the West Moria chapter. In the last four chapters, beginning with Helm's Deep and ending with the Pelennor Plains things begin to pick up, if only a slight bit. You find yourself fighting endless (and I'm not being sarcastic) battles against Orcs and Elephants, with non-stop reinforcements. The only problem is, is that you have Aragorn or Legolas in your party. Normally this would be a good thing, but when they are ridiculiously over powered and because they are in your party the battles pose no challenge what so ever you feel like you are wasting time.

But the real reason I can't give this game a higher grade then a 6 is because of two reasons:

A) The Final Battle

B) The Ending

You've played through the entire game, fought through the tiring and time consuming battles and then comes the final showdown, the tour de force, the battle with The Great Eye of Sauron! You would expect the battle to be tough, this is one of the greatest evils every to grace literature of any kind we are talking about. But alas, the Eye is pretty pathetic. And a half-wit could figure out the strategy required to defeat it. So much for that.

If you have any hope for the ending, dash it now as the ending is almost as bad as the final battle. It's short, and a weak closing to a semi-decent game. The ending could have been a lot stronger and could have made this game worth the trouble. But in all honesty it really isn't, unless you're a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan like I am.

As for Replay, there is none. Once is enough when going through this game. Maybe you might want to tinker through Evil Mode, but you can only unlock that if you're such a perfectionist that you complete each chapter with 100%. And if you don't do that the first time through, it's not worth restarting for, since Evil Mode isn't very stimulating either.

To wrap this up nicely the game isn't worth the time it requires to play. It has nice music, decent graphics, decent if not annoying gameplay, and a very awkward plot that tries it's best to work itself around the original plot without stepping on anyones toes (But it fails horribly at this). You might want to invest your money into something else.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/10/06


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