Of all the games based on the Lord of the Rings, the most critically acclaimed was the Battle for Middle-earth. The PC real-time strategy game let players control any of the various good and evil armies that warred for control of the realms in author J.R.R. Tolkien's novels. Like other EA Rings games, it featured art assets and video clips from director Peter Jackson's multibillion-dollar-grossing film trilogy based on the aforementioned books.
Today, EA announced it has shipped the sequel to the popular RTS, which is appropriately titled The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II. Rated T for Teen, the standard retail version of the game costs $49.99. As is becoming the trend with many high-profile releases, however, it is also available in a $59.99 Limited Edition, which features a DVD sporting a "making-of" documentary, as well as exclusive, in-game content.
Like its predecessor, The Battle for Middle-earth II will sport the orc and human armies featured in the films. However, it will also sport a whole heap of Tolkien-inspired content that didn't make it to the big screen. On the side of good, players will be able to take control of separate dwarven and elven armies, as well as a reworked human faction that will include both the defenders of Gondor and the horseman of Rohan. If you'd prefer to serve the Dark Lord Sauron, you can now control the all-new "goblins and monsters" faction, which includes the hungry spiders of Mirkwood forest and the dwellers of the mines of Moria. The game will also include an all-new hero creation system , which will let players fashion and foster individual leaders of their armies.
GameSpot's review of The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II will be up later this week. In the meantime, consult our extensive previous coverage for more details on the game, an Xbox 360 version of which is due later this year.