Alongside Rome: Total War, the title most real-time strategy fans were waiting for this holiday season was The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth. This morning, Electronic Arts announced that the wait was over. Rated "T" for Teen, the PC-only game has been sent to stores across North America and will retail for $49.99.
Based on director Peter Jackson's blockbuster film trilogy--which were themselves inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novels--The Battle for Middle-earth lets players assume command of one of the Lord of the Rings' four armies. Those who wish to play on the side of the good can take the reins of Rohan's mighty cavalry or direct Gondor's defense of Minas Tirith, while gamers with a more malevolent streak can dispatch Isengard's Uruk-Hai orcs to wreak havoc or unleash the ultimate evil: Sauron's forces from Mordor.
Each faction will have its own distinctive advantages and faults, not to mention appearances, since the Battle for Middle-earth features digital assets taken directly from the films. The game will also feature locations from the $1 billion-plus-grossing trilogy, as well as voice acting from many members of its cast, including Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen.