Lacks the proper storytelling of the first game. Shallow otherwise.

User Rating: 7 | The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II PC
The original Battle for Middle-earth was a fairly simple RTS game, but it was well paced and it let you play and level up most of the primary characters in the books. This game fails to meet the standard of the first. Gameplay divides in two main modes: a story driven campaign, and 'War of the Ring'.

The campaign has a very disappointing story, where you play the Elf lord Glorfindel and the dwarf Gloin (Gimli's father) as they defend the Elvish lands, which come under attack while The Fellowship are off on their quest. The story jumps this way and that, and since there is no longer any strategic aspect on the overall map, there is little sense of connection between the missions.

In an apparent attempt to compensate, you can play a 'War of the Ring', which lets you control armies on the strategic map and pit all six factions against each other. This mode seems tacked on as an afterthought though. You can build up to two buildings in each region on the strategic map, and recruit armies there, but every battle begins almost as if it stands alone.

A big difference with the first game is the handling of resources. Farms and other buildings can now be freely built on any open space, and resources are rewarded based on the total area covered by farms. As a result, battles are dominated by unit production, and tend to be continuous slugfests where you slowly push the enemy back inch by inch as hundreds of units go through the meatgrinder.

This game has nothing on its predecessor.