I feel that the whole battle system isn't deep enough to hold all the way through ,for a turn-based one,

User Rating: 6.5 | The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age XBOX
Although the actioners based on Tolkien's books worked well, few would argue the fact that a well-made role-playing game is the ultimate way to interactively experience the world that is Middle-earth. When the RPG finally came out, it had a lot to prove.

Well-made but glitchy. There are a few sceneries that are just astonishing and you can just stare at them in wonder! There are, however, loads of "invisible walls" and the animations in the cut scenes don't work that well always. The animations in battle are really cool. While I was playing my wife would walk by and say "Oh, a boss fight!" every time a new creature was displayed on screen. That's how good it looks! The fights look really impressive and pompous! The menus and everything out-game look good and are easy to maneuver through and the overall layout is good.

Original soundtrack, chopping sounds and other fighting sounds works well. What is NOT very impressive is the voice acting. Idrial's voice is alright and a few of the others' too, but the main hero Berethor, for example, is horrible.

I have to make it clear that I actually LIKE turn-based combat in RPG's, so for me that's a favorable thing. I feel that the whole battle system isn't deep enough to hold all the way through ,for a turn-based one, and a lot of the time you spend playing is used to upgrade your heroes' abilities in a way that while trying NOT to kill the last enemy you keep the fight going while you use non-lethal sword-strikes and magic to gain skill-points (gained through using a particular ability). The abilities are pretty cool and varied though ranging from Idrial's Spirit-craft and Sword-craft to Elegost's Ranger- and Bow-craft. The skill-tree is a cool feature that lets you chose what skill-strike you want to learn next etc. This works well and adds a little to the depth/reduces the shallowness of the game a little. You can also travel back and forth to maps that you have already cleared to complete unfinished quests and try out your new attacks and magic against random encounters. The problem here is that the game is too easy and I'm not only talking about the fights. The objectives and quests are VERY linear and very easy to finish. The maps are made to make idiots be able to complete the game, and with all the "invisible" walls, it's would have been impossible to make a wrong turn if it weren't for the broken map on the top-right corner of the screen. This adds up to frustration and a wish for more. I'm not ONLY complaining though as I find the fights to be very addictive and cool. There are tons of weapons and armor to equip your heroes with. These can only be found in the maps as there are no shops in the game. They more often than not appear in strange places that make no sense. The story is cool, but the story telling through "epic scenes" taken out of context from the movies with Gandalf's voice over it, written descriptions of the objectives and cut-scenes. This all sums up to be a very clumsy, incomplete and stupid way to tell the story. The story's there, it's just so badly told that it falls flat

I don't know what's making me come back to this game, but I have finished it 4 times already and I still think that I will have it a go in two years or so. The main problem here is the difficulty which is too easy, even on the hardest difficulty setting. It might be the Tolkien-setting combined with the fact that this is a game that you can just play through and, there are three difficulty levels to try out. Personally I think they are all too easy. . Once you complete one chapter you unlock an Evil Mode that lets you play as the forces of Sauron. After completing the each Evil mode you receive artifacts, weapons and stuff to use in the "real" game. This is an incredibly cool feature and it would have been amazing if there had actually been an evil parallel story to go with it, but, instead it's made up of a few battles only.

Believe me when I say that I would have loved to give this game a higher score! I just don't think it deserves it, with all its inconsistencies and all. It IS however, not a bad game. It's just the fact that if they had spent 2 more months testing and tweaking stuff it could have passed the 90% mark. It has such potential.