Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth


Computer Platform: PC (Windows)
Produced by:
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Patches / Upgrades:
System Requirements: 256 MB Memory, 8x or faster CD/DVD drive, 4 GB or more free space, Video card with 32 MB or more

     Reviewed By: Christopher Eby

Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Rating: 4 of 5 (good)
Gameplay: 5 of 5 (excellent)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 5 of 5 (none)

Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth.  Illustration copyrighted.

I was very excited to get Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth, as this was the game I had dreamed about for years. Being a fan of both the Lord of the Rings books and movies, as well as being an avid gamer set my standard high. Fortunately, Battle for Middle-Earth met and exceeded my expectations.

Battle for Middle-Earth makes excellent use of its license. The creatures and locations of Middle Earth are brought to life with beautiful graphics and unit emotions. Unit emotions are something rarely seen in RTS (Real Time ) games, but Battle for Middle-Earth does them excellently. Your soldiers will cheer after winning a fight and cower when facing a huge monster. This is very cool and really helps to bring the world to life. The heroes of Middle Earth are constantly present, leading your troops and shouting lines from the movies. As you progress in the game, powerful monsters like Balrogs and the Army of the Dead enter the fray. The sound is the best part of the game; I am constantly turning the volume up, just so I can get the full effect. Battle for Middle-Earth truly deserves the Best Sound of the Year award it received from IGN.com.

Lotr-Battle For Middle Earth2

Battle for Middle-Earth has multiple game modes including: campaign, skirmish, and online multiplayer. One interesting feature of the campaigns is that you can play as good or evil. Yes, you can play Sauron and command orc legions to pillage Middle Earth. This may be offensive to some, but the game does not force you to play evil and on the flip side playing the good campaign is exactly the opposite morality wise. The most offensive thing I encountered was that on one map, playing as evil, one of the bonus objectives was to hunt down and kill all the refugees. Yet being consistent with the good-vs.-evil world of Middle Earth, on one of the maps playing as a good faction, one of the bonus objectives was to rescue all the refugees. All in all, the game provides a very clear view of good and evil and their respective results.

The campaign is a mixture of plot battles and freeform play. You can pick a territory of Middle-Earth to conquer or defend, and then fight a battle in that location.. No matter which side you play, you will have to play several scripted battles from the Lord of the Rings storyline. But the game doesn’t explain the plot so it helps a lot to know the story.

Skirmish games are only one map and can be played using any of the four factions in the game: Gondor, Rohan, Isengard, or Mordor. All four factions play very differently, and none have an advantage. User created maps can be used in skirmish or multi-player games. One skirmish takes about 30 min. to an hour. A campaign may take well over 20 hours.

Battle for Middle-Earth is very beginner friendly. It eliminates many complex features that confuse beginner RTS players, without removing from the gameplay. Like most RTS games Battle for Middle-Earth is based on battles. There is no blood, and it is very rare to have human vs. human combat. Yet due to the violent nature of battles it might be better to keep young children away from this game. Although, this is the least offensive RTS game I have ever played.

Over all I find Battle for Middle-Earth to be an excellent game. It has huge potential for reply, and a quick learning curve. It’s a must for any Lord of the Rings fan.

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Year of Release — 2004

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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