Lord of the Rings The Third Age

Posted by staff | Posted in Role Playing | Posted on 05-09-2010

5

  • In-depth skill system lets players Upgrade and customize their hero or villain
  • Relive exciting moments from the film trilogy — from fighting the Balrog in the Mines Of Moria to fighting the Battle Of Helm’s Deep
  • Play as all-new characters from the Middle-Earth saga, interacting with the classic heroes and villains of the film
  • Innovative turn-based combat system as you ride horses or Wargs through massive armies
  • Free-roaming adventure as you explore a beautiful and realistic game world

Product Description
Lord Of The Rings: Third Age allows fans to explore the world of Middle-Earth from an entirely new perspective. Players get a chance to fight alongside or against key characters from The Lord of the Rings, like Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Eowyn, even the Balrog. Travel in the wake of the Fellowship, exploring your own path while intersecting with major characters and events from the films. Choose to align yourself with the people of Middle-Earth or undertake missions… More >>

Lord of the Rings The Third Age

Comments posted (5)

When I first heard of EA publishing an RPG based on LOTR, I thought it was just another effort of EA to squeeze every single drop of profit from the multi billion franchise. As many of us know EA is not a giant for RPG but for sports and more action oriented games. Nonetheless, the ambition behind The Third Age was a complete make over of the franchise that provides very interactive and involving experience for people who are fans of the series.

The game set its scene at the time when Sauron is making a come back. The player assumes the role of a guard from Gondor setting out to look for Boromir. Nonetheless, fate brought him into a group of Comrades, each has his / her own agenda that unfolds slowly throughout the journey. The story is a dual line one: it has the story of your party such as what you encountered and the life of your comrades; the other one is the main LOTR story being told through Gandalf directly into your mind through spheres/orbs as you proceed with your quest. This is a very smart move as people would love to have all their favorite movie clips and characters back on their screen again as they play the game.

As your playable party, you have 6 comrades, composed of human, elf and dwarf – yeah no hobbits sorry (oh by the way you can play as the shadow party in the evil mode!). Nonetheless in a battle you can only have 3 active fighters. You can switch your comrades in and out during a battle, which when one of your characters got beaten up, you can switch that character out. Battle is turn based and very Final Fantasy alike. This is probably because EA has invited people making FF VII and FF X to involve in the project that the whole battle system is a near identical with Final Fantasy. Once in a battle, your team line up on one side and your enemies on the other. The flow will then be who has a higher speed act first in turns. This could be seen from the turn queue on the upper right hand side of the screen. As in Final Fantasy, the person with higher speed will have more turns in attack. As such there is nothing new to people who used to play Japanese turn based RPGs like Final Fantasy, Wild Arms or Skies of Arcadia. There is a Perfect Mode attack meter during the battle, when once it is filled you can perform devastating special attacks on your enemies. The guage will fill up only when you performed a successful attack action. So it is a mix of limit break in FF and unison attack in Tales of Symphonia. Once you finished a battle and won it, you will get experience point for levelling up.

Levelling up in The Third Age takes the form of a mix between Final Fantasy, Baulder’s Gate, Champions of Norrath and Tales of Symphonia. You get experience point and you level up ur stats. But at the same time you can points that you can assign to different stats for further enhancement. On top of that, if you want to level up your special attacks, you have to use them in the battle. Every successful action with the special attack earns you points that when enough points are earned, the next level of that skill will show up – this is smiliar to the tech systems in Tales of Symphonia. However, if you want to open up a different set of skills you have to develop the “tree” of that skill separately and use it in the battle. This shows a similarity in structure with Champions of Norrath.

One of the major difference of The Third Age from other standard RPG is there is no monetary system. So you can only get items from chests or by defeating enemies. Luckily the enemies are no miser so if you spend enough time in battles, you could build up a pretty good inventory of items. The field mode is exactly the same as Final Fantasy but in a different graphic style. It is no eye candy cute graphics but it constructs a very good atmospher for the LOTR world. You will come across locations that the main characters in the LOTR trilogy have visted and you would be happy that you get that treat. But on top of that there are really well constructed sceneries that gets yourself involved in the journey. The break into battle animation will also seriously remind you of standard Japanese RPG – the screen breaks apart and you are in the battle. The time saver though is you don’t need to look at the whole battle field as most Final Fantasy games did, but you are straight into the battle. Also the posing of characters after they finished the final blow on the enemies are exactly Japanese RPG like.

Lord of the Rigns: The Third Age is a very ambitious project from EA. It can be seen in a way that they tried to merge standard Japanese RPG format together with western RPG formula. The end product is nothing new to most RPG players but the similarities of both RPG in both worlds can get you involved in the game very easily. The easy to pick up approach and style familarity of the game provides a good foundation for the success of this game. It could attract a very wide range of gamers from different areas to pick up and enjoy the game. Looks like EA had found a good formular or way to get into RPG battle arena this time. The only thing they need to do is after they used up the LOTR franchise, would they be able to build an original RPG that have the same appeals? That will be something that other RPG giants like Namco, Square-Enix, Nintendo and Ubisoft will definitely be anxious about. Meanwhile, just enjoy a completely different experience with one of the best franchises in the world.
Rating: 5 / 5

Sincerely, it is difficult to rate this game.

It has all it needs to be considered a good game, but also has some issues:

Graphics 9/10: Simply great and beautiful. The landscape looks as if it comes directly out of the movie.

Story 7/10: this is where I think hardcore LOTR fans will be divided from Mass Market customers. The story is a bit of a slap in the face for anybody who read or loves Tolkien. Your party is basically always 5 minutes behind the company of the ring. Especially at the beginning of the game… a bit too much for somebody but very appealing for those who would like to feel as if they were in some way part of the trilogy story line.

Sound 10/10: how could it be better?

Gameplay 5/10: Weird things go on in 3rd age.

*Monsters appear from nowhere while you go around on the 3D world map.

*You can only use three members of your party as you work through fights. Since your characters will become stronger as they use their abilities, the fourth guy you leave out will soon be so behind the other ones he will almost be useless.

*You can’t cast healing spells while not in combat. At least I didn’t manage to. So either you use items or your wait for a fight.

*Each character has a skill set. For example, the elf has healing powers. Everytime you use one of those powers, her “spirit skill” will go up by a point. Once you achieve enough points you unlock the next skill. Since you use skills in combat it becomes paramount to use the most possible everytime.

*No game economy. No shops. No buying and selling stuff. No random NPC encounters. Low feeling of being part of an “alive” world.

Overall the game is fun but it really is not an RPG. It seems that RPGs have gone down to define every game where your character grows during the game and you can personalize her. Not true. Role playing is about playing a role, and you really don’t get this in 3rd Age.

Plus the fact you have no possibility of roaming freely the land, you don’t buy and sell stuff, and every treasure you find is in a nice chest. Yes, chests everywhere: in Moria, in the Mountains, in Fangorn…always chests.

Bottom line

Buy this game if:

1) you are a LOTR fan, liked the movies and like simple RPGs.

2) you are LOTR fan and will own anything with LOTR written on it.

3) you mildy like the LOTR and you like fantasy.

4) you like “simple RPGs.”

Don’t buy this game if you were hurt by all the differences the LOTR movies had from the book. This game would kill you.

HINT/SPOILER: to gain “specialization points” have the Gondorian learn “Company Grace.” This will give you a boost in AP (action points) every round. You need these to use your skills. Go through a fight and once you have only one foe alive, use the dwarf to cast “stone shield” on the Gondorian. This will grant him physical immunity for a while. Then use the Gondorian and “taunt” the last foe. Your enemy will only attack the fighter from Gondor. At that point just start using skills. Your enemy will wast attacks and you will gain a specialization point every round. Remember to have “company grace” always active and to recast “stone shield” once it expires.
Rating: 4 / 5

Overall, this game is totally worth buying. I bought it a week ago and had trouble leaving my gamecube to go to sleep at night. I spent about 23 hours playing it. The graphics are incredible. The storyline captures you. The scenes you gain as you play are well made. Gandalf is the narrator and basically you play as a gondorian with a group of 5 others on a quest gandalf has set for you, following along behind the fellowship. The battles are fun once you get some good attacks. The scenery is beautiful.

The only thing I was disappointed with was the ending. I won’t give you many specifics, but it’s a bit of a let down for the characters. For instance, I think the main character ended up with the wrong girl, but that’s just me.

Other than that, though, I have no complaints. I enjoyed the game very much and I felt a bond with the characters that brought me into the plot line. You fight huge bosses like the balrog (with gandalf), the witch king, dozens of enemies in Helms Deep (with Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn). The battles (which are a big part of the game) can be frustrating if you go about them wrong, but they are fun when you get the hang of them. I recomend it for any lotr fan!

Graphics: 10/10

Characters/Plot: 8.5/10

Battles: 9/10

Worth it? Definitely!
Rating: 5 / 5

A simply delightful surprise! I’ve been waiting for some time for this game to come along– a video game that’s worthy of the name “Tolkien”. A satisfying mix of FF Graphics and gameplay and RTMN-esque character models make this a must have for LOTR fans of all ages. Kids: don’t let dad see you play or you just might lose your turn!

I only have a few complaints about what is truly an otherwise excellent product! I’ve always wanted an RPG that would give me a chance to fulfill my favorite LOTR fantasy: roaming middle earth as a hobbit! I guess that this is one hobbit-lover who’s going to have to wait in his hobbit hole for the sequel! *winking face*

I was also hoping that the game might correct some of the innaccuracies of the Jackson films. The size of the Balrog in the game, for example, is still overly large when compared to the descriptive passage in Tolkein’s “Fellowship” (“man-shape” is explicitly stated– could “man-high” then possibly be implied?), and I was hoping that this game might give Tolkein fans the opportunity to play as the elf-prince Glorfindel, who, with the Noldor, was banished by the Valar from Valinor following the treason of Feanor. Glorfindel has always been something of a “fan favorite”, and I am dissapointed to see him left out of yet another LOTR game.

Five stars!
Rating: 5 / 5

Okay, first off, I absolutely love Tolkien. I absolutely love RPGs.

I was hoping for an RPG in where you could actually play the original characters and go to the places they went: Hobbiton, Weathertop, Rivendell, Lorien…etc. Well, when I found about this game, I got excited, until I learned about the new characters and such. Well, no big deal, I bought it anyways, being the big LotR fan I was. I was a bit disappointed.

The Graphics and the music were great. That was the only good thing about it unfortunately.

The Characters were extremely annoying (Hadhod, Idrial and Morwen especially) and a cheesy love story was thrown in. Certain names were mispronounced, and Aragorn, my gosh, Aragorn annoyed the hell out of me. All of his lines were basically ripped from the movies and it felt out of place. The “You bow to no one” ticked me off.

Basically, the game is about a second fellowship following the real fellowship around and you pretty much do the same thing as they did. The one thing I had in mind is, if your going to do the same thing, then why not use the original characters? Personally, I’d like to try beating the Balrog as Gandalf alone. I’d like to try going against the Witchking as Eowyn. I’d like to play Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli together in the battle for Helms Deep. And I’d like to try it without any help from a “wannabe” fellowship.

The ending is incredibly bad as well.

I bought this game with high expectations, instead, I got a disappointment.
Rating: 3 / 5

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