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Unlike the version hoarded across the XBox, PS2 and Gamecube (which got the odd third party title by what I assume was someone’s mistake), the GBA Third Age is content to take its material straight from the source. It doesn't steal mechanics from well-known Square games, it doesn't cock-slap the canon. It simply exists in the shadow of a lesser game, probably feeling very bitter and upset about the entire thing.
This is EA’s second title called The Third Age, and like the console game, we see the publisher fortifying its place as an RPG purveyor of some skill. A pure strategy game, I loved the combat’s flank system, where you receive a semi-random amount of command points to spend on actions per flank. Since you can move characters and attack between flanks, there are plenty of ways to out-maneuver your opponent. Smart strategy also means using terrain and choosing your companions wisely. Despite its adherence to the genre, battles can be frustratingly long, and surprisingly, the lack of a driving story make this title a little dry for some. Not for me, however.
Pour conclure, Le Seigneur des Anneaux : Le Tiers Age est une bonne surprise mais qui risque peut-être de déplaire aux puristes du tactical-rpg (du fait de la trop grande importance du facteur chance) mais certainement pas aux fans de l’univers Tolkien. Avec la possibilité d’incarner les forces du bien ou de mal sur une trentaine de cartes, le mode Sauron (qui ne permet pas à vos compagnons blessés de ressusciter pour la prochaine bataille) ou encore le mode multijoueur (qui se contente de faire rejouer les mêmes objectifs que le mode campagne mais avec deux joueurs humains, un dans chaque camp), la durée de vie n’en est que plus conséquente. Doublé d’une bande son soignée et d’une retranscription fidèle de l’univers éponyme, Le Seigneur des Anneaux : Le Tiers Age promet d’atterrir sous bon nombre de sapins pour les fêtes de fin d’année.
Le Tiers Age n'est pas vraiment le RPG sensationnel annoncé, et fait plus office d'un moyen de découverte grand public que d'un T-RPG fouillé et réellement riche. Amenant avec lui un grand nombre d'idées intéressantes, il reste cependant un soft de qualité, qui ne convaincra pas vraiment les amateurs de FFTA ou de Fire Emblem, mais qui demeure suffisamment bien construit pour immerger le joueur durant des heures de déambulation en Terre du Milieu. Pour la peine, je ne lancerais pas Gimli.
That said, The Third Age is a good game, it’s just not for everybody. If you are looking for a challenge and do not care that the game isn’t teeming with personality, then it is for you. Hardcore fans of the Lord of the Rings universe or turn-based strategy games should definitely consider checking out The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. However, the casual gamer should be warned: this is not the game to spark your interest in the trilogy or the genre.
With every Lord of the Rings movie release comes a videogame rendition. But the trilogy's over; Electronic Arts intends to keep the momentum of the J.R.R. Tolkien series going in videogame form with The Third Age, the company's first original game based on the collective three films. On the console Electronic Arts went with a role-playing adventure, but for Game Boy Advance audiences we get a turn-based strategy that owes a lot of its design elements to Intelligent Systems' Fire Emblem series. Just because it's based on a hit design doesn't make the copycat an instant success. It's at the very least a challenging, slightly altered take on the turn-based strategy genre with lots of references to the film that'll please the LOTR fanbase, but The Third Age can't come anywhere close to Fire Emblem's appeal because of its clumsy interface and sluggish missions.
In contrast to the console version, which is a Final Fantasy type RPG taking place amidst the events of the movies but not directly involved in them, the GBA version of The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is a turn-based tactics game that hurls you into the major battles of the film trilogy. Because of a few questionable choices here and there its depth tends to suffer in comparison to games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Advance Wars, although fans of the movies will probably appreciate the direction EA has taken with the handheld epic.