The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
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Critic Reviews 68% add missing review
Game Chronicles (9.8 out of 10) (98%)
My general overall experience with Lord of the Rings: The Third Age was great. I loved it. This is definitely a game to get that LOTR fan in your family or community. With a familiar world to explore and many ways to do so, you'll play The Third Age over and over.Nov 8th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
GameZone (9 out of 10) (90%)
While the game is a little bit on the simple side with its RPG elements, The Third Age offers up a compelling blend of great gameplay, fantastic graphics and sound, and a faithful representation of the Lord of the Rings universe.Dec 1st, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
PGNx Media (8.9 out of 10) (89%)
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is a great additional to the PlayStation 2 role playing genre. The Lord of the Rings franchise lends itself excellently to videogames, and EA Redwood Shores took advantage of that quality very well with this game.Nov 26th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
IGN (8.5 out of 10) (85%)
For the most part, The Third Age rips gamers from their living rooms and dumps them in a detailed rendition of Middle Earth. EA Redwood Shores has faithfully recreated everything from the glowing majesty of Rivendell to the murky depths of Helm’s Deep. Suffice to say, this is one of the best looking games based on Tolkien’s classic trilogy. But, as gamers everywhere know, looks aren’t everything. It’s one thing to have video games look as good as the movies they’re based on, but what good is any of it if the actual gameplay isn’t enough to keep you playing. Thankfully, this combat heavy RPG delivers the goods, although some die hard RPG fans may be put off by its overly streamlined approach. The action is fast, with no lulls in gameplay from beginning to end. Plus, the Co-Op mode and Evil Mode make great additions to a game already packed with a ton of Tolkienesque goodness.Nov 1st, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Gamesmania.de (80 out of 100) (80%)
Leichte, trotzdem ansprechende Rollenspielkost für Anfänger und Liebhaber des Herrn der Ringe. So würde ich "Das dritte Zeitalter" in knappen Worten beschreiben. Charakterentwicklung und Skillbaum bieten nicht allzu viel Tiefe und die Kämpfe sind zum großen Teil fast schon Fischfutter. Schwierig wird es erst, wenn in Unterzahl gekämpft wird und die Gegner Magie anwenden, um uns in die Knie zu zwingen. Einige Male ist dies auch geschehen, danach ist zwar Game Over, aber die fair gesetzten Speicherpunkte verhindern jeglichen Frust. Schönes Spiel.Nov 4th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Retro4Ever (8 out of 10) (80%)
Overall, Third Age is a really solid game. The mechanics play well and never get in the way of your focus. The co-op experience is one that I would definitely recommend as it’s one of the better co-op RPG’s of that console generation. I would definitely recommend picking it up if you are a Lord of the Rings fan, and even if you’re not, it’s still a solid addition to your library. A copy can be picked up for under $10 secondhand from almost anywhere, and often times, much cheaper than that. I feel that the game was definitely overlooked when it comes to that era. If you enjoy the game, you can catch more of these playable characters in Xbox 360’s LOTR: Battle for Middle-Earth II, as they are playable options you can take through your journey in that game as well.Feb 25th, 2014 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Legendra ( ) (80%)
Que pourrais-je dire de plus que ce jeu est tout bonnement magnifique. Je ne peux que vous inviter à l'essayer, mais après, à vous de vous forger votre propre avis, le mien est tout fait, je me suis laisser tenter par des dires (vendeurs, amis, etc) j'ai décidé de l'acheter et je ne le regrette pas du tout. Sur ce, BON JEU A TOUS !Mar 19th, 2005 · PlayStation 2 · read review
GameSpot (7.7 out of 10) (77%)
The Lord of the Rings, The Third Age molds Middle-earth into a traditional turn-based frame, and while the results aren't all that great, the game carries some pretty good features and should appeal to fans of the source material.Nov 4th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Just RPG (72 out of 100) (72%)
Although The Third Age is an interesting take on The Lord of the Rings, it doesn't seem to work as well as the The Two Towers or The Return of the King. While the game does a nice job of allowing the player to view Middle-Earth, it just doesn't seem to work well in other areas.2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
4Players.de (71 out of 100) (71%)
Das rundenbasierte Kampfsystem alter Schule mit seinen teilweise spektakulären Effekten hingegen ist gelungen, wird aber zu sehr in den Mittelpunkt gerückt: Im Prinzip hangelt man sich die ganze Spielzeit über nur von Kampf zu Kampf, kassiert Belohnungen und schaltet eine der über 100 Sequenzen aus den Filmen frei, die erzählerisch auf die sechs Recken des dritten Zeitalters abgestimmt wurden. Da die Optik der Filme trotz der Bewegungsarmut gut eingefangen wurde und sowohl Charaktere als auch Gegner richtig gut aussehen sowie dank der Musikweitere Filmatmosphäre aufkommt, dürften Herr der Ringe-Fans trotz aller Mankos Spaß an dem kampflastigen RPG haben, das die bekannte Geschichte aus einem neuen Blickwinkel zeigt. Wer hingegen ein erzählerisches Epos erwartet, wird eher enttäuscht werden, da es diverse Alternativen gibt, die in diesem Bereich mehr zu bieten haben.Nov 21st, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
GamePro (US) (3.5 out of 5) (70%)
It's hard to find fault with the concept behind Third Age; from a marketing perspective, Final Fantasy and LOTR probably seemed like a perfect match. But you can't crudely shoehorn two disconnected franchises together without bringing something unique and worthwhile to the table. Truly voracious fans of both LOTR and Final Fantasy will likely enjoy Third Age, but discriminating role-players should probably grab for a different ring.Nov 10th, 2006 · PlayStation 2 · read review
GameSpy ( ) (70%)
There are better RPGs on the market. There are better LotR games on the market too. If you've exhausted all those possibilities, then give The Third Age a shot. At this time, with so many fabulous games available, only the most hardcore LotR fans should buy this game immediately. It's worth experiencing, but I'd wait for the post-holiday price cut.Nov 4th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Worth Playing (7 out of 10) (70%)
It isn't Tolkien. It isn't even always consistent. Yet, Lord of the Rings: The Third Age does exactly what it sets out to do and no more by laying down a passable combat engine and little else. In a way it's almost refreshingly straightforward, but it certainly isn't worth paying out full price for, considering the flaws and the fact that you'll beat it in, oh, under a week.Dec 11th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Jeuxvideo.com (13 out of 20) (65%)
Le pari de concurrencer les RPG nippons avec un jeu de rôle basé sur le Seigneur des Anneaux était ambitieux, mais le contrat est loin d'être rempli pour Electronic Arts. Si on le dépouille de son habillage luxueux dû à la licence de la trilogie cinématographique, Le Tiers Age affiche des faiblesses que ne pardonneront pas les habitués des jeux de rôle au tour par tour sur consoles. Reste un titre divertissant que ne laisseront pas passer la plupart des fans.Nov 5th, 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
UOL Jogos ( ) (60%)
"Third Age" é uma prova que a criação de um RPG tradicional exige um tipo de experiência e longos cronogramas de produção que não podem ser substituídos por um orçamento generoso. Apesar disso, os não-iniciados no gênero que gostam de Tolkien podem ver isso como uma alternativa light para mergulhar novamente na deliciosa Terra-média.Jan 6th, 2005 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Boomtown (6 out of 10) (60%)
Even if that fun does wear off after ten or thirty hours, there’s no denying the amusement factor. If you looked around a bit you’d probably find that it’s been reduced in the sales too, which is perhaps the best news for fans.Jan 7th, 2005 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Game Revolution (C) (50%)
The best The Third Age has to offer has already been seen in The Two Towers and The Return of the King action games, both of which benefited from hectic real-time combat and the ability to use actual characters from the movies instead of poorly conceived stand-ins. If you're dying to play a Middle-Earth RPG, we recommend waiting to check out Middle-Earth Online, if it ever comes out. And if you just can't wait to relive all the coolest moments from the films, spare yourself a few bucks and go rent the movies.Nov 2004 · PlayStation 2 · read review
Super Play (Sweden) (3 out of 10) (30%)
Jag skulle kunna mala på i all evighet om löjligt överdrivna level up-blixtar, ologisk story och brist på roliga finesser, men jag tror ni fattar vad jag tycker om det här skräpet. Det är en studie i katastrofal berättarteknik, och ett spel som inte på långa vägar lever upp till sitt namn. Tolkien roterar som ett grillspett i sin grav.Oct 2004 · PlayStation 2
Snackbar-Games.com (0 out of 5)
Aside from the gameplay, there is really nothing that makes this game worthwhile. I had a lot of fun playing it (building characters is something I enjoy immensely, but that's all that this game really has to offer). At the same time I feel like I wasted my life investing 45 hours into this game that tries to be a whole lot more than it really is. Don't even buy a strategy guide. Trust me-believe me when I tell you-you won't need one. This game is so simple it's beyond disgusting. If you want a good turn-based game, play any Final Fantasy. Stay as far away from this one as you can.Jan 20th, 2005 · PlayStation 2 · read review
A shamelessly derivative RPG with a tantalizingly cinematic feel. Fans of the films take note.
EA Redwood does an excellent job of recreating the look and feel of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy for The Third Age. The environments (including Moria, Rohan, and Osgiliath) are all convincingly rendered, and even include little landmarks you might remember from the films or the book. The music is all taken from Howard Shore's original score for the movies, and is incorporated into the game very well. Characters in your party, as well as the enemies you fight, are also consistent with the look of the culture they represent (Elves wear form-fitting steel, Gondorians don plate mail, etc). As a nice touch, weapons and armor that you find will change the appearance of your character, which helps to keep the game interesting.
As an RPG, The Third Age is years behind the curve in terms of game design. The battle system is the same old turn-based stuff you've been playing for decades, which little innovation apart from lots of some-what impressive spell effects. A few of the fights are genuinely interesting, such as a tussle with the Balrog or the Witch King, but those sequences are few and far between, and the rest of the game by comparison is downright monotonous.
Wandering around environments taken straight from the movies is kind of fun for a while, especially when you locate some of the treasure chests which are often well-hidden. However, you'll quickly get a sense that the game is extremely linear, and any branching paths just lead to more chests or an ambush by the enemy. The map system points out pretty clearly where you have to go next, which sadly eliminates most of the challenge of finishing the game.
Finally, there's the issue of character development. The Third Age features an original cast of Middle-Earth adventurers whose quest intertwines with the path of the heroes of the Fellowship. This would be an interesting opportunity to explore a variety of personality dynamics and paint an epic tale of modern fantasy (because, after all, most RPGs are story driven), but EA forgoes all of that and settles for character exposition the likes of "Meet Hadhod. He's a Dwarf." This simple-minded method of story-telling can only mean that the designers either don't know anything about Middle Earth, or don't really care.
The Bottom Line
In truth, there are much worse RPGs on the market than The Third Age. But with flawed character writing, derivative gameplay, unscheduled boredom, and absolutely zero replay value, it's very difficult to recommend this game to anyone but rabid fans of the movies. But after a few hours of gameplay, even the most devoted fans will see through the cinematic window-dressing to the unremarkable RPG that this game truly is.
by The Cliffe (1552) on May 5th, 2008 · PlayStation 2
SchhwWWWingTchrrr!!! Yeah THX, that's what a bow sounds like...
The Lord of the Rings saga (one of the FEW things to come out in 20 years that deserves to be even called a saga) is undoubtedly epic. I don't even need to say that, you know it - J.R.R. Tolkien's seminal work has been put to film and it is pretty darn good.
And of course, there's been media galore - at least two dozen games on many platforms (some better than others), A table-top game (by Games Workshop) an RPG in the D20 system published by Wizards of the Coast - the list goes on.
So how does this attempt to do a traditional platform RPG stack up?
LET'S TALK GAME-PLAY
- Camera is very co-operative, it'll let you check out your outfit and moves around obediently.
- The run speed is appropriate, the terrain finding is maybe a little rounded (the programmed floor goes has a wide radius around obstacles) but keeps you moving.
- There are a lot of chests all over the place.
- The level design is logical and lets you know when a boss-fight is coming.
- The menu system is easy to move around in.
- The battle menu is organized the same for each character, although they all have different abilities.
- Evil Mode is one of the most fun mini-games I have seen in an RPG and they do right to brag about it on the back of the box here - playing as the Balrog and smashing Gandalf and your own party is tons of fun!
LET'S TALK GRAPHICS
- They spent a lot of time getting the art design right on this and it shows. Considering the graphical limitations of the PS2 they designed the faces of the known characters first and then followed suit with the story characters. I appreciate the effort.
- The armor and weapons (visible) look great, I always applaud an RPG that takes the time to SHOW me that new breast-plate or ax I picked up. And the fact that they know enough to break the armor down into the base components - greaves, frauld, bracers, etc. That took dedication. And the armor you find throughout the game matches the look of what you previously had, so that your battered suit of simple armor evolves into a citadel guard ornamental suit rather than seeming to be mis-matched pieces. Very thoughtful.
- The backgrounds are matches with the movies, some exceptions made. The up-close are nice, the far-off horizons are a little blurry but okay.
LET'S TALK STORY
- Unfortunately this is where the game tacks a bit of flak from people. I personally think the story is perfectly okay for a traditional RPG - hell, at least the main character has DIALOGUE in this one. How many times did Cloud even talk in FF7? The real showcase of the game is the setting. The game knows that, and if you didn't get it I'm sorry.
- The characters stay pretty true to the Tolkien established archetypes (and he painted some pretty broad strokes), with a few influences from the movies and set design.
- I like how you bump into canon characters in a way that does not under-mine (exactly) the movies. You fight the Balrog alongside Gandalf before he leads it to the narrow edge, etc.
LET'S TALK SOUND
- Well, this game will use your speakers. All over this thing is plastered "THX certified sound", and they mean it. Check below for how I feel about that.
LET'S TALK GAME-PLAY
- The map designs, and especially the mini-map are very weird. They feel the need to outline every walk-able space and leave obstacles excluded. More, the shape of the maps is just oblong all to heck. What this does is have you running towards a poorly defined 'glow' on your mini-map but with just a general indication of direction rather than a solid idea of where it is. You can zoom out, but oddly never enough to see where you are going. That is just awkward. What would I do better? I'd either break the maps into smaller chunks or have a visible 'over-map' for an area in the menu.
- Too many chests. I never thought I'd say this, but there are too many chests in this game. In a true RPG the presence of a treasure chest is a rare treat and a cause for a celebration. Here I'm thinking "Ugh, again? What useless crap is in this box? Is Gandalf going to pop out and spout pointless exposition?"
- "Epic Scenes From Middle Earth" - I understand that having Sir Ian McKellan in the studio makes it tempting to use him, but for crying out loud these are boring and pointless! And there are almost a hundred of them! Every dang time I open a chest it asks "Would you like to hear poor Ian ramble on for two minutes while we show ambiguous clips from the movies?" NO!
- Although there are maybe three or four complete sets of armor for each party character there are at least 25 different swords for the main character - why in the heck do I need so many?
- Just like ,Legaia 2: Duel Saga this game is bogged down in stats that really don't mean jack squat to me. Every piece of equipment in the game has modifiers for elemental resistance, that change your core stats, as well as complicated armor values against piercing/blunt/slashing - Why? There are less than two dozen distinct enemies in the game, why is it acting like it is some grand open-ended RPG? Even the Final Fantasy series, in its hey-day, didn't bog combat down with meaningless stats. What the heck do I care for water resistance stats?
- The items are atrocious. I know I complained in my Legaia 2 review about useless items but this game takes the cake, there are pages of status or stat changing items that you will never use. This game does not require the level of tactics that the items suggest.
- Item crafting. Again, this game forgets its scope! You really think I want to spend that many turns in battle crafting items? I added it up, it's about 500 turns to get to the last item you can craft. You'll understand what I'm complaining about in a few seconds here.
- Where do I buy stuff? I know that in the movies they didn't have time to stop by 'ye store', but a staple of traditional RPG's (by which I mean the ones with all of the stats and equipment) needs to have stores.
- They could have made more content when it comes to monsters. As I said there are maybe two dozen unique enemy types.
- The real pitfall here is the ascribed blandness of the characters. Ironically, more than anything, it feels like a D&D game where the characters are in it for the combat and are not interested in playing their characters. You might as well call the Elf 'Elf', the Dwarf 'Dwarf', and the Ranger... you get the idea. They really are pale versions of the character (in the story) their class hails from. In a strange way this is circular, our (D&D and RPG) idea of what an Elf is like derives from LOTR, same with a Dwarf, so the stereotypes do not work well here.
- Finally we get to the beef! I have never seen sound design (and I'm not even talking voice acting) destroy a game before. I can't believe I played this some five years ago and didn't remember how bad it is. Maybe I played it on mute or something. One attack you will use often is your Ranger's 'aimed shot ability'. This involves him drawing a bow and firing one shot.THX technicians live in a bizarre world where the sound of this bow drawing is a mix between a circular saw, an elephant roar, a .45 caliber gun cocking, and buried in the background the sound of a rope stretching. Honestly, nothing in this world sounds right! The special attacks are just cringe-worthy, but even the normal effects are ridiculous. Sword strikes on flesh sound like striking sheet metal with a lightning rod! What in the hell?
- The noises the enemies make are loud, repetitive, and equally silly. In one boss fight you face two Uruk-Hai spearmen who do nothing other than scream at the top of their lungs (phlegm shooting everywhere) for a full five seconds before running forward and stabbing you. This is all they do.
**The Bottom Line**
This game has a serious disconnect between what it is and what it thinks it is. The writer and the director did not get together on this one. It plays like an action RPG but it is built on a very complex (like Final Fantasy Tactics complex) system of rules that you will never care about because it is an action RPG! How Electronic Arts failed to see this is baffling - they had already made action RPG's out of the movies, hell, they were good ones too! And all you had to do in them was get XP and level up! Just add simple armor elements to your existing formula and call it a day.
At the end of the day this isn't a horrible or unplayable game, if it had nothing to do with LOTR I would call it absolutely mediocre. The fact that is does have to do with LOTR actually does nothing for it - it's getting away without having to come up with original locations or monsters in return for the cheap thrill of playing as the Balrog.
by Kyle Levesque (905) on Jan 19th, 2012 · PlayStation 2
One of the best games I have ever played and the reason I regret upgrading to PS3 as it hasn't been brought out for it. It's a nice game the family can play too. Unlike most of the PS3 games for Lord of the Rings the violence is not graphic. Easy to learn to play. Great story line. Good characters.
The Bottom Line
Excellent. A must buy game. And one that most definitely needs to be brought out for the PS3!!!!!
by Lisa Buckle (1) on Oct 3rd, 2014 · PlayStation 2
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by Spenot, Patrick Bregger, Alsy, Jeanne, chirinea, Joakim Kihlman, Jacob Gens.