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on 9 January 2013
It's true this game is limited in a lot of ways as noted by other reviewers. However, it can be fun, especially if you enjoy turn-based games as I do and just treat it as a challenge.

Unlike some other reviewers, I found that this game grew on me. True you can have a battle in which you don't even get an attack before you are stunned and slaughtered. However, every time that happened I found a way to field different characters or use them in a different way to win.

A few of tips (70% through):

(i) Invest in Speed in at least 1, probably 2 characters. It means you usually get to act first in a fight.
(ii) Once you have the rings that give you the light and shadow spell lists, start using the powers (even if usless) in battle to start gaining new powers from those lists. A couple of these at least are invaluable (dispel and silence) and will save your life in some battles. Idrial seems the best for this - I maxed her spirit power.
(iii) Concentrate on Berethor and Idrial for levelling up. They are the most essential in the party. Morwen is fun later on as she can steal XP, health and action points.

Hope that helps.

Worth a buy at a low price if this is your kind of game.
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on 2 August 2008
You'd expect a RPG from EA based on a film of a book to be a complete cash in but oddly it isn't,(I have the 'action'game Two Towers and really haven't bothered with it),granted The Third Age doesn't stray from RPG norms,turn based battles,equipment.levelling up,overdrives(perfect mode)etc..but what it does it does well,the graphics are nice,especially the Balrog,the music and sound effects are convincing,you don't play the named characters but 'supporting' characters, it's like playing Kyle Katarn in the Jedi Knight game and not Luke or Han,ultimately who cares?,my only gripe is the hundred or so movie extracts,wading through them is a chore if you've seen the films,
I'm not a massive fan of the Peter Jackson films,I found them a bit bloated and ass-numbing,I much prefer the Ralph Bakshi animation and so only bought this on the cheap but as I say I was surprised and found it well worth the effort.
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on 7 January 2005
When I first saw this game I thought "a group that werent in the film or books but were apparently there all along in the background, what a poor attempt at milking the cash cow" as I'm sure a lot of others have. However I got it anyway as I thought I'd give it a try, the tie in has been reasonably well thought out and seems to work, seeing the main characters a little more often would have been nice, (my games 70 odd percent done and I havent seen Sam, Merry, Frodo or Pippin). When I first got into a battle I thought "cool its like Final Fantasy". The fights get VERY repetative after a very short while and you'll find yourself saying "ugh not another fight" . The fights are very basic, you run, hit them, run back, they do the same. Something that I'm not sure if anyones noticed is that the turn system is incredibly flawed, on a lot more than 1 occasion I've found that I had 1 turn, the enemy had at least 9, I've even counted upto 16 before dieing. This is VERY frustrating as if you die you have to endure another 30min of boring fights to get back t where you were, which means that it's going to be one of those games you give up on, unfortuantely, I expect very few people to endure the boring fights enough to actually complete it.
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on 19 July 2015
I haven't got a planned layout for this review so I'm just going to list the pros and cons that I have picked up on over the past two weeks of gameplay.

Pros:
-Nice graphics, character models look like actual people and the scenery isn't too bad to look at either. The items of clothing have significant enough differences in appearance and I especially like the special effects for the different moves used by the characters in game.
-Sound: Some interesting music although perhaps not particularly varied, the sound of weapons hitting flesh is satisfying.
-Environments are varied as you travel across middle earth in the footsteps of the fellowship from the LoTR trilogy.
-Variety in enemies is nice although the factions do seem to follow similar patterns: mage, sword and shield, twin sword etc.
-Play Time: A comfortable 10-12 hours if you rush through the game; around a couple of weeks to spend your time on.

Cons:
-Brutal respawn system: Some stages have save points few and far between and losing can be frustrating as a result (although it's not a particularly hard game for a strategy-RPG)
-Cheesy moments: some of the voice acting is loaded with cheese and is interspersed with very obvious lines ripped straight from the movies that just don't work in context.
-Replayability: Campaign, evil mode and Travel are the main elements of the game but by the end of the game there isn't much else to do but start from the beginning. Give us a sequel!

Overall: 8.5/10

(This is not a comprehensive review and doesn't cover everything but if you like Lord Of the Rings or anything fantasy combined with turn based strategy, then be sure to pick this up used for a low price, I had no problems with my <£2.00 copy and the game overall is a lot of fun, you barely even notice the cons.)
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on 10 January 2005
After playing KOTOR this game is very, very depressing. The battle system is just not realistic in the slightest. You wander around with a character (just one, not even the whole party on screen) and open chests and pray for a battle to start. You cant even see the enemies while you wander around, they just sort of zip you away to a battle screen which has little or nothing to do with where you are on the map. Then it gets worse. I like turn based combat, but this is lame. you have your attack turn, there is a sad little attempt at animated combat, then you RETURN to your spot. Its like some LOTR pokemon crossbreed. Very frustrating. I struggled through for about two hours only because I bought it. Then I gave up and bought Fable. Unless you are a total LOTR nut, I wouldnt bother. there are better games.
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on 12 April 2013
An interesting new take on the conventional Role Playing Game but still a fantastic one which I love. Every fan should give this a try.
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on 27 May 2013
Cut scenes throughout the game were not synced properly. the characters mouths would move and then 5 seconds later you would here what they said meaning half the time youd didnt get to hear what they were saying becuse the cut scene had finished.
around halfway through the game it also broke, my character was unable to move and stuck in one place.
This is why i have given it a 1 out of 5 as the seller shouldnt have sold a broken product.
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on 5 January 2005
First things first. If you're a LOTR purist, this game will probably annoy you, as it basically concerns a group of people going along and clearing up the mess that the Fellowship left behind.
Right. Here we go. The combat system and way you learn new skills in this game are exactly the same as Final Fantasy X-2, down to the way the menus are presented. You have a skill tree, and you learn new abilities by repeated use of skills lower down this tree. Even a lot of the abilities are the same as FF, with the item theft, armour shattering and the like. (Admittedly these aren't amazingly new ideas in an RPG, but nonetheless if I were squaresoft I'd be phoning my lawyers.)
The Third Age is a lot more linear than FF, though. You basically stroll along, kill some monsters, enter a different area, kill some monsters, levelling up very very rapidly all the while. Despite myself, I find this hugely enjoyable.
The Evil Mode is an interesting addition - once you complete a chapter, you get to play it through as the forces of Sauron, releasing new items for the main game. Don't be fooled by the ads asking if you will fight for the fellowship or destroy it. The Evil Mode is very much a bonus game, and not a Fable- or KOTOR-style different way of playing the main game.
Final criticism: I don't see myself playing this again once I complete it. There would be very little that could be done differently and playing exactly the same game twice doesn't really appeal.
So yes, this game has its flaws. Despite these, it is ridiculously enjoyable to play and the plot is fairly well done, in the way it is cut in with scenes from the LOTR films. Logically I know this game isn't that great but it's been a while since I've had so much straight-forward fun playing a game. (Incidentally, to my mind, this RPG style of game suits LOTR a lot more than the hack-and-slash combat that defined previous LOTR games.)
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on 10 March 2015
Amazed at how fast the product arrive and in good condition considering its 10 years old, plays fine no crashes or scratches on the disc (although a few on the case) and came complete with instruction manual. The whole thing brought much enjoyment and nostalgia no hassle whatso ever and a definite 5 star rating.
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on 23 March 2015
I enjoyed playing this game for the most part but it becomes completely unplayable after a certain amount of progress has been made. You watch a cutscene, a battle begins and then the screen just goes black yet the xbox guide button works.

Avoid this game.
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