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The Lord Of The Rings: The Battle For Middle-Earth Review

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Rewrite Rings History

★★★★

After a spate of chart-topping hack ’n’ slashers, it’s no surprise that EA decided to cash in with another Rings-themed effort. But in using Peter Jackson’s trilogy as the backdrop for a cerebral strategy game rather than a kid-friendly brawler, it’s finally delivered a title in tune with the director’s epic vision.

Like Jackson’s films, Battle excels in its grandiose presentation and sense of scale; the skirmishes — all based on key scenes — each feature hundreds of warriors, from the Elves and Orcs who clash hand-to-hand, to the towering Ents and Oliphaunts that trample entire battalions underfoot.

Hardcore strategy fans may feel cheated, as the controls are less complex than they’d expect, having been dumbed down for a wider audience, but being able to focus on the grandeur of the clashes rather than micro-managing your troops makes for a more engaging experience; you don’t have to tell your swordsmen to protect your archers, for example — they’re smart enough to fight their own battles.

The in-game movies and music also do a fine job of capturing the spirit of the films, but it’s the chance to control the forces of Sauron and re-write Rings history that makes this irresistible.

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