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The Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age Review

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A more traditional role playing game set in Middle-earth

★★★★

While fans of the frenetic action in Peter Jackson’s trilogy were happily twatting
Orcs in last year’s console spin-off, Rings aficionados were miffed that Tolkien’s epic
had been reduced to a hack ’n’ slasher.
Thankfully, things are a little different this time.

A traditional roleplaying game in the Final Fantasy mould, The Third Age sees players commanding a group of warriors as they cross Middle-earth, slaughtering monsters in turn-based battles, solving puzzles and evolving their heroes from rookie fighters into Balrog-bashing bad boys.

The game follows a new gang of heroes, including a human citadel guard, a moody ranger and the obligatory sexy Elf. However, players
will find themselves crossing paths with Frodo’s mob at several points during the quest; when exploring the mines of Moria, for example, you’ll hear Gandalf scolding Pippin for knocking the armour down the shaft.

All the locations from the movies have been recreated in loving detail — as have all the Wargs, Trolls and Nazgûl you’d expect to meet on your travels — but as this latest Rings effort is still more focused on combat than exploration and puzzle-solving, it loses that fifth star.

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