A huge blockbuster franchise that began with a series of intricately detailed novels, The Lord of the Rings is unparalleled in it’s vivid depiction of a fantasy world. Of course, videogames have got in on the action, and moreso following the success of the movie trilogy. But which The Lord of the Rings games are worth your time?
The Best The Lord of the Rings Games
In true Chit Hot fashion, we’ve dug deep into the annals of game history to deliver you a rundown of the seven best The Lord of the Rings games ever. We’re taking into account all formats, all ages and all genres. So, without further ado…
The Third Age
For all the hack-n’-slash games The Lord of the Rings has endured, there’s also a number of interesting alternatives. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is one such unique game. An RPG that’s split between exploration and turn-based combat. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age was published by EA back in 2004. The narrative is loosely aligned with the film trilogy, centered on a group of heroes that are aiding the quest to destroy the One Ring.
Players are able to freely explore areas until they trigger a battle sequence, offering action similar to a turn-based RPG. Players can level-up their characters and armour themselves as they wish, but there’s a distinct lack of depth in these systems.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings
We’re all familiar with the LEGO videogames series by now, right? Beginning back in 2005 with LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, the series has now birthed countless instalments based on dozens of franchises. LEGO The Lord of the Rings doesn’t deviate from the formula too much; if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Right?
The Two Towers
So while we bemoaned the many hack-n’-slash titles The Lord of the Rings has bore witness to, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers isn’t half-bad. It has a tangible feel to the combat clearly influenced by the Dynasty Warriors games of the era and special attacks that directly referenced the accompanying movie. The follow-up, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, attempted to repeat this formula to a lesser degree of success.
Middle-Earth – Shadow of War
The ‘Shadow of’ games have become known as excellent The Lord of the Rings experiences. However, those who have already glanced ahead may wonder why Shadow of War is ranked lower than Shadow of Mordor. Well, quite simply, in trying to up the scale of the experience quite a few missteps were made. Most famously, the attempts to gouge the player through unwelcome microtransactions. These were soon removed, but the damage was already done.
Middle-Earth – Shadow of Mordor
So, now we come to Shadow of War‘s predecessor. Debuting in 2014, Shadow of Mordor received significant critical acclaim. Not only did it offer a detailed world, involving story and intense combat, but also the hugely popular Nemesis System. This involved character enemies developing a hatred for you for a specific reason – you killed their buddy or previously beat them in a fight – and attempting to enact their revenge.
The Battle for Middle-Earth II
We’ve had a lot of action so far, but The Lord of the Rings also allows for battles of an epic scale. And that’s exactly where The Battle for Middle-Earth II fits in. As you may have guessed by its title, this is a sequel to the unsurprisingly named The Battle for Middle-Earth. However the sequel delivered that strategy experience ten-fold with the addition of dozens of new units and campaign options. Not only is it one of the best The Lord of the Rings games, but it’s also one of the best RTS games on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age – Total War
You said you wanted epic battles? Look no further than the masters of grand scale strategy gaming, Creative Assembly. The Lord of the Rings is one of few franchises that the Total War franchise has represented, but did so with both grace and flair. A clear understanding of not just the source material, but also what gamers would want from a The Lord of the Rings strategy game, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age – Total War has earned it’s place as the best The Lord of the Rings game ever.
…or so far, at least.