You may have heard about The Lord of the Rings Game or you may have even tried it at some point, after the insistence of a friend or maybe after reading a favorable review for it online. But what few of you know is that there are actually more than one game inspired from Tolkien’s writings, so a more accurate term would be Lord of the Rings Games. The Lord of the Rings Wiki has a list of 31 games (including antique ones), but only 4 of them are actually playable by our standards, so our guide will only describe these. (As a note, this list only contains video games, so we will not discuss the LEGO game, the board game, trading card game or the drinking game, no matter how much fun they too sound like.)
The Lord of the Rings Online
The online version of a Lord of the Rings video game (its cover pictured above) was released in 2007 by Turbine, which is now a subsidiary of Warner Bros Entertainment. It is not a simple browser game, which means it’s not free, but it is much more complex than one, making it worth every penny. The game is basically a massive online multi-player roleplaying game, where the characters actually remain dead if they die in the game (which, as we know, is pretty unusual risk for a computer game). However, this rather extreme set of rules made us like it even more, precisely for how alert one must be when playing. None of the other Lord of the Rings games packs such a thrill.
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
This is another RPG which was was developed by Snowblind Studios and released for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 (but not on Wii). It’s one of the best adventure and battle games you can find in the past years, right next to World of Warcraft, if you ask us, and arguably the best of the Lord of the Rings games, at least for the realism factor. As of September 2013, a new version of the game is also available for Mac. At the beginning of the game, you take control of one of the story’s heroes and play as that character, alone or through cooperation with other characters. This game is sort of a grown-up version of the older LOTR games (which we’ll get to right away), and is the first one to receive an M rating for graphic violence.
The War of the Ring
This real-time strategy game was released in 2003 by Liquid Entertainment. Also, it is the only one based on the books alone, and not on Peter Jackson’s movies as well. It has good graphics and a lot of magic in its atmosphere, but it has been targeted by critics on account of allegedly resembling Warcraft III too much. Since we here at Game Guide World were fans of Warcraft, we hardly see how this is a problem.
The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth
Another real-time strategy computer game, this one was considered the winner of the competition by critics and its numerous fan base. It was published by Electronic Arts and it has a sequel as well (The Battle for Middle Earth II). The interesting part about it is that you can play either a campaign for the side of the good, or for the side of evil, and experience the war effort from both sides of the story. The gameplay also highlights some of the lesser known aspects of the story from the books, which is another plus, if you’re passionate about the LOTR lore.
If any of the games on our list caught your eye (and we hope they all did), feel free to search for a walkthrough online; there are many tutorials ready to help any boy or girl advance through the game (similar to the Goblin Workshop system for WOW), but don’t expect to find any cheats. If you enjoyed the movie masterpieces The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, you’ll definitely enjoy playing one of the Lord of the Rings games as well. Have fun!