The Lord Of The Rings The Third Age
As with many role playing games, gameplay in Third Age is split into two different modes; third-person exploration through a 3D overworld, and combat mode, consisting of turn-based gameplay.
The Lord of The Rings The Third Age
Progression through the game is built around "Quests." Every area features multiples quests which must be completed in order to progress to the next area. All areas also feature several optional sidequests which do not have to be completed for progression, but which can yield substantial rewards if they are. When the player is in third-person mode, the HUD displays a map with the current objectives (primary and secondary) marked on it. As the player moves through the environment, one of two icons can also appear on-screen. If the Eye of Sauron appears, it means the player has a chance to encounter a random battle; the darker the eye, the more likely a battle will occur. If a blue Palantír appears, it means the player is approaching a story battle; again, the darker the icon, the closer the player is to the battle. However, not every scripted battle is indicated beforehand by a Palantír icon.
The system works well on the whole, though investing in abilities gets to be time consuming at higher levels. The special powers at least generally look great, with lots of shining swords held aloft and dramatic creaking of bowstrings, but there's only so much variation in them, and you're going to be seeing some of them hundreds and hundreds of times as you patiently raise your points in increments of one. The bulk of the powers are fairly short, but there's no way to skip the special-effects show manually. In addition, some of the effects seem to act oddly. It's possible for an enemy to register as immune to a stun, but then the enemy will appear stunned, drop off the list of action portraits--and then still be able to move normally. Also, some of the enemies have special abilities that will slow your turn or decrease your attack strength, but there are no icons onscreen to show you this. Sometimes you'll just be left guessing what exactly an enemy curse just did to you.
Insofar as music goes, if you appreciated the grand scores of The Lord of the Rings films, then you'll continue to appreciate them here; the music for the game is straight from the movies. The stirring orchestral and choral themes for the various characters and locales really serve to root you firmly in the Middle-earth experience. The voice acting is also excellent; Ian McKellan brings the same richness and nobility to the voice of Gandalf that he brought to the feature films, and the rest of the cast is also of very good quality. Again, it's a shame there isn't more original interaction between the characters in the game, as their dialogue fits the milieu perfectly as it's written, and it's acted just as well. All the sound effects in the game are excellent, from the gurgling of the uruk'hai to the clear ringing of steel blades held aloft to the subtle clinking of your armor and scuffing of pebbles and dirt as you run. The only slightly jarring note in the sound package is that some of the other characters you meet will speak in what is obviously recycled movie dialogue that has been repurposed for a slightly different scene, and it sounds out of place.
It lasted for 3021 years, only ending after the defeat of Sauron had finally and utterly been achieved by destroying his Ruling Ring. With the One Ring gone, the power of three rings waned and the realms that had been preserved by them began to fade. These events prompted many of the Eldar remaining in Middle-earth to sail for the Uttermost West, and so much memory and beauty were lost to Middle-earth for ever. With the Last Riding of the Keepers the Fourth Age began.
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