Then There are the Downfalls
I have to admit that the War of the Ring mode is really cool, but it feels a lot like Risk (the board game). While it is not really a complex game, the management that you actually have over the battle is really low. Pretty much, you manage your territories and move your armies around here and there. You only have two building nodes in each territory with only four choices for buildings, you really have to think about what you want, and need, to build where to keep your army strong and your area fortified. And, with each territory, you have to consider the bonuses that you get for certain things as well before you build there.
To capture more territories for your army, you have to battle against the opposing side. You can do this one of two ways in the "War of the Ring" mode: either you can have the computer automatically generate results for the battle or you can choose to play them on your own as you would in a normal military strategy game. If you decide to play on your own, then you will drop down into the province map and then play out the battle there. And, just like in any other military strategy game - when you sipe the other side, you win.
But, even the "War of the Ring" mode is not really all that great either. For example, if you capture a territory and then build up a huge base there and then the other side invades that territory, most of the things that you just built will disappear and you pretty much start over again. I mean, that is ok, but it gets really frustrating, especially when you win all of the battles, and it's not really a "real" scenario since you have to completely rebuild everything and not just some things. So, when you are fighting, these big developed armies can now just disappear in battle because the buildings needed to train them are now gone. This makes no sense to me.
Aside from that, at least you can build your own avatar for the game, which is pretty decent. But, this new perk isn't as good as it could be - for example, I have seen tons of free to play MMO games on the web that offer tons more choices than this one does. So, I feel that they could have easily put in a little more here. Also, the music and other sound effects are decent still. Some of the voices are still found here from the first edition of this game, and those who are true Toklien fans will love that they kept Ian McKellen's voice as Gandalf and Christopher Lee's voice as Saruman to declare the victory after one side wins. This is still a cool touch to the game. And for those other big named actors whose voices aren't found in the game, they managed to find some great substitutes that make it sound realistic and as close to the movie as possible.
The next and final part of this review series will go over the few remaining areas of this game that save it from being rated a 2 or 3 on my scale.