Works on: Windows (2000, XP, VISTA, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11)
The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring is a 2003 real-time strategy game (RTS) developed by Liquid Entertainment, the makers of the previous Battle Realms and its expansion, Winter of the Wolf. It was published by Sierra Entertainment. Set in Middle-earth, it expands upon the events of the War of the Ring as told in The Lord of the Rings. Unlike the later The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth by Electronic Arts, War of the Ring is based solely on the books, not on the films by Peter Jackson. Thus, characters such as Frodo and Aragorn look and sound different from their counterparts depicted in the films.
The game features a horde of different warriors that can be employed by one of the two available faction, Free Peoples and Minions of Sauron, referred to as Good and Evil in the game. Environments range from Mirkwood to the barren stretches of Mordor, and each contain numerous settings, including ruined cities, Elven forests and Dwarven mountains. Despite its mystical appearance, and fairly diverse three dimensional environments and buildings, the game has been the subject of some criticism, due to the fact that its style of play is highly similar to that of Warcraft III. Its production being received by fans as mediocre, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, which was considered a major hit, followed closely in its footsteps.
The game plays much like Warcraft III with added features, some previously used in Battle Realms. A similar layout and control system is used, and the player gets to control hero units with special abilities. Most regular units also have abilities of their own. The game also follows standard RTS conventions by having rally points, unit creation, and purchase of upgrades at certain buildings, etc.
Some features from Battle Realms that were carried over include toggleable walking and running for units and the ability to set buildings on fire. The game also emulates Battle Realms’ yin and yang system, where combat experience (or special actions) would provide a special resource that could be used to buy upgrades or units. This resource is called Yin or Yang in the previous game, depending on the faction being used, and is called Fate here. The player can use Fate Points (gained in combat) to summon Heroes, purchase their special abilities, and activate special faction-specific Fate Powers that will aid him or her in gameplay such as summoning an Ent or a Balrog. Some influence from Warcraft III can also be seen, with the Minions of Sauron corrupting land with War Posts before they can build upon it — very similar to Warcraft's blight.
Unique to the game are the Places of Power, monuments that award bonuses (e.g., increased armor or attack) if controlled by the player. The player takes control of one by either finding on the map (by having a unit go near it) or wresting it from the foe (killing guards, if any, or else taking it when left unguarded).
The game features two factions to choose from: The Free Peoples of Middle-earth (the Good side) and the Minions of Sauron (the Evil side). The Free Peoples include Men – Men of Gondor and Rohan, the Dúnedain of the North – as well as the Elves, Dwarves, Beornings and Huorns. Playable heroes on this side include the Fellowship of the Ring, as well as others such as Faramir and Erkenbrand. The Minions of Sauron include the various kinds of Orcs and Goblins, Warg Riders, Trolls, the Haradrim, and Giant Spiders. Playable Evil heroes include Gollum, Saruman, and the Lord of the Nazgûl.
The game features a Good and an Evil campaign, in which one fights the War of the Ring from opposing sides. The game does not dwell on prominent battles apart from the Battle of the Hornburg in the Good campaign, but rather presents scenarios based upon Tolkien’s writings with varying degrees of license taken. For example, the Good campaign starts with Gimli and the Dwarves fighting the Orcs in the Iron Hills, and one Evil mission has Grishnákh destroying the warning beacons of Gondor. A relatively more faithful scenario is Boromir and Faramir leading Gondor forces to defend Osgiliath before Boromir leaves for Rivendell.
The game also features a multiplayer mode of gameplay, where players fight against either the computer (skirmish) and/or other humans (via network) on preset or user-created maps. Like Battle Realms, this mode includes several variations like Razing and Survival.
The entire game is divided into several playable categories. Players have the power to chose from playing a single skirmish game as either Good or Evil, a campaign game as either Good or Evil, or an online game with other players as Good or Evil. In addition to these, the player may also take the tutorial, a preset game that explains the way to move, attack, and give orders to your units. Playing the skirmish game is the simplest of the three main options, as no storyline is involved, and thus the player can utilize the full array of units, abilities, and buildings available. Playing a campaign game is very different, as a storyline is involved, and the player must follow that predetermined storyline in order to advance to the next stage of the campaign. Online play is the same as the skirmish, with the exception that you play against another player rather than a computer.
Whilst playing, you will order a variety of units around using the mouse, these units will vary depending on your faction, and use them to fulfill the predetermined victory condition, usually the destruction of your enemy faction. Occasionally, units you control will come into contact with enemies, and battle will be optional. During battle, units' health will be reduced with each blow from the enemy, although this can be altered with healing or protecting spells. When a unit's health is fully reduced, it dies, or in the case of Heroes, vanishes in a beam of light. Heroes that have been killed may be regenerated at the camp, though losing one in a campaign may be a losing condition. At the camp, units are created from a number of buildings, provided there are sufficient resources with which to do so, which range from barracks to stables, and, as with troops, are destroyed when under prolonged attack from enemies. Spells and sorcery also come into play, and can boost the efficiency of units or cause damage to enemies.
Release Date: November 8, 2003
Works on: Windows (2000, XP, VISTA, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, 11)
Size: 762 MB
Game features: Single Player
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