Generally favorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
Buy On
  1. Middle Earth isn't a strategy game for hardcore fans, but it's a well-thought-out, well-designed, well-animated entry. And the atmosphere, visuals and sounds from the movie trilogy definitely make that simplicity both welcome and worthwhile.
  2. Would be an impressive game even if it weren't based on Lord of the Rings. It's a clever and well-constructed strategy title with plenty of innovation of its own, and a genuinely great use of the franchise. Easily the best of the Lord of the Rings games to date.
  3. Perhaps the best RTS I have ever played, despite the fact that the source material bores me to tears.
  4. The production and sheer addiction make it easy to overlook the occasional camera problem.
  5. The overall result is excellent and probably this game together with "Rome: Total War" and "Warhammer 40k" represent the best of the RTS genre these days. Unfortunately, the system requirements proved too high sometimes, the AI had its bugs despite its quality, and this is why Battle for Middle Earth will not be one of the greatest RTS games in computer games history.
  6. With its ease of accessibility, it will appeal to most fans of the film with the exception perhaps, of only the hardcore strategists out there.
  7. And while it doesn't achieve the same epic sense of scale as Jackson's movies, it's still an engrossing and well-made real-time strategy game that captures the essence of J.R.R. Tolkien's wondrous world.
  8. 83
    The focus on combat is great, I just wish the combat had been as sterling as I had imagined it would be. The small number of units just doesn't provide the depth that I was hoping for.
  9. For hardcore strategy gamers Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth is a visual and aural feast but low on actual strategy since battles almost always descend into attrition.
  10. 80
    Arguably, it's good to have an RTS that is easy to jump into, but the economic systems and battle tactics might be too lightweight for some. Regardless, though, outside of starting your own New Zealand special effects company, no game will bring you closer to the battles of The Lord of The Rings.
  11. 77
    But it is the simplicity of the gameplay that is both a boon and a curse. For while BfME will appeal to many causal gamers or LOTR/RTS fans looking for some light entertainment it will seriously disappoint all those people who have been patiently waiting for the chance to lead the forces of light against the hordes of evil in a satisfyingly deep and engaging strategy game.
  12. Beneath the flash, the sampled voices, orchestral score, magnificent landscapes and monstrous animation lies a mess of inexplicable design decisions, bizarre mechanics, Fisher Price strategy and a strange disregard for Tolkien's story... It doesn't love the source material as much as you or I. And that's the biggest frustration of all. [PC Gamer UK]
  13. Typical EA first in the sense of unrelenting polish and presentation, of production values meant to wow you with glitz and glamour at every turn. Typical EA secondly in the sense of a don’t-rock-the-boat, stick-with-the-formula game that offers nothing new aside from a few odd bugs I’ve never seen in an RTS before.
  14. Faithful to the movie where it counts, but it's also fun and accessbile, even for non-RTS fans.
  15. 90
    Simplicity works both and for against BFME: on one hand it's appealing to the less hardcore, on the other it may leave those who enjoyed more complex games like "Kohan II" yearning for a bit more.
  16. GMR Magazine
    A spectacular work with an attention to detail that rivals the Peter Jackson films upon which it's based. [Feb 2005, p.96]
  17. The sheer scale of some of the battles is awe-inspiring, and with the same resource collection and unit creation system as the popular C&C games at the core of it all, there’s little fuss and you’ll be confidently laying siege to Helms Deep after just a few hours. [Jan 2005, p.109]
  18. AceGamez
    While perhaps lacking in real variety, base and resource management are at least handled in a way that prevents dragging the game down into tedium.
  19. Too lightweight to be a truly great RTS. Instead it's an amazing looking diversion that won't tax an intelligent player very much. A missed chance at something very special.
  20. Pelit (Finland)
    Great! The AI issues that plagued the European review version are long gone. Last year's second best RTS. The only thing lacking is modelling the morale of the troops. [Jan. 05]
  21. If you take a step back and try to pull away the The Lord of the Rings veneer, you’ll find that BFME is a competent strategy game in its own right. Add top quality production values and you have a game that holds up to the ideals and excellence of its license.
  22. PC Gamer
    What it lacks in complexity, it more than makes up for with intense action and ease of lay that consistently draws you back for more. [Feb 2005, p.48]
  23. Experienced players may be somewhat annoyed by the limited AI and rudimentary base building, but those drawbacks won't stand in the way of a surprisingly compelling game.
  24. Game Informer
    It's fun, fast, and simple without being dumbed-down. [Jan 2005, p.134]
  25. 85
    A good balance of entry level strategy and hardcore strategy and tactics.
  26. 85
    The plain gameplay, awkward balance, and poor optimization are flaws to be sure, but they are offset by stellar graphics, sound effects, and voice acting (all of which make for a very immersive atmosphere).
  27. Although you can perform the usual pan, zoom and rotate camera functions with your mouse, the camera just never feels comfortable, forcing you to constantly tweak on the fly further adding to your tasks.
  28. Despite its problems, BfME easily stands up to the extraordinarily high standard of RTS titles that we’ve been treated to this year.
  29. An epic game that captures the spirit of the films excellently. Fans of RPG's will enjoy the experience, whilst those who love the subject material will take delight in the smaller details and back-story progression that the game offers.
  30. 80
    While veteran RTS players may have some nits to pick with the relatively solid gameplay, those same fans of The Lord of the Rings series should find that the game shines as a playable re-creation of Tolkien's work.
  31. So how do the graphics look? Well I must say I was wholly unimpressed.
  32. While LOTR: BME has the makings of a great strategy title with its "Kohan II" fixed-bases and unit regeneration elements, the lack of consistency in the campaign, mixed with its more generic elements, make it a difficult game to love. [Christmas 2004, p.103]
  33. The Battle for Middle-Earth is not a story-driven game. It is simply a collection of different chapters in the history of Middle-Earth that you'll have to finish to defeat the other side. You get no explanation why you need to undertake certain actions or get involved in specific missions at a certain stage of the game.
  34. A thoroughly enjoyable game, but it’s not going to turn the RTS genre on its ear.
  35. 80
    Although its approach may irritate some purists, the movies' army of fans will lap it up.
  36. 80
    Though hardly a tactical marvel, Battle for Middle Earth delivers an exciting, fast-paced experience that successfully captures the feel and mood of the films.
  37. Computer Gaming World
    A decent RTS that makes great use of a movie license. [Feb 2005, p.90]
  38. Even though the missions may sometimes seem like an exercise in patience than of strategic might, this is still a great looking game that is a great experience to play.
  39. The interface is largely invisible, having been dramatically streamlined to make this a more intuitive experience for newcomers to the RTS genre.
  40. Much of the complexity of other real-time strategy titles has been stripped away to keep the game approachable and the pace lively, but it is disappointing that computer opponents are suicidally dim.
  41. Computer Games Magazine
    May not be the reinvention of the wheel, but it's certainly the best "Tolkien game" to date. [March 2005, p.70]
  42. The Battle for Middle Earth will not make you a part of the films any more than you were when you watched them, nor is it an RTS of incredibly epic scope. Instead, it is a solid, fun, slightly dumbed-down RTS.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 219 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 219
  1. Sep 27, 2010
    Battle For Middle-Earth is a really fun and enjoyable game it is very well made and has years upon years of gameplay and has stunning graphicsBattle For Middle-Earth is a really fun and enjoyable game it is very well made and has years upon years of gameplay and has stunning graphics for such an old game. This games campaign will drag you inside MIddle-Earth and allow you to follow in the footsteps of the movies. If you are a Lord Of The Rings fan this is a must get, I have been playing it for some time now and I enjoy it much more then any other game like StarCraft2. It has a few problems because if you have a large monitor for whatever reason doesn't let you start up the game but that can be fixed my going to the EA website and finding the solution to that problem. The people of EA LA are a great game developer and hopefully they will keep up the great job. Full Review »
  2. Bill
    Jan 30, 2005
    This game does a nice job of packing all the memorable characters and locations from the movies into a RTS package. That said, the game is This game does a nice job of packing all the memorable characters and locations from the movies into a RTS package. That said, the game is long, repetitive and lacks any strategic depth. It is great fun to stampede infantry with cavalry, but that is all you need to know to beat the game. And after 30 levels of playing equine bulldozer, you will be bored to tears. My advice: skip the optional levels - the required story-driven levels (Helm's Deep, Gondor, etc.) are the best part of the game anyway. And don't bother with the "evil" campaign - your successes don't alter the basic storyline and you miss many of the games better moments. Full Review »
  3. Dec 22, 2016
    Amazing, and nothing in the RTS genre of games will ever come close to the epic "Battle for Middle Earth" duology. Both titles areAmazing, and nothing in the RTS genre of games will ever come close to the epic "Battle for Middle Earth" duology. Both titles are spectacular, flawlessly executed. Full Review »