Metascore
67

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
Buy On
  1. Being one of the first strategy titles based on Tolkien's locus classicus, War of the Ring should introduce a good many movie fans to the strategy genre -- and most likely, no greater percentage of Ring fans exists than amongst the gaming demographic -- but veteran real-time strategy players might want to look elsewhere if depth is what they're seeking.
  2. 79
    If you're just looking for a game with some Tolkein lore and units, then this isn't a bad choice at all. Just don't expect to find anything ground-breaking or extraordinarily amazing inside. War of the Ring is a decent game, not great, but certainly not bad.
  3. A solid if not original effort through the much trodden RTS genre. The short technology tree doesn’t offer the gamer a whole lot to look forward to, and the missions aren’t very challenging either.
  4. PC Gamer
    78
    While War of the Ring does little to revolutionize the RTS genre, it does serve Tolkien's Middle-Earth admirably while letting you control the actions of the majority of its most storied denizens. [Jan 2004, p.98]
  5. Ultimately, the licence both saves the game, by giving even the most basic of its scenarios a degree of weight, and hinders it by causing regular moments where you double take, realising something isn’t quite right.
  6. It’s too bad that the gifts this game offers--and there are quite a few--are mired in repetitious, humdrum gameplay routines.
  7. 75
    While WotR is a good title that offers a lot of fun, it simply doesn't offer a game that's new or interesting enough to raise it from the pack of similar RTS titles available.
  8. Fantastical creatures abound in this RTS, but ultimately fail to capture the essence of Tolkien.
  9. If you enjoy strategy games you’ll probably like WotR, although hardcore RTS gamers may find it to be just an average game and only a light challenge.
  10. There are many issues conflicting with the actual story and we were rather disappointed that the game fails to convey the epic scope of Tolkien's mythology...Conversely, if you are a casual gamer looking to enjoy an RTS classic like "Battle Realms" and "Warcraft 3," this one should be right up your alley.
  11. This mix of tried and true RTS gameplay along with the polished production values added by an outstanding soundtrack and visual effects engine does much to enhance this game, but leaves the entire experience a little lopsided.
  12. The most glaring deficiency in this title is in the variety of units and factions. There are only two options of who to play as, and neither is comparable to anything in current RTS titles. [Jan 2004, p.156]
  13. A competent, if lackluster, effort that will probably appeal to Middle-earth fans and casual gamers who haven't played a lot of real-time strategy before. If you're a real-time strategy veteran looking for something fresh and exciting, don't look here.
  14. A fun but ultimately forgettable RTS. It’s a guided, open-topped bus tour of Middle Earth where you only stop at a the tourist places, buy a snow globe with a miniature Lothlorien inside, eat some Frodo-Fries, and never get to see any of the real place.
  15. GameNow
    67
    A solid yet basic and dated RTS. [Jan 2004, p.67]
  16. Computer Gaming World
    60
    A textbook case of glorious buildup and shattered expectations. [Feb 2004, p.72]
  17. Every thing about this game just feels generic and bland. There's absolutely nothing here that hasn't been done dozens of times before.
  18. 60
    The orchestral score and voice acting are good, and the detailed graphics are incredibly well animated, but those features and Tolkien’s story aren’t enough to distinguish this game from all the other strategy titles out there.
  19. 60
    The presence of only two playable sides, mission brevity, and overall simplicity will likely be a disappointment to some fans. However, it's a competently designed and well-packaged game that should appeal to casual gamers.
  20. 60
    War of the Ring's primary flaw is that it fails to really make use of its license. Remove the LOTR backdrop and names, and you could be playing any generic fantasy RTS game. It's missing the dramatic scope of the books.
  21. Play Magazine
    58
    The AI is pretty intelligent and will give a decent level of challenge, but when the game doesn't force you to think outside the box, it can get stale real quick. [Jan 2004, p.70]
  22. Those looking for a true and original real-time strategy challenge will be very disappointed with War of the Ring. Those looking for a game that truly captures the atmosphere of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will also be equally disappointed.
  23. netjak
    58
    The complete lack of innovation, uninspired online play and the inability to have a variety of units (why lump Dwarves, Elves, and Men into the same side?) cause the game to lose a lot of its luster.
  24. 55
    It's mild, tame, and exactly what you'd expect from the genre and a title trying to capitalize off of a prominent license: more of the same. Though not broken or particularly bad, this one is clearly middle of the road material.
  25. Computer Games Magazine
    50
    Has some lovely visuals but in the end is so passionless and denuded, it makes you feel dumb for having looked forward to it. [Feb 2004, p.54]
User Score
7.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 34
  2. Negative: 6 out of 34
  1. JamesB.
    Dec 8, 2003
    6
    Fun game through the eyes of a Tolkein fan. Wanders from the book but shows some insight to stage before the Council of Elrond. Gameplay is Fun game through the eyes of a Tolkein fan. Wanders from the book but shows some insight to stage before the Council of Elrond. Gameplay is simple and confusing. Can' wait to see what the next installment will be. Something to keep an eye on. Full Review »
  2. Jul 15, 2017
    10
    one of the few games who is based on the books and not the film adaptation
    with unique units such as huorns, Beorings, Elven lightbringers,
    one of the few games who is based on the books and not the film adaptation
    with unique units such as huorns, Beorings, Elven lightbringers, Dwarfs and such
    this game stays true the books in design and flavor

    the story is incoherent and it's mostly scenrios from the books and films, some were untold in the film (such as the siege of Minas Morgul, Gulloms escape from Mirkwood, etc...)

    soundtrack is masterfully executed, the clash of steel, the shouts of battle
    the battle victories quotes "Evil is trampled" (Rider of Rohan)
    and the MUSIC! oh god the music is the best thing in this game! (literally they recycled it into LOTR online because it was so good)

    physics and engine: this game was made from the battle realms engine
    which is far superior to WC3 because we have arrow physics (projectiles can miss, hit debris and such) there is enemy dismemberment if crushed by a strong unit (Beoring's special move, or a troll cleaver) and you got a toggle on/off for running (walking will continue the passive regen units have)
    plus units with fire upgrades/abilities (flaming arrows) will set buildings aflame
    same feature from battle realms actually

    overall the story is quite short, but very replayable
    A.I ain't no pushover, even on normal difficulty they will fight back, siege your bash, bleed your workers and such...

    if you love RTS, and if you love tolkien's work
    i HIGHLY recommend this rare masterpiece (i still own the disk from 2003)
    Full Review »
  3. MihaL.
    Sep 10, 2005
    10
    If you ask me this game is good!