Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 35
  2. Negative: 2 out of 35
Buy On
  1. While the game does a nice job of allowing the player to view Middle-Earth, it just doesn't seem to work well in other areas.
  2. This is not the best RPG title to be released this year by a long shot, but for those who wish to get into the world of Middle-Earth, The Third Age will satisfy some of the desire to become immersed in the story to a deeper level than the previous LOTR titles allowed.
  3. The cakewalk difficulty, absence of key characters from the book/movie and uneven control schemes (turn-based battles geared toward melee combat) overwhelm one’s gaming senses more than the detailed visuals (character animations are off though) and stellar audio.
  4. 70
    Character and story are two vital parts of RPGs. The Third Age fails in both departments.
  5. As for size, the game suffers because it lacks the depth of its competitors, but it still manages to offer more playable hours than the previous three EA Lord of the Rings releases.
  6. 70
    It takes more than formulaic adventuring and dusty turn-based combat to craft a role-playing title worthy of the LOTR name.
  7. Does exactly what it sets out to do and no more by laying down a passable combat engine and little else. In a way it's almost refreshingly straightforward.
  8. PSM Magazine
    This is too much like going to see a tribute band instead of the real thing. [Holiday 2004, p.73]
  9. games(TM)
    Sadly, the adventure itself is far too linear; there’s little in the way of side-quests, and you have no freedom over where you go or what you do. If you can overlook this, though, The Third Age does mix a neat battle system with a great franchise to provide a surprisingly enjoyable adventure. [Dec 2004, p.107]
  10. There's no denying the snippets shine with sheen, but while Frodo et al are off saving the world, your party feel like impostors - the real adventure is elsewhere. And it is - in a legion of other superior RPGs.
  11. Play Magazine
    Better suited for those who want to play an impressive companion piece to the movies rather than play a compelling RPG. [Dec 2004, p.62]
  12. An RPG that deftly copies "Final Fantasy X" but is burdened with a story that plays more like a "deleted scenes" bonus DVD than anything coherent. [Holiday 2004, p.104]
  13. A game that feels vaguely like chewing an endless pile of cream crackers. The cream crackers of vaguely interesting turn-based combat, interspersed with the odd sultana of story and the out-of-date marshmallow of film footage. [PSW]
  14. There is tactical depth, but it’s more busywork than anything else, given that despite your choices, the game is still relatively easy.
  15. An utterly average RPG gets an average score. Fantastic visuals and killer sound effects can't hide the fact that this is a marathon most gamers won't be able to finish.
  16. As promising as a role-playing game based on The Lord of the Rings mythos sounds, The Third Age’s reality is one of strict linearity, wacky plot foibles, and generic turn-based action.

Awards & Rankings

#51 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#29 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 65
  2. Negative: 4 out of 65
  1. Jun 14, 2012
    Picked this game up again after 7 years and it still feels fantastic. It aged well and I am having just as much fun with it this time around.Picked this game up again after 7 years and it still feels fantastic. It aged well and I am having just as much fun with it this time around. Buy it. Just do it. Full Review »
  2. GeoA.
    Jan 5, 2005
    I liked it a lot because it was so realistic it felt as though you were living the trilogy.
  3. John
    Jan 2, 2005
    The best RPG to date.