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. With a familiar world to explore and many ways to do so, you play The Third Age over and over.
  2. 92
    This game does have a truly compelling story though. I found myself playing till I could not look at the screen any longer. The addition of the movie footage with Ian McKellen narrating a completely different story was genius.
  3. While the game is a little bit on the simple side with its RPG elements, The Third Age offers up a compelling blend of great gameplay, fantastic graphics and sound, and a faithful representation of the Lord of the Rings universe.
  4. The Third Age, the company’s entry into the traditional RPG genre, takes some liberties with the Lord of the Rings story but matches it with conventional RPG gameplay to produce a compelling RPG.
  5. 88
    It’s not quite the free-range RPG that we’ve been hoping for where we can prance along the fields on horses playing as Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli permanently, but its close enough to make for a great game.
  6. With a pinch of a few extended scenes from the upcoming ROTK Extended Edition, an exorbitant amount of film footage with narration by Sir Ian Mckellen and Sir Christopher Lee, the game is packed with lots to watch and places to explore. It comes highly recommended.
  7. 85
    This combat heavy RPG delivers the goods, although some die hard RPG fans may be put off by its overly streamlined approach. The action is fast, with no lulls in gameplay from beginning to end.
  8. Game Informer
    Filled with amazing battles and worthy strategy, and anchored by strong gameplay. [Dec 2004, p.166]
  9. 80
    The game lacks the complicated character advancement common in the genre, but it's fast-paced, looks and sounds great, and will keep casual RPG and Lord of the Rings fans happy.
  10. AceGamez
    A stylish RPG that authentically represents Middle Earth from the book and the film trilogy. Whilst the gameplay is both enjoyable and addictive, it is also very traditional in style and does nothing at all to further the genre.
  11. It's involving, very, very slick, and you really do feel part of an ongoing quest. Oh yeah, and there's no hobbits either.
  12. GMR Magazine
    Frustrating but not impossible, The Third Age brings genuine LOTR authenticity and a believable RPG together - a fellowship that works. [Jan 2005, p.112]
  13. You have a fun combat system, great character customization, gorgeous graphics, and enthralling audio. But on the other hand, the pathetic story, unbalanced difficulty, repetitive second half of the game, short game length, and unforgivable bugs and glitches really drag down what is largely an enjoyable game to play.
  14. A lightweight, easy but solid RPG that has no famous faces, little chance to make choices and hardly any fresh ideas. [GamesMaster]
  15. The Third Age molds Middle-earth into a traditional turn-based frame, and while the results aren't all that great, the game carries some pretty good features and should appeal to fans of the source material.
  16. You will not find much of a challenge, or even a particularly long adventure as far as RPGs are concerned. What you will find is a game that will make you lose track of time, as you will be too engulfed in the experience.
  17. Unfortunately, the switch to turn-based play also means a severe reduction in how much fun it is to play cooperatively with friends. Basically each person trades off controlling one of the characters you're fighting with, which sounds like more fun than it is.

Awards & Rankings

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

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 66
  2. Negative: 4 out of 66
  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.