Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
Buy On
  1. What makes this game a real standout, though, is its production value.
  2. 85
    Thankfully, 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.
  3. Third Age is the definitive Lord Of The Rings experience. It remains faithful to the film trilogy in terms of graphics and sound, and uses the licence to full effect, while at the same time delivering a captivating and enjoyable adventure. Good work EA.
  4. Game Informer
    Filled with amazing battles and worthy strategy, and anchored by strong gameplay. [Dec 2004, p.166]
  5. Redwood created a magnificent detailed Middle Earth, and fans of LOTR will be pleased because of that. Yet for those who regularly play RPG's the game offers nothing you have seen before, it suffers from repetitiveness and a more than mild difficulty level.
  6. 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.
  7. It's fun and will keep you playing for at least 30 hours if you go everywhere, find everything and kill everyone.
  8. It's involving, very, very slick, and you really do feel part of an ongoing quest. Oh yeah, and there's no hobbits either.
  9. 80
    Despite the problems faced in difficultly, story involvement and some other minor nit-picks, The Third Age is an amazing game that'll keep gamers occupied for an easy 20+ hours.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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]
  16. 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.
  17. 70
    For most of the game I felt like I was too powerful and things never really felt challenging. Again, I'm thinking that this is partly by design since the game has a mainstream license and will attract many casual gamers. (Damn casuals always ruin everything.)
  18. All in all, Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is steeped in high (if utterly borrowed) production values and serves as a perfectly solid RPG.
  19. 70
    It takes more than formulaic adventuring and dusty turn-based combat to craft a role-playing title worthy of the LOTR name.
  20. Nintendo Power
    A well-produced, if slightly generic RPG. [Jan 2005, p.136]
  21. It's also AMAZINGLY loud. Random battles erupt with an explosive screech sure to stain your sofa and almost every flick of the D-Pad on menus results in a baffling, ear-smashing clang.
  22. 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]
  23. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    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]
  24. A mediocre story just doesn't cut it anymore, and this one is especially mediocre because they are presenting a story everyone knows and do nothing to spice it up to keep us interested.
  25. 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

#45 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2004
#34 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 4 out of 20
  1. Feb 23, 2016
    Great game, playing on dolphin. The cutscenes and movie clips make it pretty comfy. I'm only half way through, but I already know it's a greatGreat game, playing on dolphin. The cutscenes and movie clips make it pretty comfy. I'm only half way through, but I already know it's a great game and worth my time. About to fire it up right now Full Review »
  2. MikeyB.
    Jun 6, 2005
    Great game for experienced players so if you have had a gamecube for ages buy this.
  3. JeshuaH.
    Apr 4, 2005
    Love the game.