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Top 10 BEST & WORST Lord of the Rings Games!

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Nathan Sharp Sometimes, you gotta take the good with the bad! Welcome to http://WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for both the Best and Worst Lord of the Rings Games ever! Special thanks to our user “drewgreat234” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Top 10 Best & Worst Lord of the Rings Games

Tolkien created a masterpiece, but these games are really hit or miss, aren’t they? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten best and worst Lord of the Rings games.

For this list, We’re going to be doing something a little bit differently, as we’ll be alternating between the five worst and the five best video games set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth.

#5: WORST: “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest” (2010)

“Aragorn’s Quest” is certainly not the worst Lord of the Rings game, but it’s not far off. It has a few things going for it, including Howard Shore’s orchestral score, decent voice acting by Sean Astin, and tons of enemies, which fill the screen and lend the game an epic vibe. On the other hand, the graphics were atrocious for a title released in 2010, the hit detection was spotty, and the game was far too easy and repetitive – which makes sense since it was intended for kids. While Lord of the Rings games have certainly been way worse, they’ve also been far, far better than this.

#5: BEST: “Lego The Lord of the Rings” (2012)

When one thinks of “The Lord of the Rings,” Lego is not usually what comes to mind. That said, this game is easily one of the most faithful entries in the Rings video game canon. Locations are beautifully realized and various facets are ripped straight from the films, including the epic music and sound effects, which helps the trilogy’s epic scope transition from film to game. It’s also a blast to play, complete with the signature “Lego” humour and some fun co-op mechanics. It’s not only one of the best “Rings” games, but arguably one of the best “Lego” games on the market.

#4: WORST: “The Hobbit” (2003)

In 2003, the film trilogy was wrapping up, and EA was killing it with their licensed video games. At the time, Vivendi Universal held the rights to the video game adaptations of Tolkien’s novels, and to get on the money train, they released “The Hobbit.” It is probably the most average thing you will ever play. While it was a great recreation of the novel, everything else about it was just bleh. The gameplay was a mediocre clone of “Zelda,” it was too easy, and it was geared for kids, which meant Tolkien fanatics were shafted. But hey, if you were 8 years old around the time of release, you probably enjoyed it!

#4: BEST: “The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II” (2006)

Real time strategy games may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, then you definitely need to check this game out. For one thing, the game is gorgeous to watch and listen to, and truly immerses you into the world of Middle-earth. It also obtained the licences for both the films and novels, so characters who didn’t make it to film make a welcome appearance here. The second game improved on the promise of the original, and both are truly among the most under-appreciated Lord of the Rings games out there.

#3: WORST: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2002)

And here we have another Vivendi release, except this time it’s less “most average game ever” and more “veering into bad” territory. The game, like “The Hobbit” after it, is a faithful recreation of Tolkien’s story, but the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. The combat is incredibly basic and boring, and there were some glaring pacing issues as you play through the slower sections of the novel. While two sequels were planned, EA completely obliterated this game with their “Two Towers” release one month later, and sequel plans were quickly scrapped.

#3: BEST: “The Lord of the Rings Online” (2007)

If there’s one licensed series that deserves an MMORPG, it’s “Lord of the Rings,” and luckily, this one delivers. It’s a fantastic Lord of the Rings experience, as it features arguably the most authentic recreation of Middle-earth in gaming, a fantastic soundtrack, and a cosmetic system which makes you truly feel like a member of Tolkien’s High Fantasy world. Aside from that, it’s also a fantastic MMO in general, complete with a great and friendly community, a free-to-play model, and server consolidations to keep the game populated. Even ten years on, this is a must-play for any fan of the series.

#2: WORST: “J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I” (1994)

Not to be confused with the 1990 game of the same name, which was released for MS-DOS and wasn’t nearly as crap. And by crap, we mean borderline unplayable. Pretty much everything about this game is terrible, aside from maybe the graphics, which were pretty good at the time. Combat consisted of a one-button attack, the levels were insanely huge and easy to get lost in, and it exploits every terrible RPG cliché in the book. Oh, and that’s not to mention your AI companions who would simply wander off. This game doesn’t deserve the Lord of the Rings name.

#2: BEST: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

Video games based on movies are rarely any good, but hot damn does “The Return of the King” get it right. Everything about this game is polished, from the gorgeous graphics to its intricate levels to its award-winning sound design. It truly captures the frenetic pacing and scope of the movie’s battles, and co-op mode makes mowing down orcs and trolls even more epic. There’s also an increase in environmental interaction, and many of the movie’s characters are playable, which is a dream come true for any “Rings” fan. It is easily one of the best movie licensed games of all time.

#1: WORST: “The Lord of the Rings: Conquest” (2009)

It seemed like such a good game on paper: have Pandemic Studios make another “Battlefront,” only this time with Lord of the Rings characters and swords instead of lasers. Turns out, it should have stayed on paper. “Conquest” was missing everything that made “Battlefront” great and it resorted to cheap gameplay, like button mashing combat, atrocious AI, and a criminally short campaign. Even the production values were terrible, as the graphics, voice acting, and sound were all laughably embarrassingly bad. If only they had more time to polish this game, because it reeks of incompletion and suffered terribly as a result.

#1: BEST: “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor” (2014)

No one was really expecting much from this title helmed by Monolith Productions, but they absolutely knocked it out of the park, surprising us all and creating what is arguably the greatest Lord of the Rings -inspired game of all time. It introduced us to a badass, M-rated version of the world and came complete with extremely fluid animations, smooth swordplay, and enough decapitated heads to fill Mount Doom. It also featured some innovative game design, like the Nemesis system, and was filled with lore to keep even the most diehard Lord of the Rings fan happy. In short, it was not only a mesmerizing Lord of the Rings experience, but a fantastic game in general.
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