The Lord of the Rings
Shadows of Angmar

Format: PC

5 024866 331745
Age Restrictions: 12+
24 April 2007

Travel with your Fellowship in the fight against the forces of Sauron. Across the wide lands of Middle-earth, the Free Peoples must face the threatening Shadow growing in the East. All of Mordor is stirring as Sauron dispatches the Nazgūl to hunt for the Ring. The rumour of war brings forth many eager adventurers who will find their place among the great events of the Third Age. High deeds call to the willing, for their time is at hand. Hundreds of thousands of people will enter the perpetual world of Middle-earth for the very first time. Prepare yourself to choose a path amongst the likes of Elves, Dwarves, and Humans. Will you choose to fight for the things that bring peace to the land or will you add to the corruption of Middle-earth as the forces of Sauron move swiftly to extinguish all that is good?...

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar is the only massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) set in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. The game allows you to forge heroic legacies in the War for Middle-Earth, establishing your own unique reputations, and discover and wield legendary weapons in strategic battles, while adventuring solo or in Fellowships.

It seems to have taken an age to get here, but finally Tolkien's Middle-earth has made it to a MMORPG. The game spans legendary Eriador, including the pastoral Shire, the Elven enclave of Rivendell, rustic Bree, and more. As the lands of Middle-earth fall under a growing threat from the dark realm of Angmar, only the mightiest of deeds and the stoutest of hearts can halt the advance of Sauron's minions.

There are four different races to chose from (Human, Hobbit, Dwarf or Elf) as well as seven different classes including loremaster, champion, and burglar, as well as crafting and gathering elements.

If you have the processing power, the high-res version is a sight to behold. It really is a joy to stroll through the environments and take in your surroundings. For hard-core fans of the books and movies, it's a joy to be able to wander around and find your favourite locations. And with over 50 million square metres of Middle-earth to explore you won't get bored of your surroundings in a hurry.

That's another plus point in the development of this game - there is such a wealth of information for the developers to draw upon. It's not as though they had to great a universe from scratch.

Usually I'm not overly happy with games of this nature - where you have to pay a fortune for a game and then shell out for a monthly subscription. And a part of me is still not overly happy at the prospect of having to pay in order to play. While you do get the first 30 days free, the prospect of having to remember to renew your subscription on a regular basis is a little bit of a slap in the face for most cash strapped gamers.

This is a good, solid MMORPG that will not only appeal to Tolkien aficionados, but will find a welcome home in any gamer's collection. The only thing you really need to think about is whether you can afford to pay out on a regular basis to keep playing.

Nick Smithson

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