The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age box art, featuring Berethor the Gondorian, Idrial the Elf and Hadhod the Dwarf fighting the Balrog of Moria alongside Gandalf the Gray.

It actually happens in the game and it’s both awesome and silly as hell.
Picture: EA Games

The the Lord of the Rings movies have arguably come out to match the links with video game movies. The series has everything from traditional hack-and-slash action games to strategy titles, but one of the strangest and most interesting of all was that of 2004 The third Age. Part Final fantasy counterfeiting, part movie story, he asked a strange question: how do you tell the story of the Fellowship of the Ring, without the Community really being there?

The answer: you create your own community with the registered serial numbers.

Though there is no Hobbits to find in The third AgeFollowing, his motley party follows essentially in the shadow of the Fellowship in the Lord of the Rings from the outset with an almost comical proximity. There are two Gondorians, a Knight named Berethor and a Ranger named Elegost, two Rohirrim, a member of Theoden’s Guard (Eoaden) and a Villager (Morwen), an Elf (Idrial) and a Dwarf (Hadhod). Opening with Berethor ambushed on the way to Rivendell to accompany Bormir’s party to Elrond’s council in Fellowship of the Ring. From there it’s a 30 hour re-imagination of the the Lord of the Rings movies with RPG mechanics that can only diplomatically be described as stolen from the back of a truck labeled “Kids like it Final Fantasy X, Law?”

Image of the article titled Revisiting the Weird Legacy of Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

Screenshot: EA Games

It is comical how regular brotherhood – something you can seemingly just become by getting a few random people together, instead of being some sort of formal title like the one Elrond gives to Frodo and his following – is to reality all throughout the events of The third Age. Guided by Gandalf’s psychic communication – in the form of reels of unlockable movie clips and new narration from Sir Ian McKellen (why didn’t he consider doing this with Frodo after the Fellowship split ? His death and rebirth doesn’t stop him chatting with Berethor!) – Berethor and his friends run from the forests around Rivendell to Moria. Then from there to the villages of Rohan and Helm’s Deep, and finally Osgiliath, Minas Tirith, and even literally the top of Barad-DUR to take turns stinging Sauron’s giant eyeball to complete the game.

Aside from rare moments, the party is actually alongside the main LotR characters – helping Gandalf fight the Balrog in Moria and the Wizard King in Minas Tirith, or helping Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli hold Helm’s Deep – they’re explicitly in the shadow of the main community, just offscreen or moments behind. them. At one point in Moria it is your part that watches the Pippin dwarf skeleton rampage through the ceiling to land right in front of you. In another, as you level up Minas Tirith during the siege to help Gandalf, you literally reach the top. like Denethor runs screaming past you in the flames, turning his death into something that definitely needs the Benny Hill theme in the background:

But despite all the absurdity without comment of having a LotR a game so close to the characters and events of the movies (but with original protagonists), these are the moments that the story of The third Age Steps away from the movies premise that this is perhaps the strangest. At the start of Gandalf’s film reel release with Berethor, you learn that the wizard asked you for some sort of greatness that Berethor doesn’t remember at all (probably it’s “we’ll let you go sting Sauron’s eye. with a stick in 40 hours while Frodo does the actual work. ”) In fact, Berethor doesn’t really remember much of anything at the start of the game, other than that a) he deserted the previous battle for Osgiliath between the Gondorian forces under the command of Boromir and Faramir and the orcs of Sauron, and b) he is supposed to catch up with Boromir’s group in the Council of Elrond. And yet, throughout the early parts of The third Age, Berethor is plagued by these visions, both warnings of his importation from Gandalf and possibly darker threats from Saruman (a return Christophe lee).

It is finally revealed that Berethor is apparently the most put human on Middle-earth. Prior to the events of the game, he was grimly bewitched by Saruman who believed Boromir succumb to the power of the Ring and claim it for Gondor at the Council of Elrond (or snatch it from Frodo). With Berethor as Saruman unconscious accomplice of the reunion, he would wake up as a Gondorian candidate and take the ring for Saruman. But he did not do it ! And Berethor was fine, because … reasons. Because he stood next to Aragorn in Helm’s Deep? It remains unclear. But that’s not all! He shoots what can only be described as an “inverted Aragora”. First, there’s a completely lifeless romance story where Berethor falls in love with Idrial after saving him at the start of the game, only for her to say “wait, we bring you a Rohan woman that you’ll end up with. Moreover, in the second battle for Osgiliath, it was revealed that the reason Berethor fled the first time was because, like Frodo, he was stabbed with the Morgul blade of the Wizard King. contrary to Frodo however, it didn’t slowly poison Berethor and turn him into a Wraith, it didn’t do anything until he had to remove the tip of Morgul’s blade from his chest in the middle of the fight for that he could harm the Ringwraith.

Image of the article titled Revisiting the Weird Legacy of Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

Screenshot: EA Games

It’s … bananas. Makes all the more bananas as this absurd Middle-earth fanfic is wrapped around a superficial imitation of the combat mechanics of Final Fantasy X which, at the time, was one of the most beloved console RPGs. it makes you revisit The third Age like playing a weird mix of pretty fine turn-based fantasy RPG between dumping moments from Ian McKellen lore the Lord of the Rings for you. And yet there is a charm in her involuntary madness that few others LotR the games have captured since. There have been better games — the Shadow of Mordor/Shadow of war duology, for example– but none have captured the themes at the heart of JRR Tolkien’s films and novels quite so well. It’s all there, in its weird way: the idea of ​​persevering in the face of darkness, that the most unlikely of us can rise to the challenge and become heroes, that fate can be challenged and taken in hand. It just happens to throw yourself a hell of a Middle-earth shaped kitchen sink in the process.


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