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The best Lord of the Rings games, ranked

Ever since Frodo Baggins found his way to inherit a cursed piece of jewelry, The Lord of the Rings has been a staple for video game mods. The majority of these games were based on the film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, with The Hobbit prequels also getting time to shine on different platforms. Some of these games were great links to great movies, others were as fun as a tag game with Nazgul.

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But in the Mount GameSpot fires, we’ve found the best Lord of the Rings games. These are our picks for the top 10 Precious Middle-earth games. We think all of these are worth playing even today, but there have certainly been some clunkers in the The Lord of the Rings franchise. Hopefully, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will be good enough to join this list when it’s released in September.

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The third time was magical, as The Return of the King struck a perfect balance between action, adventure, and cutting-edge visuals for its time. With some proper star power swirling into the mix – yes that is indeed Sir Ian McKellen who voices Gandalf – The Return of the King helped end the LOTR movie and video game trilogy with huge fanfare in 2003.

Read our review of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.


2. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

Lord of the Rings: Two Towers
Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

Fellowship of the Ring’s tie-in was largely seen as mediocre, but for the sequel, The Two Towers has improved significantly over its predecessor to create a more enjoyable journey. It wasn’t perfect, but the efficient combat system, great voice acting, and great graphics made the middle child in the LOTR saga surprisingly unforgettable.

Read our review of The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers.


3. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

An original tale set in the wastelands of Middle-earth, Shadow of Mordor’s claim to fame was the brilliant Nemesis, which created a dynamic system of choice that changed the world around you based on your actions. The combat was great, bending wild beasts to your will so you could have an army on standby, and hunting down an Orc who was a thorn in your side made Monolith’s first foray into the Tolkien region a classic moment.

Read our Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor review.


4. LEGO Lord of the Rings

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There are three constants in life: taxes, death, and LEGO and they adapt the movie property into a twisted game that features plenty of brick-breaking action. Lego Lord of the Rings never strayed from its successful formula, as this mod kept the movie’s plot intact and added a useful layer of goofy magic to The Fellowship’s adventures.

Read our Lego Lord of the Rings review.


5. The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth
The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth

Whether it’s the Battle of Helm’s Deep or the clash over the Pellenor Fields, The Lord of the Rings has always had some of the best full-scale wars in place that call for a real-time strategic adaptation. Battle for Middle-earth has largely succeeded in bringing those struggles to life, with systems and ideas that would later be used in its sequel.

Read our Battle for Middle-earth review.


6. The Lord of the Rings Online

lord of the rings online
lord of the rings online

In an age when MMOs are more popular and diverse than ever, it only made sense that The Lord of the Rings would join the scene. Bonus in the character development department and so grandiose in the number of sites to visit, LOTR Online has created a magical experience for fans logged into the Middle-earth servers. 15 years later, LOTR Online still has an exact title, as it is still available to play online.

Read our Lord of the Rings Online review.


7. Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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While Shadow of Mordor was a tight, compact sandbox, Shadow of War offered a much larger epic world to explore while expanding on everything that made the original game so beloved. The Nemesis system made your personal opponent more lethal than ever, the combat was neat, and the ability to wage large-scale physical warfare while expanding your territory added some interesting wrinkles to the gameplay loop.

Read our Middle-earth: Shadow of War review.


8. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age

What if Final Fantasy X was revamped for Lord of the Rings? You’ll get The Third Age, a fun and cult RPG since 2004. Adapted to the movie trilogy, The Third Age looked great and served as an entry-level RPG that even young movie fans could easily dive into.

Read our Lord of the Rings: The Third Age review.


9. LEGO The Hobbit

LEGO The Hobbit
LEGO The Hobbit

A set of the first two Hobbit films, this Lego toy is very much related to its strengths. It was goofy, charming, and aimed squarely at kids and fans who would appreciate the slapstick style even more on the beloved Lord of the Rings characters.

Read our Lego: The Hobbit review.


10. The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

As The Lord of the Rings prepares to return to cinemas with its 2012 adaptation of The Hobbit, War in the North has capitalized on the hype to craft an original story from Middle-earth. A reliable adventure, War in the North may not have been the game of the year, but its solid combat, polished controls, and surprisingly great collaboration made it comfort food for a few weekends.

Read our review of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.

The products discussed here were independently selected by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you purchase anything featured on our site.

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