The Lord of The Rings: The Battle For Middle-earth II - Release


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 84% (PC)
79% (X360)
Review scores
Publication Score A−
Eurogamer 8 of 10
Game Informer 85%
GamePro 4.5 of 5
Game Revolution B
GameSpot 8.3 of 10
GameSpy 3.5 of 5
GamesRadar 9 of 10
GameZone 8.7 of 10 (PC)
8.5 of 10 (X360)
IGN 9.0 of 10
PC Gamer (UK) 80%
PC Gamer (US) 90%
PC Zone 7.1 of 10

The game was released by Electronic Arts on March 2, 2006 for Windows and July 5, 2006 for Xbox 360. Electronic Arts released a Collector's Edition that includes a bonus DVD with supplemental high-definition media such as the full original music score; in-game cinematics and trailers; the documentary The Making of The Battle for Middle-earth II; and The Art of the Game, a gallery featuring hundreds of cinematic paintings and concept art created for the game.

It was given generally favorable reviews, receiving an aggregated score of 84% at Metacritic for its Windows version. Praise focused on its successful integration of the Lord of the Rings franchise with the real-time strategy genre, while criticism targeted the game's unbalanced multiplayer mode. The Battle for Middle-earth II was given the Editor's Choice Award from IGN. At the end of its debut month of March 2006, The Battle for Middle-earth II reached fourth in a list of the month's best-selling PC games, while the Collector's Edition peaked at eighth place. In the second month after the game's release, The Battle for Middle-earth II was the 12th best-selling PC game, despite a 10% slump in overall game sales for that month.

After playing the game, PC Gamer found little fault with it, calling it a very well-balanced game overall. The magazine also was pleased that the game's "production values sky-high", with which GamesRadar agreed, explaining, "It's not often you come across an RTS with production values this high; every part seems to be polished till it shines." When compared to its predecessor, The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, GamePro was convinced The Battle for Middle-earth II had improved upon the original in several fundamental ways. GameSpot believed that The Battle for Middle-earth II offered better gameplay and a much broader scope that encompassed more of Middle-earth.

Several critics praised the game's real-time strategy elements and graphics. IGN considered the high quality of The Battle for Middle-earth II proof that Electronic Arts was truly interested in building great real-time strategy games. Despite a few minor issues, GameZone was happy with the gameplay of The Battle for Middle-earth II, believing that the game did a good job of enabling the player to experience the turmoil of the fantasy world. They also admired the game's conversion for the Xbox 360 version, calling it "one of the best PC-to-console conversions" and praising the developers for a "commendable job of assigning actions to the 360 controller’s eight buttons". The graphics were appreciated by ActionTrip, which found it "really hard not to drool over this game", commending the game's design and art team for doing a fabulous job on every location that appeared in the single-player campaign.

Playing within the universe of The Lord of the Rings was appealing to a number of reviewers, which found that it generally increased the game's entertainment value. PC Gamer shared this sentiment, calling Lord of the Rings "arguably the best fantasy universe ever", and GameZone asked the question, "What self-respecting Tolkien fan can be without this title?" The results also pleased, which was convinced that fans of The Lord of the Rings could not afford to miss purchasing the game. Game Revolution complimented the game's merge with the Lord of the Rings universe, observing that the franchise's mythology and the game's frenetic battles came together in a very satisfying bundle. The integration of The Lord of the Rings into a video game satisfied Game Informer, and the magazine predicted the game would be "another winner for Electronic Arts".

Despite positive reactions, reviewers brought up several issues with the game. The British video game publication PC Gamer UK was unhappy with the game, claiming that Electronic Arts chose to release a formulaic game because it was a safer choice than taking The Battle for Middle-earth II in another direction. PC Zone agreed with this view, claiming that although the game looked impressive, it took a by-the-numbers approach towards the real-time strategy genre in a "mindless sort of way", concluding that "in no way is it anywhere near the game we hoped for." The game's multiplayer portion disappointed GameSpy, which found it too unbalanced compared to the heroes, whom they considered to be too strong. Eurogamer considered the game to be of average quality, noting that there were no truly redeeming qualities.

Electronic Arts announced on July 27, 2006 that its EA Los Angeles studio would be releasing an expansion pack to The Battle for Middle-earth II titled The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king. It was slated for release during the 2006 holiday season. The game, produced by Amir Rahimi, promised players the opportunity to fight in wars that precedes the events of the Lord of the Rings novels. The Rise of the Witch-king adds a new single-player campaign, new units, a new faction, and improved features. Its story follows the Witch-king of Angmar's "ascent to power, his domination of Angmar, and eventual invasion of Arnor, Aragorn's ancestral home". The game was sent to manufacturers on November 15, 2006, and was released on November 28.

On January 9, 2011, Electronic Arts announced that the online game servers would be shut down on January 11, 2011 for the Xbox 360 format of the game. The PC version of the game was shut down on December 31, 2010. Electronic Arts noted that their discontinuation of support for the game was partly due to the fact that the licensing deal with New Line Cinema (holders of the Lord of the Rings license) had expired, which led them to no other option than to shut down all online services for the game.

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