This Forgotten Lord of the Rings Game Should Have Been a Great RPG Franchise

As The third AgeDevelopment progressed and a few clips from the project were finally released, it became very clear that the game was heavily based on the 2001 blockbuster JRPG, Final Fantasy X. While the similarities between these two games certainly raised a few eyebrows at first, there was definitely a sense that The third Age could end up being one of the biggest and best games of 2004. The project’s in-development clips looked fantastic, EA had already released several hit games based on the LOTR movies, and the Third Age The team (led by former Square Enix producer Steve Gray) seemed genuinely passionate about the whole project.

At the very least, many fans felt comfortable knowing that The third Age would allow them to dive one last time into Peter Jackson’s vision of JRR Tolkien’s world. The optimists among these fans even felt that The third Age could end up being the start of something big. After all, the Final Fantasy franchise had become a major player in the industry in recent years. Why would a Lord of the Rings game that was mechanically similar to the last Final Fantasy title will he finally experience a similar level of success?

All that to say there was quite a bit of anticipation in the air when The third Age was finally released in November 2004 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. Despite all the hype, however, the game debuted with a resounding “meh”. It turned out that there was a big gap between the reality of the game and the dream of what it could have been.

The Third Age was Final Fantasy X’s sincerest form of flattery

i know i just said it The third Agethe gameplay of was heavily inspired by Final Fantasy X, but I don’t think it’s possible to stress this comparison enough. For all purposes, The third Age is FFX (at least from a gameplay perspective). Both titles feature similar combat systems (Third Age openly borrows FFXconditional turn-based combat system), similar RPG mechanics, and eerily similar animations. The third AgeOverworld’s navigation sequences and cutscenes even use oddly familiar camera angles and other FFX presentation concepts.

The biggest difference between Final Fantasy X and The third Age that’s how “accessible” this latest title is. For the majority, Third Age ditches FFXthe more complicated mechanics or simply replace them with much more beginner-friendly alternatives.

Whereas Final Fantasy X featured a wonderfully deep Sphere Grid system that allowed players to create characters pretty much however they wanted, The third Age only lets you choose between a handful of optional skills and assigns experience points to base stats. FFX was filled with elaborate side quests, while The third Age players limited to a handful of basic activities clearly described in each area. FFXBattles pushed your party to its limits and often forced you to overcome XP hurdles. Meanwhile, The third Age offered little to no serious opposition, even when you played it on the hardest available difficulty. Players of any skill level could navigate the title with relative ease. There were even options that let the game do most of the combat work for you.

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