I liked Star Wars Battlefront and I liked Star Wars Battlefront II. I was really looking forwards to seeing what Free Radical could have done with III. The reason I mention these is of course EA jumped on the bandwagon, producing with the aid of Pandemic, the studio who managed to make Mercenaries 2 miss the mark for an open world 3rd person game that could have really revolutionised the genre.
I'm not bitter at Pandemic for that, not at all, just disappointed. Rather like I am with the missed potential for Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
On paper it seems awesome, fight key battles from Middle Earth in a massive online or offline warzone... killing the servants of Sauron and playing as key characters from the hugely popular fantasy saga, on paper.
In practise it's pretty much Star Wars Battlefront with different skins and some new classes.Story
You can play two stories, the War of the Ring where you get to fight the aforementioned key battles in Middle Earth's history. Then when you complete that you're able to go off and play the more interesting, Rise of Sauron where you play as evil.Gameplay
Fans of Star Wars Battlefront are going to find out that the game is pretty similar, you can play as the key classes, Warrior, Scout, Wizard, Archer and so on. Each one of them has a bunch of abilities that you can use, special attack meters that you can build up and devastating powers that you can bring against your enemies - typical run of the mill stuff we're used to from these kinds of games.
It's not rubbish; it's just not really very different from Star Wars. You capture some points on the map, do a few objectives here and there and move on from one map to the next in a short and mostly lack-lustre campaign mode. You get to protect Frodo at one point (I pretty much wanted to let him die) and you can ride around being self righteous slaying Sauron's minions.
There are some nice set pieces that allow you to battle against the bigger units, like Mumakil, leaping around them and driving home a killing blow before you slide down the trunk.
If you die you can respawn as the same class, or pick a new one. Each class has varied strengths and weaknesses, the balance seems pretty standard. You can spawn in as a hero depending on how things are setup, heroes are badass and have various special powers derived from ideas in the films. Aragon's army of the dead and so on.