Don’t panic, I’m sure I’ll go off on a tear about Ohio or something shortly.

Picked up LotR: Third Age for the XBox yesterday. Penny Arcade is, as usual, dead on. Here’s my take from a q23 thread:

It’s very mindless and not very challenging, however it is fun (in a mindless not very challenging sort of way). It is kind of like “Lord of the Rings: The Second Stringers” though (Look! A generic human, a generic elf and a generic dwarf!).

If a pretty hack and slash appeals to you, I’d recommend renting it for a weekend. The difficulty does ramp up pretty rapidly as Moria ends, and that will probably surprise most players (snooze hit style hit style hit style win wait a minute, that’s a balrog and he has 80K hit points and is one hit killing me, I’d better wake up)

The box itself has “Just like Final Fantasy X!” on it, which is where the FFX comparisons are coming from. The similarities are: (a) the minimap, and (b) the combat system is a “homage” (you have 3 guys at once and can hotswap from your party and it’s turn-based). I’ve noticed a distinct lack of androgynous platinum-haired villains (unless you count Christopher Lee) so it’s really nothing like the Final Fantasy series.

(Added on Monday: The stupidest ending in a game EVER! Well, since you killed Rob Zombie in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. See the comments for spoilers. Oh, and I have some comments on the current mmo-blogosphere discussion about content driving design or vice versa… see Jeff Freeman and Damion Schubert’s blogs in the links over there —> and when I get off work and can type for more than 5 minutes, I’ll EXPOUND, baby. Yeah.)