LotR Online out this year

Courtesy of Codemasters.

UK publisher Codemasters has teamed up with Turbine Inc. to bring MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar to Europe.

The game will let you play as a human, elf, dwarf or hobbit, creating your own unique character and selecting their skill set. There are loads of locations from The Fellowship of the Ring to explore, including the Shire, Barrow Downs, Rivendell, the Old Forest and Moria.

"As the lands of Middle-Earth fall under a growing threat from the dark realm of Angmar, only the mightiest of deeds and the stoutest of hearts can halt the advance of Sauron's minions," etc.

There's plenty of solo adventuring to be done but you can also establish your own Fellowship, taking on missions that might task you with saving a hobbit village, for example, or clearing a dwarven mine. A unique combo system is designed to make group attacks even more effective, which should help.

As you explore Middle-Earth you'll face off with all manner of familiar foes, including orcs, trolls, spiders, barrow wights and the Nazgūl. You'll also get to meet Bilbo, Elrond, Tom Bombadil, the Dśnedain and various members of the original fellowship.

The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Angmar is slated for a release in late 2006.

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