Gather the Fellowship and get ready to set off for the volatile fires of Mount Doom as we check out the best Lord of the Rings games on PS4!
Despite what a huge, multimedia franchise The Lord of the Rings is, video games based on the books, films and other aspects of the series have been relatively thin on the ground in recent years.
During the PS2, PS3, Xbox and Xbox 360 era, when the Peter Jackson movies were still either current or fresh in the minds of fans – and when EA had the license – there were an awful lot more games based on the lore.
Yet there have been a few more recently than that, with Warner Bros using the license in some unusual and interesting – if perhaps, at times, controversial – ways.
Next up is the promising third person, stealth-based adventure game Gollum – which is due on PS4, as well as other formats, in 2023.
But which currently available titles are the best?
Let’s find out, as we check out the best Lord of the Rings games on PS4!
4. The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game (2019)
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game kickstarts this list of the best Lord of the Rings on PS4!
Fantasy Flight Games have released some superb tabletop games based on Lord of the Rings. Their track record is great with licensed games in general; check out the number of Fantasy Flight titles that appear on our best Star Wars board games of all time list!
The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth (published in 2019) is a great example, providing an app-powered, brilliant campaign through the world of the books.
Another is The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, which was initially launched way back in 2011, receiving a large number of expansions and even a revised Core set in the intervening years.
It’s that specific card game that PS4 title The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game adapts – and, given that the tabletop version is an incredibly immersive, deep and involving game, it’s actually a genuinely excellent experience with some absolutely stunning artwork.
There’s a lot of moving parts in the card game, however. Plus, having it in front of you on a tabletop, at a glance, is very different to the way the video game version provides everything you need to know at any given time.
It can be quite tough to learn too – though if you can get your head around the way it works and conquer that learning curve, you’re in for a great time!
3. Lego The Hobbit (2014)
Occupying a very high place on our best Lego games list, Lego The Hobbit benefitted from years of refinements of the Travellers Tales Lego game formula.
As such, by the time that The Hobbit came out, gamers had already been treated to a more expansive open world style of game with titles such as Lego Marvel Super Heroes and – naturally – Lego Lord of the Rings.
Though these games – and indeed, The Hobbit itself – still featured self contained missions, the large open world exploration was great fun and, as continues to be expected in the Lego games, cheeky, good natured digs and references to the franchise it was based on featured heavily.
It’s a great game to play in either single player or in co-op multiplayer mode. And what’s more, it’s suitable for the whole family too of course.
Collecting studs in Lego games just never seems to get old; no matter which franchise the license is tied to, they always seem to strike gold – and Lego The Hobbit is no different in that regard, easily earning itself this spot on the best PS4 Lord of the Rings games list!
2. Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014)
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor takes the 2nd spot in this list of the best Lord of the Rings games on PS4!
It’s an absolute mystery why the combat system in the Batman ‘Arkham’ games – which you’ll find ranked very highly on our best Batman games list – hasn’t been utilised a lot more, even by Warner Bros Interactive, the publisher of the series.
Though it was put to great use in the superb, underrated Mad Max (which is surely crying out for a sequel!), the only other series that made good use of Arkham-style combat so far has been the Middle-Earth ‘Shadow’ games.
Then again, this first game of the – currently – two available also brought its own stunning innovation to the table, in the form of the Nemesis System.
The Nemesis System produced a random hierarchy of completely unique Orcs, specific to your game and each with their own appearance, personality, strengths, weaknesses and even fears!
When I played through Shadow of Mordor myself, I became so addicted to defeating the various low-ranked Orcs – as well as their superiors – that I ended up spending more time tracking down and battling all of the creatures who filled the ranks of my Nemesis screen than it took to complete the game’s main campaign.
It’s strange then, that the Nemesis System hasn’t been utilised to good effect in any other game; well, except one – as you’ll soon see!
1. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War (2017)
The results are in, and the best Lord of the Rings game on PS4 is Middle-Earth: Shadow of War!
Though somewhat controversial amongst Lord of the Rings enthusiasts – due mostly to its depiction of a canon-stretching, if not outright destroying, Shelob in deliberately sexy human form – this sequel to Shadow of Mordor is an absolutely phenomenal game.
The Nemesis System makes a very welcome return here – just as addictive and unbelievably compelling as it was before, yet this time with even more layers.
In Shadow of War, players can recruit followers, using them in plans to complete various missions – in a more varied open world than was seen in this game’s predecessor.
This included large scale warfare, in which both you and your followers could turn the tide of battles!
Controversy wasn’t just caused by the depiction of Shelob as a sultry human; at launch, the game was riddled with microtransactions and loot boxes, which proved incredibly detrimental and immersion breaking.
However, after sustained, negative feedback from players and the press alike, these elements were stripped out and the game improved immeasurably as a result.
As long as you can overlook the somewhat problematic changes to the established lore, Shadow of War delivers Lord of the Rings action in an incredible way – it feels huge, open and personalised to an impressive degree.
Which is why we here at Retro Dodo have placed it at the very top of our best Lord of the Rings games on PS4 list!
This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.
Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.