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GameSpy starts us off with a 4/5:
To get the most of out of Rise of Isengard, take the time to read about why one Dunlending feels as though his people have no choice but to throw in their lot with Sharkey (Saruman's GameSpy-friendly nickname). Take the time to explore the world itself, which is arguably as great an homage to Tolkien's legendarium as Jackson's movies. Rise of Isengard may not have shipped with much of its end-game content, but its omission seems to be an invitation to slow down and enjoy the journey for the time being. We may not have reached Helm's Deep, but Rise of Isengard makes it clear the War for Middle Earth is about to kick off in earnest. Somewhere on the near horizon lies Rohan, Minas Tirith, and the Dead Marshes, and Turbine demonstrates here that, despite a few stumbles, they still have the drive to take us to the very fires of Mordor.
And then Cheat Code Central comes in just a bit higher at 4.3/5:
Its representation of Tolkien's Middle-Earth is simply unparalleled in the world of video games, and not even Peter Jackson's film trilogy can match it. It's just packed full of tiny little details that only the most hardcore of Lord of the Rings fans will pick out. That being said, Rise of Isengard delivers three new slices of Middle-Earth, brings us to Orthanc, and lets us meet Saruman face to face. If that doesn't get you at least a little excited, you're probably not a Lord of the Rings fan in the first place.