The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria

The Baltimore Sun

$39.99 for PC. Rated Teen. ***

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar has seen a steady release of free fresh content since its launch in 2007, updates that have propelled the game farther down the byways of The Fellowship of the Ring's plot.

Mines of Moria, the first retail expansion for the game, continues in this vein in an impressive way.

Higher-level players will find themselves working with dwarfs to clear the rubble from the gateway into Khazad Dum before venturing into the dangerous mines and on through to Lothlorien, following in the footsteps of Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf and the rest.

For new players or those who want to start a fresh hero, there are two new classes: the Rune-keeper, who uses words of power against his enemies and can switch between offensive and healing roles; and the Warden, whose power lies in stringing together chains of specific attacks.

The original classes have been upgraded, and the level cap increased to 60. And there are new legendary items that players can find and customize, which gain levels alongside the characters who wield them.

Midnight Club: Los Angeles

$59.99 for Microsoft Xbox 360, also for PlayStation 3. Rated Teen. ***

Rockstar's street-racing series returns with Midnight Club: Los Angeles, which sets players loose driving through the city at breakneck speeds.

As a nameless newcomer to town, the player must work his or her way up from the bottom of the local racing ladder by searching out races and winning them for street cred that'll open up harder races - and to earn money for better, faster cars. Or players may choose to race online against up to 15 opponents.

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