First I'd like to mention that I didn't play the first game in the Battle for Middle Earth series, therefore I don't know how the game has improved. Also, I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings series - I have played the Fellowship of the Ring, the Return of the King, LOTRO and this one. I've also seen the movies and read the books
The game has two separate stories with different endings - the good campaign and evil campaign. In the good campaign the player takes control of the elven, dwarven and human forces in order to give their all to stopping the evil, while Frodo is on his way to Mordor. Throughout the story, you can meet some mythological creatures from the books - the Wyrm, the Watcher and the Dragon. There's also the monster called Balrog, but he is only available in the skirmish mode of the game, as a temporary summon creature. The evil side of the campaign concentrates on the plans of Sauron's messengers of conquering the Middle Earth. The player gets to control the Nazguls, trolls, goblins, spiderlings, wargs, orcs, the uruk-hai, the Goblin King and even the Witch King. Yes, a large veriety of creatures from the books get their part of the side-story. Overall the campaign is interesting, and the graphics were very good for a strategy of that time. The game was a bit difficult though.
The feature of the game that I used the most was the possibility of skirmish battles. How would a battle between the dwarves and, for example Isengard forces, end? Sometimes the fight got long enough for me to be able to summon the Balrog and the Dragon - both at the same time, and when I did that, I could really feel the victory of those mighty forces! It was also fun to create a custom hero, customize his skills and later use the creature in-game. The custom hero, despite costing less resources, tends to be stronger than other heroes.
The last game mode that I got a chance to try was the turn-based strategy (the 'War of the Ring'). The map of the whole Middle-Earth is divided into small areas, each having it's own real-time strategic map. If you get attacked by a larger army of enemies, and you know for sure that the quick battle mode won't let you win, you might as well want to try the RTS mode - deploying your own strategy of fighting the enemy forces. As with the Total War series, the chance of winning a RTS battle is much higher than the chance of a quick battle win. The goal of the turn-based strategy mode is to eliminate all of your enemies, that is, take control of all of their territories. There are also small "cheats" on how to win the war very fast and therefore raise your statistics and level up the race (goblins/humans/orcs etc.).
Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II is a great real-time strategy game. It had great graphics for the time it came out and it is aimed at the Lord of the Rings fans. This game is also one of the last games of such type (similar to Age of Empires) that I played, since the age of such games was already ending. This game could be counted as a perfect closure for the older style of real-time strategies.