By RelentlessKnight 1 Comments
The last decade, we see a number of Lord of the Rings games by EA either it's games based on the trilogy or they decided to created retcons into the lore. Either way, it's a lame attempt on using the Lord of the Rings franchise into selling games that are mediocre and boring. In fact, they still release Lord of the Rings' games as evidence by last year's Aragorn's Quest and will always squeeze out the life out of that franchise, though Peter Jackson often tend to rip us off with new DVD editions, whether its Extended Version, Limited Edition or Blue-ray extended and theater versions.
But there are games that are actually decent in the Lord of the Rings franchise, Two Towers and Return of the King is alright and plays like an action hack and slash as well as Battle for Middle Earth, a RTS game that's actually great and not broken which I expected to be. Unfortunately I didn't play the first game and tried the sequel, Battle for Middle Earth II.
This sequel really didn't improve much, it's actually worse than it, though they tried to improve it in a sense. They decided to add base-building similar to Command and Conquer Generals (which is exactly the same game) and rather go to another establishment to build your fortress so you could build more buildings in a circular base, you can build freely and like in Generals put buildings around the map. And your fortress and walls to turn into gates, towers and catapults making turtling in this game, the best thing that apparently isn't in other games. Also you could create/customize heroes, adding a RPG element to it, adjusting attributes to adding what skill/power your character is going to take. Which the character (if chosen) will be purchasable in your fortress at the starting. Furthermore like any RTS, building farms increase your population limit which this game's limit is a thousand and also is the resource of this game but you have to know where to position your farm as the distance of your farm matters in accumulating the most resources signaling from green (the most 80 to 100) to black (the least below 20) in percentage.
The first game only has a few races as oppose to this game; for the good side, it's Elves, Dwarves and Men and for the bad side, it's goblins, Isenguard and Mordor. I was disappointed that Men consists mostly of Gondor forces and only one Rohan unit, the Rohirrim Rider. I always wanted to have a Helms Deep scenario where I turn Rohan countrymen into militia and recreate the Battle of Helms Deep.
Unlike the first game, the story isn't based on the movie trilogy - it focuses on the War on the North with Dwarves, Elves and such clashing against the forces of Mordor taking place the same time as the first game in the Third Age. You could also start as the Evil Campaign unlike the first game, fighting against the forces of good and taking over Middle Earth.
I didn't really play the campaign yet, it really don't care about the story and liked the first game better so I tried out the skirmish mode. Like Generals/Zero Hour, you can choose where to start, difficulty modes are the same, handicap mode and such - it feels like Generals with a Lord of the Rings touch with points received after killing a number of units/structures and you can commission those points in the tier-esque tech-tree after getting 5 command points (which you start off), you get choose abilities to either heal/support, summon (for a temp. time) to area effect attack like Generals/Zero Hour. Also there's often a sighting of Gollum with a One Ring that you need to kill him and snatch to return to your base, which enables you to create a powerful hero whether it's Galadriel (the same galadriel when Frodo tries to give her the ring in Fellowship of the Ring) or Sauron in each perspective side.
The maps are fantastic, basically most of the maps are based on the campaign in the first game ranging from Helms Deep, Minas Tirith to Mordor. I especially love Helms Deep/Minas Tirith maps because I love turtling like Vinny and defending the castle is more fun to actually defeating an opponent - just have an army of archers and catapults raining down fiery hell to Urukai orcs and goblins' waves and spending hours and hours doing it again and again while I'm away from the keyboard.