The Lord of The Rings: The Battle For Middle Earth II (PC)
Posted by fire on Tue, 22 Jan 2008.
When I first heard about this game, I though "Great EA try to take on the RTS market with a game that'll be loosely based around LotR and probably do it no credit whatsoever." But I was gravely mistaken and this game is quite simply the best use of the "Lord of the Rings" license to any video game to date.
The core game play itself isn't to innovative but and consists of the basic unit building, base construction and upgrading and is somewhat similar to "Command and Conquer: Generals", but what makes the game so high quality is the actual content build around the core game play. You can really see how much expert attention has been paid on even to the most minor details to ensure that the game complies with the world that J.R.Tolken created all those years ago.
In the game, there are several new playable factions making a total of six, Goblins, Mordor, Isengard, Men, Elves and of course Dwarfs. You would think with so many teams, all with their own unique units and buildings there would be multiple problems with keeping all unit balanced but in-fact this isn't the case (The only exception to this would probably be Elven arrows which tends to be a "One shot, one kill" weapon, when used against large groups of infantry or flying targets.)
Graphically this game is fantastic. If you have a system capable of running this game on full specs, you really are in for a treat. With the brilliantly beautiful particle effects, and high detail texturing, this game has to be the best-looking RTS out currently. (The upcoming "Tiberium Wars", Command and Conquer game looks to change that.)
One of my favourite improvements from the original BFME has to be the "Hero Builder" which allows you to design and equip a custom hero who will be available to purchase during the game to aid you in battle. Not only can you design the "look" of your hero, but you can't also change their skills and create several different units that can be used depending on the enemy’s team and battle situation for optimal strategy. (For example, if I were to play against a Goblin foe, I would use a Mage who I would equip with area damage spells to combat their mass infantry approach.
Although the game does have an excellent amount of strategic combinations and possibilities, one thing I would criticize is that its only to easy in Campaign mode, and often online, to simply build a stupid amount of one type of "power" unit and simply win by metaphorical "Spam". One example of this would be Mordor’s attack troll. Not only can these units cause hell to groups of infantry but they can also wipe out a fully upgraded fort in a matter of seconds. So even though archers should "Cut through" these units if you simply build enough of them and get them moving quick enough a battle against a dominating opponent can be won in moments.
Also I would say that the AI is under-developed, particularly during Naval battles. You tend to find yourself playing against a predictable opponent who will constantly use the same tactics even after they fail initially and for that reason, the single player campaigns, while fun are somewhat easy and fail to provide a challenge.
Very rarely is a game based on a movie this good. Often company are just looking for quick cash of a popular name, but this doesn’t feel like that and you can really tell that the designer at EA have created this product with an actual desire to produce a high quality RTS.