Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II

By on August 4, 2006

LOTR: Battle For Middle-Earth II has finally arrived on the Xbox 360 and proves that good RTS games are not limited to just the PC anymore.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

When building an army, other than the normal units, there are also special units called heroes, which are notable characters from the book and the movies. All the heroes in the game have special powers that can be enabled by gaining experience and all the powers can be re-used but there is a recharge time specific to each power. The advance special powers, if used on the right time and on the right place, could turn the tide of the game.

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Strategy is a very crucial part of the game, so you have to choose the powers wisely and plan out your tactics or else you will be crushed by the enemy.

Other than the good and evil mode there is a Skirmish mode that works much like \’Custom Game\’.

One of the omissions you will notice in the Xbox 360 version is the dynamic campaign mode & design-a-hero feature, which the game tries to compensate with the appearance of many characters from the book and the addition of few extra modes in multiplayer.

The A.I is not very versatile and diverse. You won\’t find much difference between easy and hard computer opponents; it’s quite predictable and tends to send small group of armies one after another. So this gives you enough time to build an army and launch an attack altogether.
Micro-management is possible in the game but is not essential.

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For the past many years there have been loads of debate and criticism about Real-Time Strategy games on consoles because RTS are much easier to play with a keyboard and mouse. Well now we can throw that general perception about RTS on consoles from our mind because the gameplay of Battle for Middle-Earth II proves that RTS works on consoles and hats-off to EA for taking this step.

The controls are very simple and easy to pick-up as you just need to know the basic controls which are the two thumb sticks, two triggers and the A button (yes, that’s it!). You can get through the entire game just knowing these basic controls.

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If the single player of Battle For Middle-Earth II is not your cup of tea then you can surely try the multiplayer which comes with 5 different gameplay modes including fast-based which are quick game modes that you can finish in a few minutes or so, and there is epic-based which is slow and can go up to an hour or so before it reaches the conclusion. And multiplayer is the area where the Xbox 360 version really surpasses its counter part.

Though Battle for Middle-Earth II has convincing amount of replay value with its single player mode, the real treat is in the online play over Xbox Live.

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The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
9
The controls are easy to get a hang of. The gameplay is diverse and exciting.
GRAPHICS
8
Beautiful environments but frame rate struggles during large battles.
SOUND
10
Epic music with brilliant voice acting and narration.
VALUE
9
Convincing single player and rich multi player mode.
FUN FACTOR
8
OVERALL
8.8
LOTR: Battle For Middle-Earth II proves that good RTS games are not limited to just the PC anymore.

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