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Mar 09

Battle For Middle Earth 2

The review for Battle For Middle Earth 2 review was supposed to come this weekend, but to be honest, I was so astounded by this game, I couldn’t wait.

Battle for Middle Earth II

If you read my review of Star Wars: Empire At War, you’ll know that I’ve been in the RTS wilderness for the last few years. I was unsure of how to rate EAW, but this game honestly blew me away.

You’ll also need to excuse me because I haven’t played the original version, so may be over impressed by pre-existing features.

Nuts and Bolts

In addition to the tutorials, the game has four modes:

  • Skirmish (available in demo)
  • War of the ring
  • Evil campaign
  • Good Campaign

I played through the tutorials, so can’t speak for the skirmish mode. Maybe I’ll provide an update on this part of the review in the near future, or anyone else who’s played it could leave their comments.

The tutorials are:

  • Basic tutorial (available in demo)
  • Advanced tutorial (available in demo)
  • War of the ring tutorial

The basic tutorial was just that, basic. It demonstrated how to select units and move them etc. It also showed how to build buildings, capture buildings and so on.

My Highlights

There were three highlights of the basic tutorial.

The first was the outstanding graphics. I know it’s a completely different game, but I couldn’t help thinking of it as a beatiful new version of warcraft.

The second was building walls and defensive structures. I have a weird fettish for building awesome defensive structures and just watching armies attack and being killed, over and over again. My jaw dropped when I realised that walls could be built at almost any angle (rather than two). This meant you could build defences almost anywhere you wanted to. Also, you can upgrade wall segments into weapons. This seems realistic, and just freakin’ awesome.

Finally, I guess as a kiwi, I’m more inclined to like LOTR than the average person, but the fact is that I did get a kick out of the eagles arriving to give me a hand (not that I needed them).

The advanced tutorial was jam packed with cool features (I have no idea which features are peculiar to II), and more awesome graphics.

Attack Modes (Stances)

I found the idea of stances very interesting. There are three:

  • Battle
  • Agressive
  • Hold Ground

‘Battle’ is the default stance, and is a balance between attack and defence, ‘Agressive’ gives the troops more attacking ability and ‘Hold Ground’ increases their defensive abilities.

Battle Line

I thought this was a very cool feature, and was something I could imagine using, and being very useful.

With multiple units selected, you press both mouse buttons where you want the troops to move to. While holding down both buttons, dragging the mouse produces a ‘Battle Line’. Drag the mouse in one direction and it becomes a wide and thin dispersion of troops, or drag it in the other direction and you can have a narrow, deep formation.

I find myself imaging taking units into a field and having a braveheart style battle with two huge armies facing, and ultimately charging each other. Very cool.

Amazing Water

I had to take a quick break from the cool features to point out the water. The picture below doesn’t do it justice. The white caps represent the top of waves (swell) which is constantly moving across the screen. The boats sit on top of it and bob up and down. With the snow and other effects, this view just blew me away.

Attack+Move Command

In my limited RTS experience, moving and attacking is handled in various ways. I thought BFME II handles this well. Issueing an attack+move command (“A” and then select a target) orders troops to move to a particular location, killing everything they find along the way. This may not seem noteworthy to many readers, but I think this is a fairly significant command, and will work well in play.

Powers

Ahhh. Powers. Now this is something I have very little experience of. There are various powers that you can “purchase” if you have enough “points”. These powers seem pretty cool. In the tutorial, all you have is earthquake and arrow volley. Even these were incredibly powerful, so I’m guessing that achieving these “points” is not as easy as it seemed in the tutorial.

When I used the arrow volley, it quickly killed many goblin(s?), and the earthquake levelled their walls and towers with seemingly no effort at all. It was brilliant to watch however (especially the earquake).

Battle for Middle Earth: Earthquake 1
Earthquake (selecting area)
Battle for Middle Earth II: Earthquake 2
Earthquake (results)

Environment & Characters

There were two final things that stuck in my mind; the environment and the characters.

The environment was realistic, for instance when the trees caught on fire, they destroyed a goblin camp and killed its’ inhabitants. I’m not sure if this would also occur with the players forces, but this is realistic, and opens up new strategies other than direct combat.

Also, being a lord of the rings game, you end up fighting pretty cool characters. At the end of the advanced tutorial, you end up fighting a ‘mountain giant’. He was beautifully animated, faught realistically, and was fairly difficult to kill. If the game is filled with characters like that, it could be a very enjoyable experience for LOTR enthusiasts.

Conclusion

It’s hard to find fault with this game. It really is.

I’m not a huge fan of EA as a production house normally, but this is outstanding. It’s hard to imagine anyone else having the resources to produce such a beautiful game.

It’s definitely going on ‘Pete’s wish list‘, and I will happily give it 9/10.

4 comments

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  1. Biantoro

    How come it always mention i am “Defeated” although there is nothing wrong and nothing is even attacking me . everything suddenly blow off and i am “defeated”

  2. Claire Acker

    Thanks so much…

  3. Jeanetta Barree

    Andere Vorschl├Ąge?

  4. grammar check online

    Ceo607@yahoo.com

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