Gamer Recon: Lord Of The Rings - The Battle For Middle Earth II

rating-3.0lotr-battle2What is Gamer Recon? Well, it's where I play a game for a bit and give my thoughts on it. It could be after 5 hours of play or just 30 minutes. Way I see it is: What the hell is the point of playing a game to completion if it blows nads in the beginning parts? Some games are awesome and then end up sucking, but that's not what Recon Gamer is about. Those games that end up dropping the ball later on will probably be covered in future reviews. Anyways, enjoy!

Type: Real-Time Strategy
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Electronic Arts , EA LA
Recon Time: About 3 or 4 hours

I have done some reading and "they" tend to say Battle for Middle-Earth II is -great- on the Xbox 360.

Holy shit, do I think "they" are wrong.

Okay, so, my initial impressions right off the bat were definitely influenced by the shitty frame rate and stuttering. And that's in the first battle! My little group of pansy elves slamming into weakling bands of goblins... I'd be gettin' all excited, then -FREEZE-. It was a short freeze, but what the fuck? I guess I can understand that the little (and loud) gerbils in the 360 having problems with hundreds of little guys duking it out for a piece of the Classic Fantasy Pie, but frame rate issues and freeze-ups due to dozens? LAME.

Needless to say, I was unimpressed. And that was five minutes into the game.

Also, the game has no helpful hints or anything. You know, like with the controls? Yeah. Good thing I'm kinda smart.

As far as real-time strategy games on a console goes, this game is top-notch (aforementioned issues aside). Well, sort of, anyway. The control scheme does take some getting used to, especially if you are used to the PC. I mean, the last RTS I played on a console was Goblin Commander for the Xbox (a quaint, somewhat amusing game)... and that was like three years ago. But yeah, there's plenty of fun to be had and the controls aren't a real biggie. Gameplay is simple enough and there's some cool heroes and powers to dink around with. There are plenty of creatures and units to keep most gamers who like this kind of thing reasonably pleased.

The graphics scream "For christ's sake, buy an HDTV!!!!" because this will look more like shit than gold on your standard television set. It's not THAT bad, but I hear it looks great in HD (yet another reason to hold off on buying a 360 until you get high-def, eh?). Other than that, they're pretty standard. Exactly what you would expect from a LOTR RTS title.

The story is the run-of-the-LOTR-mill sort that you should fully accept on liking if you are to play this. Depending on which side you play (good or evil), your campaign story will differ. It's nothing to write home about from what I've seen so far (and yes, I -really- like LOTR). I am a bit curious to see how it unfolds game-wise, but not so much story-wise. Not all that exciting.

Perhaps my current opinion is marred by Medieval 2: Total War, now out for the  PC (*drooool* it is SO sex), but I'm having a hard time wanting to keep playing this game. It's not terrible or anything, and it's pretty fun. It's just not even -close- to competing with PC strat-games. Also, the graphics hiccups and glitches piss me off.

I say if you have an Xbox 360 and like Lord of the Rings stuff and wargames, pick this up. If you are a die-hard pc RTS or Strat-gamer sort, you may want to pass on this, or get it for the PC (but it's much like the first LOTR: BFME installment on  the PC). Who knows? Maybe I'll like it a bit more with more play and I do hear the multiplayer kicks some serious ass. Right now, though, I hear the siren call of Total War beckoning me...