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Author Topic: LotR: Battle for Middle Earth - First Impressions  (Read 11770 times)
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Hetz
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« on: December 06, 2004, 05:31:54 PM »

It ships today, so some people might have it. Let us hear your impressions! smile



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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2004, 06:04:54 PM »

I am all over this one like ugly on an orc.  Just need to get the email from Amazon that my order is in the mail and I will have it 2 days later.  Can't wait.  This is the only one that will pull me away from Half Life.

Back when I have an actual impression.
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2004, 06:21:38 PM »

Does anyone know how the campaign in this game works?

Is it story based like Age of Empires or Campaign based on a Map like Rise of Nations?

Thanks.
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2004, 06:24:58 PM »

Quote from: "exGoneGolder"
Does anyone know how the campaign in this game works?

Is it story based like Age of Empires or Campaign based on a Map like Rise of Nations?

Thanks.


It is a little of both. There are story missions, but there is also a living world map that you play on where you choose what teritories to attack between the mandatory story missions (ie. Moria, Helms Deep, Amon-Hen).

There are also two different single player campaigns, Good and Evil.
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2004, 06:40:29 PM »

I got this when it was selling for $15 on Amazon.  Should be cool to check out.
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2004, 07:23:58 PM »

Those screen shots make it look sorta like Myth.

Is it supposed to be more like Myth, or more like Medieval: Total War?
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2004, 07:29:39 PM »

Here is an early...err....review....  :lol:

Quote
THIS GAME IS INSANE
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth Review: ALRIGHT FIRST I WANT TO SAY THAT IF IT HAD BEN A POSIBILITY I WUD HAV PUT 500 STARS INSTED OF 5. SECOND, THIS GAME LOOKS SO AMAZING THET WEN I SAW THE TRAILER I PEED MY PANTS, AND THIRD I HAVENT EVEN PLAYED THE GAME AND I LUV IT SO MUCH IM GONNA BUY 50 COPIES JUS SO I CAN HANG THEM ON THE WALL AND STARE AT THEM.THAT SED, ILL GET INTO MY REVIEW.I HAVENT PLAYED THE GAME YET BUT IF THE GAME IS HALF AS GOOD AS THE TRAILERS IT WILL B INCREDIBLE.I MEEN NOBODY CAN SAY THET THE GRAPHICS IN THIS GAME ARENT THE BEST THEYVE EVER SEEN THRUTHFULLY. AND EVEN WITHOUT THE GREAT GRAPHICS THE GAME WILL B AWESOME. U CAN BLOW DOWN WALLS WITH THE FIERY BREATH OF THE MASSIVE, DEMONIC BALROG, U CAN CLIMB THE WALLS OF MINAS tIRITH IN A SIEGE TOWER, U CAN WATCH PEOPLE GET SWEPT UP BY LOW FLYING FEL BEASTS ONLY TO B DROPPED AGAIN FIVE HUNDRED FEET HIGER, U CAN EVEN WATCH UR SOLDIERS AS THEY BUILD A CAMP. THE DETAIL IS ALSO INCREDIBLE. INSTED OF WATCHING UR MEN RUN IN AND OUT OF A GOLD MINE LIKE IN WARCRAFT (ANOTHER GREAT FANTASY RTS) U CAN WATCH AN ORC BUTCHER WHISTLE AND CALL A BEAST UP INTO HIS SHOP. A FEW SECONDS LATER AND U SEE THE BUTCHER WALK OUT OF HIS SHOP AND HANG A SLAB OF MEET ON A HOOK. UR MEN EVEN CHEER WEN THEY WIN. THERE IS SO INCREDIBLY MUCH TO DESCRIBE BUT ITS 2 O CLOCK IN THE MORNING AND I WANT SUM SLEEP. IM NOT SUGGESTING IT, IM TELLING U THET U NEED TO GO TO GOOGLE SEARCH ENGINE AND TYPE IN THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH. CLICK THE FIRST LINK THEN GO TO VIDEO CLIPS AND WATCH ALL SIX TRAILERS. I HOPE THIS WAS A HELPFUL REVIEW BUT EITHER WAY I JUS HAD TO TELL PPL ABOUT THOSE TRAILERS IM SO EXCITED I THINK IM GONNA DIE.


 retard  retard  retard
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2004, 07:29:42 PM »

Oh, christ.  IGN gave it a piddly 8.3.

Headline:  Finely presented but light on the strategy.

When IGN says something that negative, you can expect the game to leap out of the box and murder you and your family when you bring it in the door.
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Hetz
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2004, 07:33:01 PM »

Here is a list of all the review scores:

Quote
Average Score: 87%
Magazine Country Score
Yahoo/Gamesdomain  United States 80%
CD-Action  Poland 80%
GameSpy  United States 4/5 Stars
IGN  United States 83%
Level  Czech Republic 94%
Score  Czech Republic 91%
Pelit  Finland 84%
PC Gamer Sweden  Sweden 88%
Krawall  Germany 85%
GameSurf  Germany 81%
Joystick  France 70%
PC Jeux  France 95%
Total Jeux PC  France 95%
PC Gameplay  Belgium-Dutch 91%
PC Gamer  United Kingdom 73%
Gamers.at  Austria 91%
Canard PC  France 80%
PC Games  Germany 93%
PC Action  Germany 91%
PC Powerplay  Germany 91%
Gamestar  Germany 86%
PTgamers  Portugal 95%
HDR-Inside  Germany 92%
PCzone  United Kingdom 91%


But really, it's silly to argue over review scores. All the reviewers drooled over Doom 3, but I thought it sucked.
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2004, 07:45:03 PM »

So it's got an 81% average review in the states?

Uh, no thanks.  Far too many AAA titles to waste money on a low B.  Especially a low B by EA.   :x
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2004, 08:03:58 PM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
So it's got an 81% average review in the states?

Uh, no thanks.  Far too many AAA titles to waste money on a low B.  Especially a low B by EA.   :x


Which is why you passed on Bloodlines...oh wait...  Tongue  :wink:

Anyway, I think it looks like a fun game. I could care less if it is a grand strategy game ( I have Rome: Total War for that), I just hope it is a fun game and looks good. I know the second part is guaranteed (if you have a decent computer) and all the reviews have said it was very fun, even...yes...the US reviews.
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2004, 08:18:46 PM »

They seem to love it in Germany. Of course, one might have to question   Germany's taste in some matters:

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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2004, 08:26:35 PM »

:shock: You bastard!


I have an interest in this game, but I will be waiting for a demo (if ever).
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2004, 08:51:51 PM »

Id like to start a motion to Ban Ralph Wiggum for posting that pic.  Thats just uncalled for and down right evil.   :shock:


As for the game, id like to play it, but dont turst EA, so ill be waiting on the opinions of the people on this board.
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2004, 08:52:48 PM »

Quote from: "Ralph-Wiggum"
They seem to love it in Germany. Of course, one might have to question   Germany's taste in some matters:

There's one thing me and Germany can agree on!   :wink:
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2004, 03:52:23 AM »

Here are the first actual player impressions I have seen so far...

Quote
I also live in singapore, but am not a singaporean ( just migrated here ). andyes, it's true, B4ME is out hre since yesterday ( dec 6 singapore time ). i got a copy myself, the dvd version the cd version comes with 4 discs. here are my first impression:

1. the graphics is amazing. the best yet in any RTS games

2. cinematics is great too

3. very slow, although im at 1024x768 and at high graphics settings. i may need to slow it down. btw, im using a dell 8600 laptop 1.6GHz Centrino with ATI Radeon 9600-128MB video ram, and 512MB drdram. Also, load time is very slow.

4. i played the first act of the good race ( the fellowship traverse thru the mines of moria ). it's surprisingly fantastic. the presentation is great.

5. on skirmish, seems lik just a casual play. im happy with it though, because im just a casual player ( too old already than most of you, reflexes are not as good as before )

All in all my first impression is great, and my only complaint is the graphics performance.
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2004, 03:06:19 PM »

All I can see now is that spongebob commercial...
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2004, 03:13:40 PM »

Quote from: "AttAdude"
Id like to start a motion to Ban Ralph Wiggum for posting that pic.  Thats just uncalled for and down right evil.   :shock:

I can't see the picture.  It wasn't David Hasselhoff by any chance was it?
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2004, 10:21:27 PM »

Still no impressions..?!

I went ahead and got the game at EB Games today - Mistake #1. I figured I could trade in an old ps2 memory card and doom 3 - got $25 store credit.  Should have looked at the sunday's ads though! Having just checked best buy - best buy has it for $39.99!
That really gets me.

So far I've only played one game and the game doesn't jump out at me. I played a skirmish game with 3 computer players on "Hard". (2vs2, you can setup any combination of teams with the AI in skirmish, using 3 difficulties - easy, medium, and hard. I always go for the highest setting in any RTS game because I want the best challenge from the computer.)
The AI isn't bad, but it's nothing to write home about either. This was my first time ever playing the game, the only thing that was confusing at first was how to build buildings.. I was looking for peasants (I hate having to read a manual, like to just jump right into the game) but didn't see anything. Looking over at my computer ally I saw him building plenty of stuff. Finally I saw you have to click on certain spots around your base and you build there. You cant just build anything you want wherever you want.
Resource gathering is different also, a little easier perhaps. The two ways (at least as far as I know, as I've only played an hour or less in one game) are through a slaughter house and a lumber mill. You go around the map much like in Dawn of War - to expand. I didn't particularly care for Dawn of War's "expansion" type of system. Not that it was that bad, but it just wasn't the old traditional Warcraft/Starcraft expand your base type of game. IMO that's a lot more fun instead of the "capture and hold" type of scenarios.

Getting back to the game - I chose an 8 player map so there was a little time before any battles began. The preview pics in this thread look nothing like the game.. at least when it comes to battles. There's no castle sieges (again I've only played one game so maybe on another map.. hopefully, there is) or thousands of units assaulting an enemy base.
The computer did a decent job of expanding but they didn't have much of an army. I was watching my ally closely (so I could also learn from him a little) and it didn't really impress me.. at least not the way Warcraft III did when you are brand new to the game. (A brand new player to Warcraft 3 playing against a 'Normal' computer seems like the computer is an excellent player. Didn't get that feeling with Battle for Middle-Earth.)

Here's what I did to win the game (and I don't take full credit, my computer ally did help SOME! but nothing like if you were playing with a real human ally) - I built tons of orc warriors (I was mogard, I think was the race) and orc archers - as well as a few mountain trolls and one hero - sent them all on "auto attack" across the map to the enemy base. They met very little organized resistance. The computer mostly had their troops in different squads around the map - not combined into one big massive army. I took out the computer's expansions one by one on my way to his base, all at the same time I was still training more orcs and trolls back at my base for a second wave.
(I had maybe.. 100+ units in the first wave.) There was some decent battling when I finally got to the computer's main base. It was awesome watching my massive trolls run over to the little sworsdmen and hit them sending them flying back to their death. They are truly great warriors.
Backed up by tons of orc warriors and orc archers, I was making a hole right into the computer's town. I was hoping my ally would send some help but no, he didn't do anything. His troops were the same as the other computers - just all over the map in differnet squads. No real organization.
Oh wait, he did send about 8 archers to help me! I think they got lost though and just happened to find themselves at the front doors of the enemy base where I was attacking, and so he joined in. Most of my first wave was killed off by the computer's defenders when my second wave (and the third wave was being trained) got there. In a matter of about 10 minutes, I finally took his base.
One computer down, one more to go. At this point, I have to admit, I was starting to get BORED of the game! (And believe me, I'm a RTS-crazed! They are my favorite game type but not all of them are that good..) I had tons of units now, and again, the same three basic unit types! Just orc warriors & archers, and mountain trolls.
I'll give the AI some credit as they built some different types of units. The computer had a few siege weapons which managed to take out quite a few of my men. Just pocket change though with how many units i had compared to the computer.
Same thing, with all my units I put them on "auto attack" and sent them all to the next computer's town, attacking his little expansions along the way, destroying them, and building my own. (Which by the way is how you gather extra resources.) To my disappointment, my computer ally was STILL not doing much to help! He was having an occassional skirmish outside the main bases in the middle of the map.. but they never actually organized their groups into HUGE armies (like the box) and attack! Very disappointing. By the time I got to the enemy computer base he had a few siege weapons and maybe, 50 warrior units. My computer ally sent about, I'd say, 20 units to help me attack. Whether they just wandered into the enemy base by chance or they actually attacked on purpose, I dont know. I'd like to think they attacked on purpose though. Either way, it wasn't long before computer #2 was taken out.
Game over.
We won.
First game ever and I won against 2 "hard" computer opponents. Yes, I did have 1 computer ally.. who helped a bit, and maybe if it were 1vs1 I may have died, then again, maybe not, seeing how the computer only really seems to expand and send their armies out in little squads.

It's too early to say the game has bad AI though. Could have been beginners luck. I've seen worse AI - such as in age of empires 2. (I could write a book on all the AI flaws in age of empires 2, the most important of them being how the AI didn't respond to attacks while en route to somewhere on the map. They could have all their men hacked to pieces and not even defend themselves.)

The graphics are good, not revolutionary though. The gameplay is fun.. but I think I am still going to be playing more warcraft 3.
Is the game worth $49.99? In my opinion, NO. I think this game should be priced right at $29.99 - and then, it'd be worth it.
It's something new, it has 4 races, decent graphics, a decent computer AI, multiplayer and skirmish modes, a singleplayer campaign.. and is made on the same engine that they made C&C Generals with.

Over all I'd give it a 70% for first impressions. I definitely plan on getting a few more games in (especially with the AI) before I make any final conclusions though. If you're like me though, and enjoy skirmish/botmatch types of games.. you may want to hold off on this one.
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« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2004, 03:53:55 AM »

Woah, Gamespot gave the game a better review score than IGN!

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battleformiddleearth/review.html?q=1&tag=gs_pc_flashtop_story

Quote
The Battle for Middle-earth is also a beautiful real-time strategy game, with tons of great graphical detail and effects. Everything from the gameworld to the huge battles looks good, and you'll notice little details like a blur effect in explosions, or the way the giant eagles swoop down to tear chunks off buildings. There is a price to pay at times, as the frame rate can slow down during some of the biggest battles, even on fast machines exceeding the recommended requirements--but it's almost worth it to enjoy the grandeur of it all. And, as if you needed a reminder of the source material, every now and then clips from the movie will play in the corner of the screen. It's a bit cheesy, but it does allow you to compare the movie footage with what's happening in the actual game. It's awe-inspiring when you see multiple mûmakil (the giant elephants) lumbering at you, for instance.

As befits its source material, The Battle for Middle-earth is a huge game, and there's a lot of great gameplay to be had in it. The opportunity to command the forces of good and evil in the War of the Ring and rewrite history is sure to appeal to the many fans of the books and movies. And while some aspects of the game may seem lacking, it's still an enjoyable journey through the lands of Middle-earth--even if Boromir lives.


I just installed the game and will report back with impressions tomorrow.
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« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2004, 04:37:18 AM »

Quick question. I picked up the game and played a skirmish game. The game seems to run great, looks great, sounds great. But my units seem to move like they are in the mud. I can move the mouse lighting quick and the camera moves just as fast but again my troops run like their asleep. Anyone no of any problems or is this happening to them?

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« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2004, 04:38:43 AM »

Sure doesn't sound like a new Myth to me. Myth is still the best RTS ever. I can't even begin to guess how many hours and lifes I accumulated when I used to play Myth I and II online.

I am sour on BUngie giving up the franchise. Cortana first spoke to us in Myth II. I remember it fondly.
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« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2004, 04:57:20 AM »

Quote from: "Sparhawk"
Sure doesn't sound like a new Myth to me. Myth is still the best RTS ever.


I totally agree. Myth 1 is my favorite PC game of all time.

Err... why did I think Battle for Middle Earth was going to be an MMORPG?
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« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2004, 05:11:40 AM »

because your thinking of Middle Earth Online which has been in development before Half Life 1.
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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2004, 05:24:22 AM »

Quote from: "Sparhawk"

I am sour on BUngie giving up the franchise. Cortana first spoke to us in Myth II. I remember it fondly.


Did they actually give up on it?  I thought their sale to MS prevented them from working on any more Myth games since Myth was owned by a different publisher.
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« Reply #25 on: December 08, 2004, 01:49:34 PM »

I dunno about this game.
It's kinda sad that the #1 and #2 selling points about it are:

1. Graphics look good
2. Cinematics look good.

I guess I'll never ever read "Gameplay AI and interface are just as good as Total Annihilation. Perhaps even better!"
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« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2004, 02:56:43 PM »

Quote from: "naednek"
because your thinking of Middle Earth Online which has been in development before Half Life 1.

Not entirely true.  There was *a* Middle Earth Online game being worked on long ago (before or around EQs release if I remember correctly), but it was scrapped after being developed a while.  AFAIK the current incarnation of Middle Earth Online has no relation at all to the old one.

s
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2004, 03:01:37 PM »

Any impressions on the single player sportion of the game?  I never really like skirmish mode games anyway.
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2004, 05:03:19 PM »

Quote from: "Ralph-Wiggum"
They seem to love it in Germany. Of course, one might have to question   Germany's taste in some matters: David Hasselhoff


... and the US renamed french fries to freedom fries. Lets not judge a nation based on brief moments of lapsed judgement. As I recall, it was the US who made him a star to begin with... so kindly lay off with the german comments.  :roll: [/rant]

Back on topic : I have the e3 video, and it seems that there wasn't much in the way of micro-management, which is OK in my books. I'm concerned of the quality, however, as EA has had it's big sweaty hands all over it.
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2004, 06:51:41 PM »

Quote from: "Purge"
Quote from: "Ralph-Wiggum"
They seem to love it in Germany. Of course, one might have to question   Germany's taste in some matters: David Hasselhoff


... and the US renamed french fries to freedom fries. Lets not judge a nation based on brief moments of lapsed judgement. As I recall, it was the US who made him a star to begin with... so kindly lay off with the german comments.  :roll: [/rant]

Back on topic : I have the e3 video, and it seems that there wasn't much in the way of micro-management, which is OK in my books. I'm concerned of the quality, however, as EA has had it's big sweaty hands all over it.


Just so you know as an american, i have never seen anyone call them freedom fries ever.  at Micky Ds they are still french fries, and that holds true for all the other eat places.    On the other hand, you guys really do like that hasslehoff guy.   Tongue
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« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2004, 07:22:32 PM »

Quote from: "AttAdude"
Any impressions on the single player sportion of the game?  I never really like skirmish mode games anyway.


Here are my impressions of the game after about 5 hours or so of play. I haven't played any skirmish yet, just the single player good side campaign.

You start off as the Fellowship in Moria for the first mission. It feels a lot like the old Command and Conquer commando misssions. The presentation is really top notch with lots of movie footage and voiceovers that make you feel like you are playing out the movie. You can control all 9 members of the fellowship. The hobbits are pretty worthless, since they will get annhilated if you send them into fight directly, so they are left chucking rocks behind Legolas, at least that is what I had them do.

All the members of the Fellowship start at Level 1 and by the time you are done with the mission about 1 or 2 of them will be Level 3 and the rest level 2 and 1. You get different powers as you go up in Level, like Gandalf gets a Lightning Sword attack at Level 2 (which you need to fight the Balrog at the end of the Level) and Legolas gets his dual knife attack ability which is pretty cool.

The first level plays out exactly like the movie and you get to travel through all the major areas that you see in the movie. Pretty fun.

After you are done with that level the game opens up some. You get to control Eomer and his banished band of Rohirrim. You get to choose between 3 different provinces to attack at this point. Each of them gives you a bonus for the rest of the game if you are victorious (ie. +1 power, 10% Resource bonus, +20 command points).

After you are done with that level it is on to Lothlorien with the Fellowship, defending it from the goblins that followed you out of Moria (an actual filmed scene from the movie that was cut). After you are done with that it is back to Rohan and Eomer. Then Amon Hen with the Fellowship.

The next mission was another Eomer mission but boy was I unprepared for what came next.  I decided to defend East Emnet. Up until this point I had a pretty easy time with these Eomer levels. This time, I started out in a large Castle Settlement...which was a sign that things might not be so easy this time.

I started out thinking ok another cakewalk here...liberating a farm here, building an outpost there...mowing down Uruk-hai with my Rohirrim...when all of a sudden these new units appear. What are those long things they are holding? They are holding long pikes. Lots of them. Oh crap...an absolute horde of Uruk Pikemen! They totaly annhilated my Rohirrim. Eomer and a couple of his men manged to escape back into the Castle. Quick close the gates! I closed the gates thinking...whew that was close. Ha! They can't get me now! The pikemen withdraw a bit and I am feeling pretty good about myself thinking I just bought myself a bit of time and I can build up some more Rohirrim and take them out! Wait...what's that. A loud Uruk horn sounds and all of a sudden there are  SIEGE LADDERS?!?! BATTERING RAMS!!! I'm dead. I quickly tried to send some archers up onto the walls to attempt to knock off the siege ladders before they got to me...but it was hopeless.  Where is Legolas when you need him?!?! slywink

This massive force of Uruk's proceeded to storm my castle. There were 8 siege ladders set up and sworms of Urks poured onto the walls. They ran a battering ram up to the gates and proceeded to smash it down. It was brutal. It felt like I was watching something out of one of the movies. It was so cool, even though I lost. I can't wait to see the Helms Deep level...I hear you get to build up your forces for 20 minutes prior to the battle. It is going to be massive.

Anyway, I had an absolute blast playing that last level and the rest of them were pretty fun as well. I'd give it a mid 8 to low 9 score, depending on how big a fan of the movies you are.

It's closer to Warcraft 3 than Rome: Total War, but it does have massive battles for a game in the Warcraft vein. Oh and it sure does look damn pretty... smile
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« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2004, 08:23:34 PM »

See hetz thats why i love you.  i can always count on you to touch the parts that "matter".  ill be heading to EB after work based on that little review.
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« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2004, 08:54:19 PM »

Okay Hetz at least i know why you are not out hunting the land of WoW recently!  Sheesh, both of my characters miss supplying you with armor and potions.
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« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2004, 10:00:13 PM »

Quote from: "Jaddison"
Okay Hetz at least i know why you are not out hunting the land of WoW recently!  Sheesh, both of my characters miss supplying you with armor and potions.


Don't worry, I'll be back soon. smile
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« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2004, 10:29:31 PM »

Quote
There's no castle sieges (again I've only played one game so maybe on another map.. hopefully, there is) or thousands of units assaulting an enemy base.


Make sure you play on a map that has "Castles" for starting locations, not camps.
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« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2004, 11:14:57 PM »

Looking forward to this one! My copy shipped from Amazon yesterday (I got in on a $19.99 deal they had in May).

And next Tuesday is LotR RotK EE on DVD!! Whoopie!!
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2004, 12:19:03 AM »

Damn worthless Amazon.  Mine was ordered back in May and they still haven't shipped it yet!  Has said 'preparing for shipping' for two days now.
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2004, 02:52:08 AM »

Some of the first mods are being released already!

First up is Helms Deep, now available as a skirmish/multiplayer map!  biggrin

http://www.fileplanet.com/dl.aspx?/rpgplanet/memw/maps/helms_deep_multi_map.zip

It's in beta still, but it works.
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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2004, 03:22:40 AM »

Hetz just made me want this game frown

I was doing so good with my "no more game purchases until next year" goal too.

Now I just might not make it.

Ya big jerk.
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2004, 07:38:50 AM »

Quote from: "Thin_J"
Hetz just made me want this game frown

I was doing so good with my "no more game purchases until next year" goal too.

Now I just might not make it.

Ya big jerk.


Yeah, I'm kinda hating on Hetz right now too... how am I gonna explain another purchase this close to christmas??

Dammit Hetz, take a page from LE, our resident wet-blankets book; tell us how it let you down. slywink

Just kiddin' (LE).  Cool
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