Guardians of Middle-Earth (Warner Bros. Interactive)Written by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Guardians of Middle-Earth (Warner Bros. Interactive) video game review by Sagar Sharma
MOBA, multiplayer online battle arena, is the ever-growing genre of competitive PC gaming. It pits two players against each other in a real-time-strategy type gameplay. Guardians of Middle-Earth has the difficult task of not only faithfully bringing the Lord of the Rings universe to life but the somehow figuring out a way to convert a PC centric genre to consoles…in this case, Xbox Live Arcade.
When a gamer thinks of an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game being controlled on a gamepad, chills of terror usually follow. The reason for this is its heavy reliance on a mouse and keyboard for precision and access to countless commands. Monolith Productions does a remarkable job of streamlining the experience to feeling as natural as possibly on the Xbox 360 gamepad. To help simplify the experience is the lack of the ability to select or attack a particular enemy. Instead the player attacks a designated area and hopes for the best in the form of a burst attack. This works quite well because if you were to miss the specific enemy you were hoping to damage you would at least get some added bonus in the form of a health or power boost. To also make things simpler, Monolith Productions eliminated the concept of an in-game storefront that is commonly used in MOBA’s for purchases and upgrades. In its place, the gamer selects a perk load out, similar to Call of Duty.
The main draw to this game and the genre of MOBA is competitive online multiplayer, so it is a real shame to see this game trip over and fall on the networking side of things. Expect to see long wait times to be matched into games and constant drops from during online bouts. This is an extremely frustrating experience on a number of levels. Not only will you lose all the abilities and powers you leveled up during the fight but also much of your time will be for nothing as these online skirmishes can last up to 40 minutes.
It is really unfortunate the online gameplay is so unstable as the game behind it is quite promising and shows developers everywhere that the MOBA genre can be successfully executed on console. It is possible the online experience can improve with future patches, but the online experience today is what counts and it needs much work (**(1/2), 1200pts ($15 on PSN), Rated T for Teen (Fantasy Violence)).
+ MOBA computer controls successfully integrated into a console experience
- Horrible network experience holds back competitive play