LoTR: Battle for Middle Earth 2 Preview
Gandalf action figures, LoTR risk, Gollum edible panties…the Lord of the Rings franchise has to have made the Tolkien family a ridiculous amount of money with the fabulously capitalistic practice of merchandising. As though they need another fleet of private jets or another harem of brothel wenches, they have allowed Electronic Arts to use the properties from their books along with New Line’s movie properties, following a long period of not letting anyone touch anything from the books on punishment of evisceration. And so we see the merging on book ad movie properties into The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth…2. That’s a freaking long name, so it must be good.
Be it good or bad, a large part of making a completely successful game is originality and novelty. BFME was cool because you could relive all the major battles from the movies, but nearly everyone has seen the movies several times; our culture is saturated with Peter Jackson’s work. Quite frankly, the game’s characters, units, and story just werent that interesting to me; I’ve seen all that 50 times already. But now that EA has free reign on everything from Tolkien’s work as well as some creative freedom, BFME2 feels much lusher. I feel compelled to finally explore the full, detailed world that Tolkien made and EA has presented.
What has been presented is mostly the war in the northern regions of Middle Earth that were not covered by the movies, where Sauron was invading the Dwarven and Elven lands adjacent to his fortress at Dol Guldur. So it makes sense that EA has added the elves and dwarves as separate factions in BFME. As you would expect, the elves have some of the highest damage outputs, unit per unit, in the game. Problem is, their units are expensive and can’t take much of a beating themselves; this could be offset by their being “stealthy,” which could mean any number of things. Some units may be able to magically cloak themselves for a set period of time, they may not be able to be seen from a certain distance while they’re in a forest (both indicated by the mirkwood archer, which apparently is good at sniping), or something else entirely. In any case, I bet it’ll make them cool like this:
And what’s cooler than The Fonz? Nothing. Definitely not you, punk. What else comes close are the elven heroes; Thranduil – Legolas’ father – has some mad archer skills, Glorfindel is a heavily armored, quasi-paladin, and Arwen is just saucy, I tell you what. But the coolest new Elven hero is none other than Elrond. I bet he can kill a lot of people.
The way elves can handle laying siege and being sieged themselves works in much a different way than their unit damage/defensive relationship. In other words, they suck at both. Their walls are as strong as Isengard’s, which are just palisades. Similarly, they have poor siege weapons and can’t take down buildings very effectively. The elves are in their element in open battle, where they can tactically manipulate their enemy to put the elves in situations where their strengths are best used.