The Lord of the ring

By Team Digit Published Date
01 - May - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - May - 2006
The Lord of the ring
It's here, Precioussssss.…
Long days have passed since the first rumours spread from the West-The Battle for Middle Earth would begin again, this time with more fire than ever before. We clutched our swords in anticipation and excitement; finally, the War is upon us.

We live in boring times-the RTS (Real-Time Strategy) genre has grown weary now. Nothing revolutionary has happened in the area for many eons, with game developers relying more on theme and setting than concept. The need to innovate seems horrifyingly low when you consider that nearly all the gripes we ever had about strategy games have been addressed by now, and any RTS built with a little common sense is perfectly enjoyable.

Middle Earth
As with all the recent LOTR-based games, Battle For Middle Earth 2 (BFME2) is truer to the movies rather than the book, and so, takes the same liberties with the plot that the movies did. Still, there's nothing here that counts as blasphemy by any standard, so fans will be content with shutting up and just enjoying it. Middle Earth has been set up beautifully-the atmosphere is exactly what you would expect from a game based on the movie. You're going to need a graphics card infused with some elven magic to truly take in these wondrous lands-my NVIDIA 6600 started crying for mercy when I turned up the settings to High at 1024 x 768 and will probably go on strike if I try the Ultra High settings at 1280 x 1024. Even at Medium, though, it's one of the best-looking games we've seen.

The game follows the many battles that took place in the book (and its appendices), including the two legendary confrontations at Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith-which will now go down in history among the greatest RTS missions of all time, courtesy EA. In the Good campaign, you will be in control of the races of Men, Elves and Dwarves, purging evil from Middle Earth, with the aid of Heroes like Gandalf, Glorfindel, Arwen and many other familiar faces.

There's also the Evil campaign, which lets you squish all those nasty hobbitses and elves into the ground and spread Darkness in the land-more enjoyable than you'd think.

Draw Your Swords
BFME2 won't win any awards for revolutionising the concept of the RTS-the job description is still the same: gather resources, build units, guard base, poke enemies in the eye; repeat as desired.

What we should give EA a pat on the back for is breaking away from the standard control-panel-at-the-bottom interface that's become so tired, and making an interface that's incredibly intuitive and convenient.
Another welcome addition is the Planning Mode, which lets you pre-issue commands to all your units and then make them all execute at the same time.

BFME2 is a game that encourages you to get out there and fight your enemy tooth and nail-as your units gain battle experience, they will gain more skills that you can have them use in battle. The magical powers of heroes, too, only come with more fighting experience. You will be rewarded for being aggressive with Power Points, which you can then trade in for powers, like the ability to shroud your troops in mist or cause devastating earthquakes.

All Hail The Dark Lord
In the skirmishes, you can hunt down Gollum on the map (not an easy task, mind you-he's slippery) and kill him to make him drop the One Ring. This is a highly recommended activity, for your opponent will also be alerted of the dropping of the Ring-and all hell will break loose as you try to bring it back to your base safe and sound. If you thought that an RTS could never give you a rush of adrenaline, this should make you feel pretty silly.

If you manage to bring the Ring back to your camp, you can summon either Galadriel if you're on the good side or the Dark Lord Sauron himself if you've sided with evil-both (obviously) immensely powerful.

Summoning Sauron will probably guarantee you a clear win unless you manage to botch up your game really badly. Being the Dark Lord and everything, he will inspire fear in the opposing camp, causing inexperienced units to run like chickens. As he saunters across the map, he will decimate armies in a sneeze, bring down walls more easily than we crush Styrofoam, and will leave your opponent (human or AI) crying like a baby. One unit was never this much fun.

Slaves Of The Ring
Fans of The Lord of the Rings are going to love this game. Every aspect of the gameplay makes perfect sense in the context of the book. Take away all the LOTR magic, and BFME2 still holds its own as a solid strategy game with a great interface and devilishly nasty AI.

Rating : 9/10
Minimum System Requirements :1.6 GHz Processor, 256 MB RAM,GeForce 3 or better graphics card
Developer : EA Games
Publisher : EA Games
Distributor : Gayatri Impex
Contact : 022-23870260
Price : Rs 1,299

One fair bit of advice: when you go out and buy it (which you must), try and find the DVD-the copy we got for review was (God help us) a 6-pack-for beer that's fine, for CDs, atrocious.

Team DigitTeam Digit

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