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Introduction

This is the sequel for Battle for Middle Earth 2. It is a great game, fixing almost all the flaws from the original, and adding many more things to the game.

Graphics: 9/10

The graphics are incredible. From the water, to the characters, to the environment, everything looks great. Sadly, as great as the graphics are, they just aren’t up to the graphics in Empire at War.

Gameplay 15/20

Gameplay is similar to most other RTSs, with a couple of large twists. First off, unlike the original, you can build your base anywhere you want. No more using the same small building area. There is still only one resource, and it is almost as simple as in the original. The difference is that now your mines, farms, slaughterhouses, and such, have a specific radius. If 2 or more are built in the same area, they don’t produce as many resources. This means that you have to expand in order to get resources. Those buildings also increase your population limit. The only real problem with the buildings is how weak they are. The new wall building setup is nice, though they took out the feature that allowed you to place your men on the walls. Your citadel can be upgraded with all sorts of cool things, from a huge catapult, to flaming oil. It is a lot of fun upgrading your castle, and then building huge walls to surround your base. Sadly, the walls aren’t that strong, and fall apart very quickly if someone attacks them. The new special powers are great, and range from summoning in a huge dragon, to causing an earthquake. You can also bring in the watcher in the water, and much, much, more.

There are six factions all together, including men, elves, dwarves, mordor, isengard, and goblins. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Elves and dwarves are good defensive players, while goblins, mordor, and isengard are good at sieging. Men are good all-around. Laying around the maps, there are neutral buildings that you can capture by walking your guys near. When you capture them, they give you a special ability, ranging from building boats, to providing more resources, to regenerating your special powers quicker. The AI isn’t that great, they basically just rush you until you lose. There are quite a few mods out there that make them better, I recommend getting clord’s ai mod, which also makes the buildings a lot stronger to non-siege weapons. One new feature that has the potential to be interesting is the Ring hero. Somewhere on the map, Gollum is randomly generated. The player who kills him then gets the ring, and has to carry it back to their fortress. Once it is there, they can then build Galadriel, if they are the good guys, or Sauron, if they are the bad guys. They are two super heroes that have tons of special powers, and are a pain to kill. There is also an option to build your own hero unit, and customize its appearance, stats, and powers. While this sounds nice on paper, it isn’t executed that well. There aren’t enough choices for what the hero looks like, and a lot of the powers are too strong for the cost of the hero. The War of the ring mode is basically risk on the computer, in which you fight out the battles in skirmish mode. I only played the War of the Ring mode against the computer, so I have no idea how it would play online, but I wasn’t too impressed.

The interface was a pain, and it wasn’t that much fun. Had it been setup more like the Empire at War, it would have been more interesting. The campaign was too short, consisting of 8 missions for the good side, and 8 for the bad. The missions were also very simple. It wasn’t as good as the first game’s campaign at all.

Sound 10/10

Perfect sound.

Stability 5/5

No problems here.

Controls 5/5

Typical RTS controls

Appropriateness

No bad language. There is violence, but no blood. Some of the races say somewhat violent things when they attack. There is some magic, but it is just generic fantasy magic, nothing occultic.

Conclusion

This is a decent RTS, if you avoid some of the gameplay problems. Clord’s AI Mod fixes a lot of those problems, so download that, and you are set. The collector\\'s edition adds a making of disc, and some new graphics.

Appropriateness Overall Score = 45/50 Killing non-human, fictional beings (-3.5 pts) Fairy tale type magic is used in game by player. (-1.5 pts) Gameplay overall score = 43/50

Overall score = 88%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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