Guardians of Middle Earth is Warner Brother’s new MOBA game based in everyone’s favorite fantasy world. For being an only $15 game available from Xbox Live’s Marketplace and the Playstation Network you’re defiantly going to get your money’s worth out of this simple but super fun PvP game.
The setting of Middle Earth is an interesting one. None of the mechanics or environments really make you feel like you’re playing a Lord of the Rings games. Guardians of Middle Earth could have been set in a different universe and still be just as good. What makes this game have a LotR feel is the characters. Guardians of Middle Earth didn’t just copy the movie cast completely, they added a variety of characters from the movie and made some up for themselves. And the playable characters from the movie aren’t the major ones either. Sure you can play as Legolas and Gandalf, but besides them the next major characters are Gollum, Sauron, and Galadriel. It recreates Middle Earth in a different light, which is a nice change from other LotR games.
A great part of Guardians of Middle Earth is the amount you can customize to your character and playing style. As you progress through the ranks you gain credits to buy new relics and gems with. These relics have gem holding places that interact with one another. It makes customization easy and opens up many different unique possibilities. Each of the current 20+ characters also have a very personalized playing style. You can’t learn to play the game and then switch characters. Each one uses different skills that the player has to learn to use.
These features add lots of customization to the game, but it also creates a big learning curve. Because every character is so different it takes an entire match or two to figure out new character’s playing style. And because the customization is so diverse it takes some time to figure out working combinations. This, paired with the fact that you can’t unlock very many gems, relics, characters, and potions, makes it so you’re not going to do very well your first couple of games. Guardians of Middle Earth is a game that’s based on the player’s skill with their specific character, not just video game skill or general skill with the game.
For an MOBA game I couldn’t be happier with Guardians of Middle Earth. Sure, the game has some similar flaws to other games in the genre, like repetitive combat and matches, but it’s play style overcomes these negative traits. Unlike other MOBA games it’s not so much of a button mashing game, or a game where the highest rank wins. The outcome of the match depends on individual players skills, not just how they customize their loadouts but how they perform mid-game.
The match lengths in GoME are perfect, ranging from 15-30 minutes. It’s enough time for the tide of the battle to turn numerous times, but isn’t long enough to get bored of the character you’re using. It also makes it easy to hop into a match before work or school and not have to worry about finding a couple hour block of free time to really get into the game. On the downside the average wait time for matches is usually between 1-3 minutes, but don’t be surprised if you have to wait 10+ minutes to finally start playing. And when you do find a match it might be against a full team of AI. Luckily the AI are challenging, and you’re not going to win all of your matches against the computer.
Guardians of the Middle Earth has promised DLC in the form of new guardian characters to choose from. Hopefully they extend that DLC to encompass a couple of new maps, because right now there’s only two maps, one with a single fighting path and one with an arching three different paths. Still, for now the characters and maps avialble will keep you playing the game longer than you’d expect. At an only $15 pricetag this is easily one of the best arcade games to come out in 2012. I highly recommend this game, for you and a couple of friends. The superior coordination and faster match finds from playing with friends will make this game that much better. So arm up, jump in, and I’ll see you in Guardians of Middle Earth.
Note: This game was reviewed after over 7 hours of game play and completion of over 15 separate online matches. This review was written after careful consideration playing with a variety of characters and loadouts. For this review Guardians of Middle Earth was played on the Xbox 360, although the game is also available on the PS3.