2 thoughts on “The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle ”

  1. 103 of 117 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Rogash hurt!, December 11, 2006
    By 
    Ian (USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
    This review is from: The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch King (DVD-ROM)

    Since the conclusion of the magnificant Lord of the rings film trilogy, those of us who are fans of this fictional world have to turn to whatever sources we can to enjoy it. Well, there’s the books and movies of course, but we do crave other things, such as high quality video games. EA, who has had a stellar record with creating great video games based on this universe, now brings us thier latest adventure, (takes deep breath) The lord of the rings: The battle for middle earth II expansion pack: The rise of the witch king (whew!).

    Rather then replaying the classic adventure from the books, EA takes us way back in time for this expansion back, back to the time period just after Sauron was defeated by the last alliance. His most trusted servant, the witch king, has managed to flee destruction and now hides in the North of Middle earth, with only his trusty horse (who is never given a name), his big sword, and his small, three pronged scepter. Now dark lord-less, the Witch king does what any most trusted servant of evil would do…build up his own kingdom! And so, for the next 500 years (not really mentioned in game), everyone’s favorite nazgul will attempt to destroy the kingdom of Arnor in the north and claim it for his own.

    With the stage set, the game begins. You control the Witch king, his various allies, and the new game faction, Agmar. Your goal is to conquer the kingdom of Arnor by any means necessary, including standing on graves, gathering crystals, and destroying magical eleven trees, among other things. Oh yes, you’ll be doing a lot of fighting. Because TLOTRTBFME2EPTROTWK takes place approximatly one thousand sixty years or so before Sauron began rebuilding Barad-dur, the player gets a nice backstory on some of the history of middle earth, including finding out what what the witch king was doing before the events in the films, what happend in the collapse of Arnor, and learn the backstory behind Glorfindel’s famous line, “Do not pursue him! He will not return to these lands. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall.” The new faction of Agmar is introduced, which is a big mix of foot troops, mounted troops, and the new class of sorcerers (but from my experience, they are pretty much useless). In addition, we get to see some famous locations in thier heyday, such as the Barrow downs (before they were corrupted and had nasty wraith things), and we even get to see Aman-sul before it was turned into rubble.

    Furthermore, this expansion pack features a respectable amount of new content. We have the new faction, Agmar, a new campaign, a revised war of the ring mode, and an updated create a hero mode.

    But with all this new content…just exactly how fun is the game?

    While the previous two games in the battle for middle earth franchise have been fun with a respectable level of challenge, the new campaign in TLOTRTBFME2EPTROTWK is without a doubt, the hardest yet in the series. The difficulty level here is high, so high that, with the exception of the first and last missions, it’s pretty much gauranteed that you’re going to have to re-try each mission at least once. On some, five or six times. For me, this is the biggest flaw of TLOTRTBFME2EPTROTWK. It’s just way too hard. I played through the campgain on easy difficulty, and on some of the later missions I was having my rear end kicked and punched non-stop. Several times my teeth were gritting and grinding against each other in frustration. And at one mission (the second Barrow downs), at one point I was howling and screaming like a banshee in sheer frustration and anger (on the fifth retry no less). Why? Very commonnly, you’re going up against very well armed and armored troops during the missions. And not only are they fully upgraded, they frequently outnumber you, sometimes coming out of nowhere on the maps, overwhelming you and making you re-play the mission all over again. Why did it take the witch king 500 years to conquer Arnor? I think it was because he kept pressing the “Restart mission” button over and over again. And keep in mind that I was playing the game on easy. I triple dog dare anyone to play this game on hard difficulty. If you manage to keep from smashing your moniter and taking a sledgehammer to the CD, then you have the nerves of a god.

    The best way I can sum up my feelings about the new campaign is that it feels more like a chore to play it, rather then an experience to be enjoyed. Rather then looking forward to each new mission, I found myself slightly dreading each one, only to find my fears confirmed as I was faced with seemenly impossible mission objectives, overwhelming numbers of vastly superior troops, or moments of “How the hell am I going to do that?!” By the time the climactic siege of the campaign comes by (which took me an hour and twenty two minutes to complete) , I was more burned out…

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  2. 36 of 41 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Good expansion for a classic game, December 18, 2006
    By 
    Andrew C. (USA) –

    Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
    This review is from: The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch King (DVD-ROM)

    This is an expansion pack that does what all expansions should do: it improves upon the original game and adds new content. While RotWK does not revolutionize the basic gameplay of BFME2, it is a worthwhile addition.

    Gameplay: The expansion simply adds more to the intense, visually stunning RTS that is BFME2. The single-player campaign introduces the story of the Witch-king’s rise to power and allows you to play the bad guys, which is fun in this instance. There are 8 mission, plus an epilogue that allows you to play the kingdom of Arnor (a carbon copy of Men of the West). The campaign, at least on normal difficulty, can be quite hard in places, and you might be surprised to find yourself repeating a few of the missions. Overall, it is an adequate diversion, which will take about 5-6 hours to complete.

    The create-a-hero system is much improved. Now, you can create your own in-game avatar using a power-purchasing system that makes sense and will allow for some diversity in the game. You can make a “cheap” hero, who can be afforded during the early game, or make an expensive one that will almost rival Sauron. A few new powers have been added, along with a troll class and some more clothing/armor options. Truthfully, the new power-purchasing system should have been added with a patch, so that people with the original game could receive this fix. In any event, the new system here is much welcomed and makes player-made heroes more balanced and interesting.

    The best improvement of the original gameplay comes with the changes to the War of the Ring (WotR) mode. Now, the armies that you create in the RTS skirmishes carry over to the strategic map and can be moved around with your 4 heroes. There is an upkeep cost that keeps this army persistence feature from getting out of hand. Also, you can build more things from the strategic map, such as siege maps and unit upgrades. Finally, the AI plays a bit smarter. For example, it will retreat when it is losing a fight. Also, AI opponents put up a better fight than before and will build walls occasionally. The WotR mode also has about 10 new territories added to it.

    The major addition to the game is the new Angmar faction, led by the Witch-king. It is a mixture of fallen men, trolls, and sorcerers. It’s distinctive enough to be truly considered a separate race. The most fun unit is the thrallmaster, who can summon a squad of units on the fly to fit most any situation. The sorcerers are interesting too, but fragile and require some close micromanagement. Angmar’s heroes are decent, with the Witch-king and Rogash (a powerful troll) being the best ones. Each of the existing races get a couple new units, including an elite “mini-hero” horde, which is not always worth the high cost (compared to just recruiting a new hero from the fortress).

    Graphics: Basically the same as BFME2, which is to say that they are quite good. On a good computer, you’ll be able to enjoy some beautiful textures, convincing unit animations, weather effects, and other nice graphics.

    Sound: The music is based on the movie soundtrack, which is great. Voice acting is pretty decent. As with BFME2, the ambient sounds, unit acknowledgements, and combat audio are well done.

    Stability/technical issues: The game has been quite stable on my machine. I used to get a crash or two on the WotR strategic map, but no more. The manual does a decent job explaining the new faction and improvements to gameplay.

    Replayability/Value: With the improved create-a-hero system, more persistent armies in the War of the Ring Mode, new units for existing races, and the new Angmar faction, this expansion gives the original game even more longevity. The single-player campaign, though a challenge, is largely forgettable. However, it’s the skirmishes and the WotR strategic game (finally fixed!) that will keep you coming back to this great game.

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