E3 2006 First Look Preview
Consider the firsts – for
the first time ever a home console system is capable of a full-on real-time
strategy game with high-quality graphics, and this is the first Lord of the
Rings franchise title for the 360 platform.
Yes, Battle for Middle-earth
2 is a port, of sorts, from the PC title that was released a while ago, but
while it has the full content from the PC version, there were a lot of elements
that were affected in order to realize this version. For example, the PC version
uses the keyboard well, and – as of right now – there is no keyboard for the
360. A problem? Not for the folks at Electronic Arts.
EA showed off the game
during a pre-E3 event held in the Redwood Shores Studios recently, and this is a
game that is spot on when it comes to faithfully reproducing the feel and look
of the PC counterpart.
First, the dev team took
most of the highest resolution graphics from the PC title and imported them
over to the 360. Through Xbox Live, there is voice-over capability. The game
itself features locations from the books that were not in the films. Because the
360 has an achievement system, players can set up achievements for different
types of games. There are four modes in multiplayer – king of the hill, capture
the flag, resource race and hero versus hero. Multiplayer will support up to
four gamers. Unlock achievements and you can unlock heroes.
The game’s controls were all
revamped – obviously – to suit the 360 controller with a targeting reticule in
the middle of the screen. Using that reticule it appeared easy to select units
and issue them orders. The buttons are all actions and the right trigger opens
up the command menu. Players will be able to ‘bookmark’ separate control groups
in the UI as well as buildings and locations.
The look of the game is very
good and adheres well to the PC version. Those who missed out on the PC, but
have a 360 and are looking for a solid RTS experience should have this on their
must-have lists. LotR: Battle for Middle-earth 2 will ship to retailers this