"Bringing MOBA Gaming to your Console... Precious!"
Oh boy, things are going to get exciting, because not only has Monolith Productions brought us a MOBA-style Lord of the Rings game, titled Guardians of Middle-earth, but they've managed to put it onto a console. A MOBA game on a console, you ask, but how? Can it even be good?! I know, I know… many of you are probably asking these questions out loud to yourselves, but do not worry fellow gamers! I will give you the lowdown on this wonderful idea of a game.
First off, let's talk a bit about the game itself. Yes, Guardians of Middle-earth is a Lord of the Rings tie in, and yes, its aesthetics match beautifully the world of Lord of the Rings. Even better is the authentic soundscape of film actor voices and the great musical score. Now, for those wondering what a MOBA game is, or how it plays out in GoME, here's the skinny: each player / team starts at one end of the map, and utilizing an army of twenty different characters, the players move through defensive towers and foes towards the opposing players base, slaughtering all in sight and gaining experience while unlocking new abilities. Each character has a range of abilities, but your main focus is strategizing the most efficient way to destroy as much as possible. Think of it as an RTS on speed.
MOBA titles excel on the PC due to the precise controls a mouse offers, but Monolith has done something great here with Guardians of Middle-earth. Utilizing a more Age of Empires-style attack structure, abilities are used without much frustration, and everything still feels very, very precise even if the game mechanics are not as hardcore as say DoTA. These simplified controls implemented with stellar game design make GOME feel as authentic as any PC MOBA game could be. If you are a console gamer and a PC gamer, you will make the switch to console easy, but if you are a PC gamer, it will take some "stepping down off your high horse" to see how genius the design in GoME really is.
Buying items is straightforward and simple, and it's done on the fly rather than at a hub, so things are made to move quicker within GoME. Hardcore MOBA fans may moan and think that Monolith is now making an "everyday gamer title", and maybe that's true, but what is cool is the fact that as an experienced MOBA gamer, it was easier to get my friends to play Guardians of Middle-earth rather than try to convince them to play League of Legends or something of the like. Besides, it's Middle-Earth, and that makes it much easier to get almost anyone involved.
Of course, there are plenty of problems to be had with GoME too. My games continually suffered from terrible lag issues or random glitches. I was kicked out of games left and right, and often I was so frustrated with the connection issues and lag I had to put the game down and drink heavily to null my frustration. The matchmaking system is equally poor and unreliable, and connecting to games took me a long time. It reminded me of the days of logging onto a busy game server back in the mid 90s. Pretty pathetic, because Guardians of Middle-earth is a stellar game and it's these connection problems that get in the way of a great gaming experience. Fortunately, it's a little hard to fix a bad game design but it's at least plausible to fix connection and server issues with updates, if Monolith is willing to do so. I hope they do, because I really want to get more people playing GoME. We'll see what the fates hold for this title in the future!
GameDynamo's Score for Guardians of Middle-earth (X360)
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