The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy have created a lot of different styles of games over the years, from Role-Playing games, to Stratergy, but Guardians of Middle Earth is the first MOBA (Multi-player Online Battle Arena) game in the franchise, but is it any good? The answer is a resounding yes!
Guardians of Middle Earth is one of the first MOBA’s to grace consoles and it shows what can be done with the genre. All the buttons are well laid out and easy to use so you can focus on fighting and trying to take the towers. There are two different styles of map that you can take, either a 1-lane style or a 3-lane style. The 1-lane matches offer more direct confrontation with the other teams guardians, whereas 3-lane battlegrounds offer more strategic fights.
You can do these two different styles of battles in three different styles of battle, these are the Skirmish, the Battleground and the Elite Battleground. The Skirmish is 5 guardians fighting 5 A.I controlled Guardians, which whilst good and gets you introduced to the game, the A.I is extremely advanced and you will most likely die a lot at the beginning. The Battleground is more of the same, but it is 5 Guardians versus 5 Human controlled Guardians, but it does turn into a skirmish if there aren’t enough players as A.I will take control. It is the Elite Battlegrouds where you fight purely human opponents, but you have to be good enough to unlock this.
There are 20 playable characters to chose from, although you have to unlock some, who range from Gandalf and Legolas to the Witch-King and Gollum and you can even play as Sauron himself. Each character has a different skill-set, so for example, Eowyn is a defender, so all her special abilities are defence based so she can heal other members of the team at a cost to herself, or put up a barrier on members of the team. Whereas Legolas is a Striker, so whereas he can do a lot of basic damage, has a low survival rate. Which character works best will depend on how you want to play the game.
The one bad point of the game is that the A.I is so exceptionally powerful, they can kill you extremely quickly, and with the entire team being composed of them in the Skirmish matches, it can become fairly frustrating extremely quickly, but it is worth the wait to get into the Elite Battlegrounds, as they are all human opponents, which makes the game a lot more fun.
Overall this is a very good game, and its very good to see MOBA’s moving over from PC’s to consoles. This is definitely worth the 1200 MSP/$14.99 and it shows that MOBA’s can be done on consoles and aren’t just the property of PC gamers.