Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II

Since it was requested I went ahead and played LotR:BfME2(Holy acronym Batman!)
If you have never played Battle for Middle Earth II or the original and do not know what an RTS is, and would like to know what it is, start reading here. If you have move on to the paragraph after the first.

Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II(from now on BfME II) is a real time strategy game. Basically the point of these type of games is you must gather resources, research upgrades, build up your base, defend it from enemies while training troops to destroy your enemies. You take command of multiple types of unites and point and click where they go. Now that you understand what kind of game BfME II is, on to the review!

BfME II is obviously the sequel to he original BfME. It changed some things that I liked, and didn't like as well. Starting off though, the controls and hot keys seem to work well. The graphics aren't great, though it was made in March 2006, (almost 5 years ago!) but can be ignored easily unless you're a graphics-whore. The AI is mediocre, and has sometimes caused me heartache such as a when a single unit told to stand guard at a spot ends up chasing an enemy hero across the map and yells at me "We're under attack!".

The game differs from the original in that it now offers new factions. The Men of Gondor and Rohan has been combined into Men. Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins are all new additions and of course Isengard and Mordor are back. I really liked the fact that they added new fations giving a more complete feel to Middle Earth. There's also a couple of other things I liked about this game more than the original. I for one enjoyed the fact I could build any building anywhere including walls. Though it did take some strategy out of the game. I also liked the new create a hero mode where you can make your own hero and use them in game. I also like the new War of the Ring mode, albeit it is a little simple. The new size of armies is also nice, since it makes the huge battles we remember from the movies/books actually seem big. Unfortunately with the good, comes bad.

The games campaign in my opinion seemed rushed and poorly done. Unlike the original game's which actually took you through all of the movies locations and then some. I also wish the create a hero was a little more in depth on the customization. I would like to also see units being able to mount walls like in the first game. War of the Ring, while fun, is too simple and easy to build. Most of the complexity is taken out since you can only build 3-4 types of buildings on the map.

If BfME III ever comes out, I would love to see some of these things implemented alongside some more things. Perhaps Knights of Dol Amroth? Or even possibly make the game about the second age instead of the third. I would also like it if they would make the campaign on the good side more engaging and the evil side needs a complete rework, because as it stands it wasn't very much fun at all. Either way I enjoyed the game quite a bit and still find it fun to play from time to time. I don't expect to see another sequel anytime soon however, which I find disappointing.

Together we guard the white tower!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mount and Blade: Warband. First impressions

So I decided to go ahead and do a first impressions of Mount and Blade: Warband.

If you have played Mount and Blade or the sequel then skip to the next paragraph. If you haven't then keep reading. Mount and Blade is an extremly fun game that has unique concepts such as directional blocking and hitting. (you actually have multiple ways to swing your weapon and multiple ways to block) Each fight gives you experience and gold. You will level up various skills that effect you and your party and the gold is to buy troops, items, or keep paying the ones you have. The game is pretty much about riding around on a map looking for fights or going to villages to gather troops to fight with. 80% of your time will be spent on an overhead map where you click and your sprite runs to the location. You will either encounter enemy armies or ally armies, and hopefully not die. The game also features fation vs faction fighting which is a huge part of your mid-late game. There are things such as sieges, skirmishes and old style tournaments. Each faction has unique troop types and there are tons of items to buy and sell.

I recently got this game only a few days ago and have bee playing it quite a bit. I played the original M&B so this game was not a new concept for me. In all reality the game itself feels more like a patch update rather than an actual new game. Some changes I noticed right off though is the fact that the map is new(with the addition of an extra faction) and various other graphic and control upgrades. There also seems to be a more in depth character progression and you seem to be allowed to become the king one day.

While some of you reading this may think "What's the big deal? Sounds like a sequel to me." This is true, it has all the signs of a sequel, new map, new chars, new faction, more items, better graphics/controls, better in general. But the problem I encounter with this is also the thing that makes me love M&B so much. The modding community. The modding community is what makes me feel like this game cheated me out of my money. The game is very well known for having tons of mods which keep it alive and fresh. There may be some such as graphics updates(which can make the game look absolutely beautiful) or battle size changers, (1000 troops vs 1000 troops all at the same time? Yes please, I would like my computer to shoot flames out the exhaust) and some can be highly complex mods. Some that I have seen are complete remakes almost, such as one I saw that was a star wars mod, another was a LotR mod. This is the main reason though I feel swindled in a way, because the game changed nothing that I couldn't get out of a mod... except for one thing

The one thing different about this game that could not be modded is the multiplayer. Now, I used to think I was pretty decent at this game, slaughtering hundreds of NPC's by myself, routing any enemy army that dared cross me... Then I found multiplayer and realized how quickly I actually suck at this game. Whenever I feel good about myself I go and play with the giants of M&B and get crushed as they send me away in tears. I'm lucky if I even get a hit in on them before they slaughter me like a pig. That being said, it is perhaps the most fun I have had in a multiplayer game in some time. There is no feeling like having huge seiges where your archers on the walls are raining death upon the enemy as they all raise shields attempting to defend themselves.

In the end I suppose my experience with this game is a positive one. It has a highly active modding community and enough replay value to keep playing. If you get into modding the game(which I highly recommend, it's simple) then the game will basically always be new to you. All in all, I would definitely recommend this game if you either have not bought the original or if you have but must have the multiplayer. The original M&B is much cheaper but keep in mind that the mods being made are mostly for the newer game. I do plan to do a much more in depth review one day so we will see then how it is.

With all that said, I am off now to go play it some more if that says anything about the game.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Purpose of this blog

So basically I have decided that my life has enough time in it to form a blog. Yes I know >99% of the people in the world could care less about my blog, but I have decided to do it anyway. Basically the main focus of this blog will be to play, review, and post about games. The possibility of  let's play is always open, though I need a decent mic for that. There may be some inclusions about my life, but we will see. I can do reviews about games you followers would like(at the time of this writing, all 0 of you) but, if no one picks anything I will just pick whatever I have been playing lately.

I can also write about tips, walkthroughs, bugs, or glitches in general, help or pretty much anything. (assuming I know anything about them of course) Now then, I know I am forgetting many things but let's get this rolling.

Lately, I have been playing:
Mount and Blade: Warband
Darkfall Online
League of Legends

If you would like me to play a game and review it, let me know. If you would like a let's play of a game you can let me know for that as well. I own a Xbox 360, and a PC. I have access to every system though, but would prefer requests to have a PC platform. I like most types of games so just ask.
For Now I will sign off and post back later tomorrow or so. Perhaps with my first partial review.

In case this blog wasn't already nerdy enough
May the force be with you