Grass Pants Reviews – Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle-Earth

When I first heard that a Lord of the Rings MOBA was being made, I was kinda interested. … Then I found out that it was console exclusive, and all that interest went away. I mean, how good could a point-click heavy genre be without the ability to, y’know, point and click? Thankfully, I was wrong about how it’d turn out.

If you’ve played a MOBA before, then you know how it works. Teams of five, lanes, ultimates, all that jazz. It’s all present in Guardians of Middle-Earth, with the exception of items. It’s honestly not that bad and actually makes a lot of sense. The game is far more fast-paced than League or DOTA, and having to navigate a shop would really slow it down. Instead of items, you have runes, rune belts, and potions. Runes/rune belts are essentially the runes/masteries of the game. I never messed with them myself (this review is based on a buddy’s copy), but rune belts include such effects as granting HP per kill or magic penetration. Potions behave like you’d expect, working as heals or temporary buffs. The controls are nice and smooth. Character movement and aiming are assigned to an analog stick each and abilities are set to the face buttons. It’s pretty standard stuff, so that’s why it’s only getting a little note tacked onto the paragraph.

Now, as far as champions heroes gods characters go, it’s a nice bunch to start with. You’ve got some familiar faces (Legolas, Sauron, Gandalf) and some I’m convinced were made up for this game (everyone else). Everyone is fairly well balanced, in the ‘you need to know how to play against them’ sort of way, so that’s a plus. As a quick aside, if anyone plans on playing this game, I highly recommend Felgrom, the tiny, explosive goblin, because nothing is more fun than killing yourself in a glorious explosion and nabbing a double-kill with it. Yes, that’s his ultimate. He blows himself up. Yes, it kills you.

I don’t have many problems with this game, to be honest. It controls nicely, looks pretty good, and has some pretty cool mechanics. My only big problem (community aside), is how the business model works. First, the game is 15 bucks. Okay, I can understand that, it’s a downloadable title and the developers have to make some money. Here’s the problem: You slap down fifteen bucks for this game and you still need to grind away (or pay real-world money) for new characters. And then there’s DLC, which just came out, including two new characters. Characters that I’m not entirely sure if you can get by playing the game, like – to my knowledge – every other MOBA out there. That’s my biggest problem with this game: You’re paying for the game and you get the bare minimum unless you either grind away matches or pay more. I’d be more okay with this if it were cosmetic stuff (a ‘Gandalf the White’ skin, for instance), but it’s not.

Anyway, if you’re really wanting a new MOBA and aren’t happy with any of the several dozen already on PC, then pick up Guardians of Middle-Earth. It’s not bad, but I don’t see it becoming anyone’s go-to game in the genre. It’s legitimately fun and fast-paced, but how the real-money side of things works really puts me off. That and it being 360 exclusive. Anyway, thanks for reading and have a good’un.

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