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Guardians of Middle Earth - First impressions

by Nicholas Holden (Holden ZA)  Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 12:50:00 PM

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Guardians of Middle Earth, is the Lord of the Rings inspired and "Multiplayer Online Battle Arena" or MOBA. The feature that sets this title apart from the traditional MOBA titles is that Guardians of Middle Earth is strictly for consoles, specifically Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. 

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The MOBA world has been dominated by PC as with titles such as Dota 2 and League of Legends gaining huge recognition throughout the gaming industry, with some players even being able to make full time careers out of the game. Now with Gaurdians of Middle Earth being the first MOBA title ever on console will it be able to live up to the expectations of the MOBA world or just another title that leans on a big budget title for sales? Well I have had the game for little over a week so these are my first impressions of the title. 

Gaurdians of Middle Earth has had a few obstacles to overcome, due to the fast paced environment usually associated with the MOBA world. A keyboard and mouse allows you to have a huge amount of options with regard to 'hot-keying' where as a single controller has a very limited amount of buttons to choose from. So what the developers, Monolith Productions, has had to do is scrap most of the traditional elements, but that has allowed for some interesting reinvention of the MOBA series. 

One of the basic features of the MOBA world has been the basic 'shopping' mechanic that allows users to buy items that compliment their characters. However, what that usually requires is speedy keyboard movement thus it just wouldn't work on console. So what they did was incorporate ruins into the game, so players will be able to do all their shopping essentially before their game. This method works, but still isn't as enjoyable or rewarding as the traditional MOBA store method. 

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Being a console title , one of the most difficult mechanics for a MOBA title on to overcome is the movement mechanics and battle mechanics. As the MOBA titles have been always based on 'mouse principles' , being strictly point-and-click. This method just wouldn't work on console due to the sluggish movement speed with regard to analog movement. What Guardians of Middle Earth does is scrap the traditional point-and-click mechanic and replace it with an radius style combat. This means that each attack you do will have a radius effect. At first I was extremely skeptical of radius styled combat but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy a natural it felt after the first play through. 

Being a Lord of the Rings fan I can't help but say that I loved playing with all the characters such as Gandalf, Legolas and Smeagle. My basic first impression is that the game is a load of fun but really needs some work with regard to its online functionality. The core functions of the game work nicely, the game doesn't live up to the expectations of its predecessors Dota 2 and League of Legends. Think of it rather as the younger brother that still has allot to learn from its older brother as Guardians of Middle Earth tries to make its way in the console environment. 

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd



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