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E3 2012: Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle-earth (Impressions)

Posted by: Matt at 6/14/2012 3:00 PM
With the success of League of Legends it was only a matter of time before another company put together a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), but Warner Brothers had a bit of a surprise in store at E3. Take the established world of Lord of the Rings, and mix it up with MOBA gameplay, and then release it on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. Lord of the Rings: Guardians of Middle-earth is what you get, an interesting attempt to release a MOBA on a home console.

A short behind doors demo introduced me to this unique experience for console players, and I left with a pretty good feeling that the guys at Monolith have a pretty good idea of what they're doing. The most pressing question was how controls worked on a console controller, and the answer was, surprisingly simple. Using the face buttons on a controller made it easy to utilize the four skills tied to one of twenty different guardians. 

The twenty guardians included are all iconic figures from the Lord of the Rings universe, and offer players five different classes to choose from. Players can further customize their guardian with a gem belt that allows users to slot in gems for specializations, with gem combinations being available to further boost their skills, making each character a player creates unique to their play style.

A couple of new touches that Guardians of Middle-earth will bring include the ability to upgrade towers and soldiers, tool-tips that are specific to the champion being used at the time, and one lane battles, which will lead to some ugly skirmishes in the ten player matches.

Seeing the game on the show floor, there was always a line to give it a shot, and casters were on hand to give the play-by-play to people walking around the booth. It looks early, but Monolith is attempting to capture a new audience on PSN and XBLA and this game could be one to do just that when it comes out later this fall.