Monolith has finally taken the MOBA or multiplayer online battle arena genre to somewhere no one would have thought before, with their latest and the first ever big budget MOBA title, Guardians of Middle Earth which takes the traditional PC real-time strategy style game kicking and screaming to the console.
When I first heard that WB Games and Monolith where working together on this title I was unsure how good it would be, lets face it the sheer amount of controls needed within a MOBA title would normally make it something incompatible with the console, which is why it hasn’t been done before, however Monolith have manged to break this down in such a way so it is truly compatible with the controller.
Within the game you play as one of 20 iconic characters/ guardians from the popular series, each of which has been divided into five separate classes that include the Enchanter, Defender, Striker, Warrior and Technician, all of which have been plucked for the Lord of the Rings world in such a way that characters feel great to play as all be it one of the more popular characters such as Gandalf or even lesser known characters like Gothmog.
Each player comes with a set of four abilities inspired by the mythos of the book, which are all upgradable as you progress through the game and allow for a great amount of replayability, but if that isn’t enough Monolith will be releasing new characters in the near future.
The basic objective of GOME is pretty much like any other MOBA, there are two teams of five players within each match who have to work together in order to take out the opposite sides base, each team will also have their own AI soldiers and defense towers which will help to defend their side of the map.
Games will last for 20 minutes and will take place either on a 3-lane map or on the smaller 1-lane map, during a game you must work to protect your towers and base for getting attacked whilst making your way to the other side in order to attack the opposite sides base, as you make your way up the lane towers will fire at the closest enemy in order to protect your side, these can be destroyed by players but as with other MOBA’s like League of Legends it’s not an easy task.
In terms of gameplay I found that Monolith had transferred the feel of a PC MOBA to the console perfectly, even though you lose that noisy keyboard and mouse from the PC, you still fell as though you have complete control over your player, with intuitive controls you really can simply pick up a controller and begin playing.
However there are some great tutorials if you want to get a real know-how before you begin playing.
During a match players can customise and power-up their characters on the fly, which can be purchased with experience points that are earned from killing enemies during a match. You will also be able to upgrade soldiers and defense towers during a game with shrines that can be captured to improve your teams attributes.
Add that to the massive loadout system and that creates a game that is extremely replayable and even upgradeable to your heart’s content. As you do level up you will gain access to more potions, special abilities as well as accessory’s that can be used to make games easier, which helps to create an extremely competitive gameplay with intense matches that keeps the game relevant.
The main mode within GOME as it is a MOBA is of course multiplayer (its in the name,) but you can also select the single player mode where other Guardians will become AI, the only problem is the friendly AI Guardians will for some reason just stand around watching you killing of enemy Guardians, with such enemy Guardians being extremely easy to defeat in the process.
But not all your time will be spent actually playing the game, with a lot of time checking the games leaderboards, profile accounts and socializing with other players in the meantime.
Guardians of Middle-Earth has defiantly paved the way for MOBA’s to make their way to the console, as developers have managed to mix the size of the Lord of the Rings world with the strategy based genre that is both exciting and enjoyable to play.
I would recommend this game to anyone looking into it, its original and exciting gameplay has defiantly stuck an awesome on my ratings scale, there are some lag spikes and matchmaking disconnects within the game which was quite annoying yesterday but after leaving it another day I found these issues to only be temporary.
You should defiantly give GOME a go it’s available on the PS3 and Xbox 360 now.