Guardians of Middle-earth ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Guardians of Middle-earth
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
I doubt that Tolkien thought about potential gaming uses for its characters when writing The Lord of the Rings, but Warner Bros. has managed to take a hold of the fantasy universe for Guardians of Middle-earth and has built a decent MOBA around it.
The game was initially launched on home consoles and is now also available on the PC with a number of changes designed to make the entire experience more interesting and more stable.
Guardians of Middle-earth is designed to be a streamlined MOBA, which abandons some of the more exoteric aspects of the genre in order to deliver a fast-paced game that has clearer rules and better defined progressions for characters.
In the Monolith-created title, players can choose from an assortment of heroes from the Lord of the Rings universe and then join another four players in battle against an opposing team.
Each has two main bases that generate creatures that head towards each other and players need to use their heroes to take out enemy troops, both AI controlled and human, in order to deal with neutral bases, clear out lanes and finally take out the opponents.
The game allows players no chance to buy new items during a match, forcing them to focus on the equipment and the powers that they access when the game starts, which is an interesting decision that puts more focus on the actual battles.
Basically, Guardians of Middle-earth forces players to focus on the present time rather than explore their future item options, which creates a more visceral experience and leads to more ferocious early game engagements.
The entire game is somewhat more linear, which means that a team that can work well for the first ten minutes and secure shrines has a very good chance of winning the match as long as they can avoid making any big mistakes.
The smaller number of heroes when compared to something like League of Legends also makes Guardians of Middle-earth much more approachable, although it can still take tens of hours to become actually proficient with each of them.
Required knowledge for Guardians is not limited to the heroes and it takes some time to play enough on each map to understand where the best ambush spots are and how to avoid getting hit by enemies who have more information about the terrain.
Overall, the experience of this MOBA is solid and the team really manages to make full use of the Lord of the Rings license it is holding.
Guardians of Middle-earth is a good-looking game and the team has clearly spent much time focusing on the individual traits of the various heroes, making sure that players can quickly spot who their enemies and allies are bringing to the battle and what skills they are deploying.
The user interface is a little less developed because it takes a few moments to find pieces of important information, which can be a problem for high-level players who are aiming to stay competitive, but is rarely an issue for those playing mostly for the experience.
Guardians of Middle-earth also has a mode that allows players to battle the Artificial Intelligence and another which sees waves of creatures attack the players team.
The only weird decision is that Warner Bros. has not made its Lord of the Rings MOBA free-to-play, like its main rivals have, which might explain the limited number of players that are currently involved with the new PC release.
The price tag might deter some of those interested and might keep fans of the genre from trying out the game, which in turn will limit its long-term chances of competing in an already crowded space.
Guardians of Middle-earth is not the perfect MOBA, but it’s an interesting attempt to make the genre more appealing to new players and to leverage the fascinating world of The Lord of the Rings.