Guardian’s of Middle-earth: Review (Includes The Shire)

Okay so originally I was going to try and do a cool video review thing, but after a whole weekend of me nearly destroying my computer, here is my traditional review of Guardian’s of Middle-earth. This is Xbox Live Arcades first MOBA and I couldn’t have been happier to find this genre of game come to the console for a whole new target audience. I only played the one for Xbox 360 so I can’t speak for anything that might be Playstation 3 specific, so here we go.


It wouldn’t be much of a review unless I gave you some background information on the game itself. The game pits two teams of 5 guardians against each other, and the objective is to destroy the other teams main tower. There are two different game types skirmish and battlegrounds, skirmish pits 5 players against 5 A.I. guardians and is a great place to learn new guardians and loadouts. Battlegrounds is the pvp portion of the game Elite Battlegrounds will only use players, while regular battlegrounds will fill teams with A.I. players if matchmaking takes too long. Each of these game types can either be played as three lane or single lane. So now that you now the basics lets jump into the specific reviews.


The game plays great on console and you can tell a lot of time was put into making sure that everything that you needed to be able to do was right on the controller and easy to access. Skills are used with the A,B,X,Y buttons while basic attack is RT and abilities are LT. The brilliance in the game play though lies in how targeting works instead of having to constantly target with the right stick your skills and basic attack will lock on to a target making it easier to hit them. Overall the gameplay is very fluent and easy to learn, but hard to master.


The game originally only contained two different maps, the original three and one lane, but recently they added in the shire compatibility which in celebration of The Hobbit allows guardians to duke it out in the shire. This is something that is super important to take note of as they have already added content in both the form of new guardians and environments making the game continue to feel new. The possibilities of different loadouts gives the game tons of depth as you can build guardians either traditionally or even in ways people wouldn’t expect (like my race car Witch King build). Adding a whole new level to the competition on ways to counter loadouts without being certain as to what they are before the match.


Wouldn’t be a fair review if I did nothing but fanboy (pun intended) over the game as I do have some complaints. The first big one is that at times the queue to get into a match can be almost painful having to wait sometimes up to 5min before going to character select. The second complaint is that while gold (in game currency) seems easy enough to come by, leveling up your rank can almost be at a stand still, especially if you keep losing do to horrible horrible teammates. I am glad that they put some different environments as that was originally something I was afraid of with such great lore there are tons of environment rendering options available to them to use. The last gripe with the game is the Guardians that are available to use seem kind of random, I am still shocked at the fact that the entire fellowship is not in the game, as I could have sworn that would be pretty standard.


Overall Guardians of Middle-earth is an amazing game well worth double the cost that it actually is, at no time do I feel that I am playing an Xbox Live Arcade title, with the Season Pass (getting this weekend to review new guardians) you are going to get tons out of this game then say the disappointment that is Black Ops II ( sorry Ryan you know it’s true). There is no reason as to why everyone shouldn’t at least try the trial version of it, and if you like please buy as the more people that play this game the better it will become.

See you on the battlefield Guardians.

Overall score for Guardians of Middle-earth 4/5

A must own XBLA title.