Guardians of Middle-Earth

The genre of MOBAs is picking up steam. They began on the PC, and almost all games that fall under the tag reside on the PC as well. The only console MOBA that I’ve seen or played is Awesomenauts, but it definitely plays a bit different than the traditional DOTA style games. It’s more 2-D side scroller, whereas most other games tend to be a 3/4 view, or sometimes 3rd person. I personally enjoy the 3/4 view the best, as it gives the best angle of view, allows for better map awareness, and employs the most fun game-play. 3rd person MOBAs play too much like MMO PvP, and that’s something I’ve already done enough of. Interestingly enough, the console market hasn’t really tapped into the genre, aside from the game I’ve already mentioned. That looks to change this fall.

Guardians of Middle-Earth was announced recently and is going to be console-exclusive. It’s likely that there will be a port to the PC as there was with Awesomenauts, but it is being developed for consoles only right now. Unlike Awesomenauts, GoME will utilize the traditional DOTA style format, meaning a 3/4 view and I assume the typical laning type game play. There have been teaser videos for the game featuring different champions (guardians?) which sheds some light on their abilities and shows some game-play. Check out the newest video:

The graphics look pretty amazing in my opinion, and the game-play looks very much like DOTA or LoL, although the graphics are a bit more realistic than LoL. Lighting effects look great, animations are smooth. To top it all off, the game is based on one of my favorite intellectual properties, Lord of the Rings. Playing a game type that I love with memorable characters such as these should be a great experience. Although, an IP like this doesn’t necessarily make the game, because of the fact that most of the LOTR inspired games I have played really weren’t all that great. Here’s hoping that this one doesn’t disappoint.

My main concern though, is how the game will play on a console. When playing LoL on the PC, you use a combination of keyboard and mouse controls, although really you only need to use a total of 6 keys, that’s including the two mouse buttons. So sticking with this formula, there are enough buttons on a PS3 controller to handle the bare minimum. But what is camera control going to be like? Will you use the stick to control your camera or the avatar? I assume skills will be assigned to buttons, but then how will you aim them? Will there be a cursor you move around, and “click” to move with? These are questions that I hope are answered before I get my hands on the game. I believe the best way for them to go about doing things, given my years of experience with Playstation controllers, would be to utilize the left joystick to move your avatar, and the right stick to move the camera. Or they could go with a static camera that follows the character, and you use the sticks to move the camera and to aim abilities. Whatever the case, I believe it is completely doable, I am just concerned that the game-play could suffer if the controls aren’t done just right. Time will tell, but this is definitely a game I am looking forward to!