Just like Halo made great strides in proving that FPS games could work on a console, Battle for Middle-Earth II opens new and console-shaped doors for the RTS genre, almost exclusively the realm of PC gaming. Games like Starcraft or Dawn of War are simply too complex and fast-paced, some gamers say, to be played with a standard gamepad.
Those gamers are dead wrong. Battle for Middle Earth II is simple enough to pick up and play after only a cursory glance at the control scheme, but it also provides the sort of depth that genre fans crave. Far from being a kiddie version of a PC game, Battle simply streamlines the controls down to their quick, intuitive essence.
In the game, players can select one of two single-player campaigns (one Good, the other Evil) that chronicle the larger War of the Ring, a conflict largely unaffected by the Fellowhip’s journey. In addition, players can go online with up to 3 friends in five different game modes. Progressing through each mission and completing special bonus objectives will unlock achievements (the game has 35 total, spread liberally between single and multiplayer), as well as new heroes to lead the multiplayer armies, each of which has its own tree of customizable powers to help turn the tide of war. The game is fast-paced and has a forgiving learning curve, never seeming A