Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MIddle Tier Middle-Earth

I made an interesting find in the local independent game store this weekend: a used copy of the now out-of-print PC game Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring. It must have been the last game made using the book licenses before the huge blitz of movie-licensed ones in the early '00s. It was only ten bucks, and the novelty and curiosity of the item, and it's good condition, complete in box and all, sold me on it.

War of the Ring is a 3D RTS very much in the style of Warcraft III. Very much in that style. You begin the campaign with two missions where you're playing an army of dwarves led by Gimli, son of Gloin. From there, you have the option to play as the forces of Gondor (if I'm not mistaken) led by Boromir, or take on another mission to track down Gollum. I didn't try that one, so I'm not sure who the player faction is.

I only made it as far as completing the tutorial missions and a few of the main campaign as the forces of good, because for some reason I was unable to get game saves to work in Windows 7. I did some quick searching online, and the suggested fixes for Vista had no effect. Compatibility mode also, no dice. My player profile would save, recording what mission I was on, but there was no mid-mission or quicksave ability, which is frustrating in an RTS, where missions can sometimes go beyond an hour, and a single mis-click can wreck your whole strategy.

In the end, while I thought War of the Ring was interesting, I still have something like 70 missions of Warcraft III that I've never played between the rest of the main game and expansion, and as dumb as Warcraft lore is, Blizzard are the kings of play and feel, and at least I'm less familiar with that game's lore than that of LotR. Going forward, I'll continue my play through more of Warcraft III.

On the subject of Blizzard games, Overwatch has really convinced me of its worth. It's an undeniably great game. You could make a case for it being nothing more than three game types on a handful of maps, but even so, there are 21 highly differentiated characters that all feel great and are enjoyable to play, and somehow there is even some modicum of balance in how they all check and are checked in terms of power by multiple others. It's team-based arena FPS action with the character design of a fighting game. The matches aren't overlong, and even though the 'progression' and extrinsic rewards for play are limited, it's hard not to jump right back into another after viewing the after action report. It's a real fun time.

I'm continuing to play more Regicide, as well. I'm in the middle of the middle of three "campaigns" of 10 scenarios as the Blood Angles. If it doesn't get too difficult, I'll probably finish them all and maybe even the two Ork campaigns, as well. The combination of Chess, XCOM, and 40K is just what I crave, apparently.

Regicide update: On reflection, the AI is pretty dumb sometimes, moving itself into check, which really shouldn't be allowed. Neat game, but even so, I think I'm going to move on.

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