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Lord of the Rings

LEGO photo
LEGO

LEGO The Hobbit now available


Watch this charming launch trailer
Apr 08
// Conrad Zimmerman
Warner Bros. has released LEGO: The Hobbit to retailers in North America today, with a European release coming on April 11. As one might expect, new marketing materials have been released for the game, including the abo...
Middle-earth photo
Middle-earth

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor set for release on October 7


New trailer and pre-order bonuses revealed
Apr 02
// Alessandro Fillari
It's been awhile since we last heard from Monolith's new action-adventure title set in Tolkien's fantasy universe. Now, WB Games has revealed the release date, and fans will get to experience Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor&nb...
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LEGO The Hobbit PlayStation 3 bundle on the way


500GB PS3 for $269
Feb 25
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
If somehow you still have yet to get a PlayStation 3 and also happen to really love The Hobbit and LEGO, then you're in luck. A new PlayStation 3 bundle is on the way that will pack in LEGO The Hobbit. It'll be a 500GB PS3 sy...
Middle-earth photo
Middle-earth

Monolith talks cross-gen differences in Shadow of Mordor


PC, PS4, and Xbox One are the focus
Feb 21
// Jordan Devore
One of the big talking points for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has been developer Monolith's Nemesis system, which involves procedural generation of orcs ranging from their fighting styles to their individual rank and role ...
DTOID News photo
DTOID News is part of a balanced breakfast
Here's Max to cap off the week of videogame news. He claims his laptop battery is almost out of juice but I think he just wanted to get the weekend started early. I'd have done the same thing. The new Thief and Middle-earth:...

Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

First footage of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


Is there anything Talion can't do?
Jan 23
// Jordan Devore
My initial reaction after hearing about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and seeing this eight minutes or so of footage was that it's a shame Monolith didn't come with an original setting. Even if you aren't a diehard Tolkien ...

Preview: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Jan 23 // Alessandro Fillari
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC [previewed])Developer: MonolithPublisher: Warner Bros. GamesRelease Date: TBA 2014 The developers at Monolith weren't shy to talk about the reputation of movie games, and they were clear to share what their influences were, in particular Batman: Arkham Asylum. In terms of production, the Batman series served as motivation during the development of Middle-earth. "We saw Batman: Arkham City as the model," said director of design Michael De Plater, while discussing influences. "We looked at that game as the way to make licensed properties. It's best to make the best game you can first, before trying to make good movie game." Set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, players take on the role of Talion. As a ranger for the kingdom of Gondor, Talion was a guard for the black gates on the eastern side of Mordor -- but on a night like any other, a massive army of Orcs siding with Sauron invaded. Killing many of his allies and loved ones, he is left for dead by the orcs. Unexpectedly, Talion is saved from death by the spirit of a Wraith and given new life and along with new powers. From here, our hero makes his way into Mordor to seek revenge, learn why the Wraith saved his life, and discover what the forces of Sauron have planned. Of course, this story may raise some eyebrows among loyal Tolkien fans. It's somewhat of a departure from the lore, and plans to stick more to the film's style, but the developers at Monolith are confident that fans will enjoy the narrative, as it's one of the bigger focuses of Middle-earth. The lead writer of Shadow of Mordor is Christian Cantamessa, who was also the lead writer of Red Dead Redemption, and he's placed a lot attention on fleshing out Talion and making sure it's in keeping with Tolkien's lore.As an open-ended sandbox action game, players will be able explore Mordor as it was before the return of Sauron. In fiction, Mordor was mostly known as a volcanic wasteland, but Middle-earth plans to show off areas that were filled with wildlife and flora untouched by the volcanic ash of Mt. Doom. Players can even interact and use items and animals from the game world for scouting and combat purposes. Large trees and bushes allow for cover during stealth, and utilizing bait can manipulate aggressive animals against the orcs. As a ranger, Talion possesses abilities that suit him for mobility, and melee and ranged combat. Batman: Arkham Asylum was a key influence and the developers took notes from the design of its action and traversal. Combat utilizes a similar free-flow fighting system from the Arkham series; specifically where players can freely move between individual enemies in a group and maintain combos to unlock special moves and power ups. To take things further, Talion has access to a series of new abilities while in his Wraith form. In this phase, he can enter the Wraith realm (in similar fashion to how Bilbo Baggins uses the One Ring) and observe enemies and points of interest in the game world. Moreover, he also moves much quicker and possesses enhanced archery and combat skills while in Wraith form. When engaging enemies, Talion can switch in and out of his Wraith form to expose weaknesses in enemies and pull off quick shots with his bow and arrow.As expected in a sandbox game, exploring and taking on new challenges will lead to great rewards, such as experience points and journal logs detailing more of the story and history of Mordor. Talion can also acquire ability points through leveling up which can be spent on unique skill trees for his Ranger and Wraith abilities. At the beginning, players will find the offerings somewhat bare, but eventually when you gain new moves and skills, such as a teleport attack called Shadow Strike, Talion becomes a force to be reckoned with. In order for our main character to exact his revenge on Sauron's army, players must create chaos in Mordor to undermine the influences of the orcs in the various zones. This is accomplished by strategically battling through the hierarchy of command by taking out enemy strongholds and camps, to draw out Sauron's Lieutenants to cripple their forces. Of course to do this, players must start at the bottom. In each zone of Mordor, there are a number of captains and war chiefs to combat with, and even pit against each other.  During our presentation, we saw Talion stalking an Orc captain by the name of Ratbag the Meathoarder. Starting with the stealthy approach, Talion takes out various orc soldiers utilizing both ranger and wraith abilities before breaking out into a full-on brawl with the entire camp. Realizing he's outmatched, Ratbag makes a run for it, but is captured when Talion uses a Wraith arrow to immobilize him.From here, players can approach the captain and interrogate him to gain Intel about the other officers in the zone. In a surprising twist, Talion can utilize his wraith abilities to take control of weak-willed captains and use them as temporary pawns in his struggle against the armies of Mordor. The player can assign tasks such as spying on other unknown officers, or assassinating other captains and war chiefs. Using his Wraith form, Talion marks Ratbag as a temporary ally and assigns him a mission to assassinate a war chief by the name of Orthog the Troll Slayer. This decision will create a brand new mission within the zone, which players can choose to accomplish at their leisure. Skipping ahead, we start the assassination mission and see that Ratbag is the second in command to Orthog. Moreover, the captain-turned-pawn has his own band of orcs at his side which will allow for Talion to gain the upper hand against Orthog, but also have a group of orcs fighting by his side under Ratbag's leadership. Surprisingly, the central enemies within Sauron's army are all procedurally generated by the game. Known as the Nemesis system, Middle-earth aims to create a greater level personality and uniqueness for each playthrough. The orc characters seen in the presentation will likely be entirely different for players. Since these characters are randomized, their knowledge and fighting abilities will be completely different for each player and for every repeated playthrough of the game. Everything from the names, fighting style, roles in Mordor, and their personality will be different for each player, according to Monolith. "We put a lot of effort into actually letting players make their own personal and unique bosses and villains in a living world, that was a big focus for us," De Plater said of the Nemesis system. These are not just for cosmetic purposes, but by design for strategic gameplay. During key moments in battle, Talion can acquire Intel from captains, such as strengths and weaknesses about other officers in Sauron's army. How deep their knowledge goes largely depends on the procedural element of the game's engine. One captain may have a deep knowledge of others in the zone, while another may be largely ignorant of who's who.The experience of death leaves a lasting impression on the game world and the morale among the forces of Sauron. Even the lowliest of grunts have potential to become a serious threat to Talion. When Talion is killed in battle, the Orc who lands the killing blow will be promoted in rank and added to the list of officers that Talion will need to take out. Even the lowliest of minions can kill Talion, and their promotion will create a new challenge for players. When revived at the various Forge Towers across the zones, they'll see that their death has motivated forces of Sauron, which will make creating chaos a bit more challenging. Moreover, enemies that escape from Talion during combat will live to see another day and alter their tactics for when players encounter them again. This creates another layer of challenge that emphasizes strategy. Some battles may not be worth running blade first into and will only result in player’s death and a new captain or war chief to eliminate. Even in this fairly short showing of the game, it's clear that the content in Shadow of Mordor is massive; and the developers plan to support players who may feel a bit lost. Warner Bros. Games and Wikia plan to release a companion app for tablets called Palantir. In real time, players can have the app on standby and learn details on the lore, locations, central characters, and other details while playing the main game. Though it's not really necessary for the game, it's a neat little app to have, if you're curious about any references or characters in Tolkien's lore. This title is quite the departure for Monolith games, as it's their first sandbox action game. This presentation of the vertical slice for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was pretty impressive, and shows the ambitious nature of the game. I left quite impressed with what Monolith has got in store for Middle-earth. The Nemesis system in particular is an inspired idea that will definitely incentivize players yearning for a deep single-player experience to revisit. While it’s still a ways off, and showed a number of graphical quirks and glitches that need to be cleared up, it's gotten me interested in what's in store.
Middle-earth preview photo
Sandbox chaos in Mordor
Whenever games tied to a major license are announced, there's usually a collective grumble from fans. Titles based on movies, television, or comics usually don't end up well, as most of the time they're developing with the fo...

Lord of the Rings Online photo
Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online licensed renewed throughout 2017


Good news for dedicated players
Jan 14
// Chris Carter
Renewing licenses can be tricky, and in the case of Lord of the Rings Online, fans were nervous that they wouldn't get to keep playing the game for much longer. A recent scare happened when Massively reported that LOTRO&...
Middle-earth photo
Middle-earth

New screenshots for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


Take down the forces of Sauron in this new open-world title
Dec 16
// Alessandro Fillari
Last month, we saw the reveal of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a new open-world action/RPG set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. While we didn't get a look of the game, we did learn what to expect ...
Lord of the Rings photo
Lord of the Rings

LOTR Online selling level 50 character boosts


To win, insert credit card number
Dec 15
// Harry Monogenis
So yeah, you can now legitimately buy a level 50 boost for your Lord of the Rings Online characters directly from the developers via the MMO's online store until December 19. They've named it the 'Gift of the Valar' and ...
LEGO Hobbit photo
LEGO Hobbit

LEGO Hobbit confirmed for Spring 2014


It's on basically every platform ever
Nov 25
// Chris Carter
It looks like the rumors are true -- Warner Bros. has officially a confirmed LEGO version of The Hobbit, set for a Spring 2014 release. It'll hit the Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Vita, the Wii U, 3DS, and PC/Mac platforms. In oth...
LOTRO expansion photo
LOTRO expansion

Lord of the Rings Online: Helm's Deep expansion out today


Don't tell the elf
Nov 20
// Joshua Derocher
Lord of the Rings Online has a new expansion out today, called Helm's Deep. In addition to being able to take part in the iconic battle, the level cap has been raised to 95, and players will be able to explore new areas of W...
Middle-earth photo
Middle-earth

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor announced


Cross-gen action/RPG prequel to The Lord of the Rings
Nov 12
// Alessandro Fillari
As the second film in The Hobbit trilogy is set to release next month, WB Games is gearing up for its return to Middle-earth. In the upcoming December issue of Game Informer, the publisher lays out its vision for this brand n...
Deals photo
Deals

Latest Humble Bundle has Batman and F.E.A.R.


Deals are deals
Nov 05
// Jordan Devore
Are people still annoyed that Humble Bundle has expanded its scope to feature AAA games? I found the practice a little weird at first, but hey, if it means steep discounts on substantial games and the charity component is in ...
Lord of the Rings Online photo
Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online is having a 100% XP boost month


You know, this game isn't bad
Oct 18
// Chris Carter
Coming off of its fifth expansion, Lord of the Rings Online keeps on truckin', and from now until November 17th, you can enjoy a full month of 100% XP boosts. The campaign itself is presumably to slingshot players into the He...
Lord of the Rings photo
Lord of the Rings

Console MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth coming to PC


Well, this is a bit awkward
Aug 15
// Jordan Devore
Monolith took a crack at making a multiplayer online battle arena experience for consoles with Guardians of Middle-earth. It was an admirable attempt -- and I enjoyed the game quite a lot for what it was, which was a trimmed...
Lord of the Rings Online photo
Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online expansion goes to Helm's Deep


Free-to-play MMORPG's fifth expansion to date
Apr 24
// Jordan Devore
Turbine is continuing The Lord of the Rings Online with yet another expansion, and it's one that was bound to come up sooner or later: Helm's Deep. Launching this fall, the new content will of course revolve around ...
Guardians of Middle-earth photo
Guardians of Middle-earth

Free map skin, new guardian in Guardians of Middle-earth


Have a look at GoME's latest striker
Mar 20
// Harry Monogenis
Just a few days after the release of the White Wizard himself, Monolith has today launched yet another guardian for its console MOBA Guardians of Middle-earth. Unglob is classed as a Striker and her abilities certainly seem ...
Saruman photo
Saruman

Guardians of Middle-earth now has Saruman


White Wizard released as DLC
Mar 15
// Harry Monogenis
Guardians of Middle-earth, Monolith's MOBA which launched on consoles last December, has had yet another downloadable guardian released. This time around, it's Saruman the White. Saruman servers as an Enchanter and has some ...
Guardians of Middle-earth photo
Guardians of Middle-earth

Gloin-Hit! Monolith announces newest playable character


That's one mighty fine beard
Feb 08
// Jason Cabral
Monolith may be drip-feeding its MOBA DLC to their customers, but for those avid Guardians of Middle-earth fans, a new character is about to enter the battle. The newest addition to Guardians roaster is Gloin, father of Giml...
PS Plus photo
PS Plus

PlayStation Plus offers up free Guardians of Middle-earth


Discounts on three other games
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
Starting tomorrow, PlayStation Plus members can nab Monolith's console-exclusive MOBA, Guardians of Middle-Earth, for free. A less-than-active community made it difficult for me to play the Xbox Live Arcade version not long a...

Review: Guardians of Middle-earth

Dec 17 // Allistair Pinsof
Guardians of Middle-earth (Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed], PlayStation Network)Developer: Monolith ProductionsPublisher: Warner Brothers Interactive EntertainmentRelease: December 4, 2012MSRP: $14.99 / 1200 Microsoft Points ($29.99 for retail version which includes season pass)Massive Online Battle Arenas, such as DOTA 2 and League of Legends, are built upon two things: clicking and communication. Taking the genre away from PC and plopping it onto console downloadable services is a mighty task considering that A) you can no longer click and B) hardly anyone communicates online anymore, due to an increasing amount of headsets lost and poo brains that no one wants to interact with. Monolith Productions can only get one of these aspects right, but I don’t think that will be enough to sustain GoMe’s community for long.The MOBA is an offshoot of real-time strategy games, where teams of players defend a base, control a single hero, and push toward the enemy’s base by knocking down high-powered towers. From a distance, it looks like an RTS for dummies. Only through play do you learn the nuances that make these games exciting: Timing your attacks, managing hit and runs on towers, and knowing when to let your AI controlled ground troops (or creeps) do the dirty work for you. [embed]240753:46115[/embed]GoMe is a far more accessible entry in this sub-genre due to its controls and the removal of an in-game item store. Having attacks mapped to the right trigger, abilities correlating to face buttons, and direct movement via the thumbstick makes for a much smoother, intuitive experience. I always felt awkward playing DOTA 2 because of the mouse and keyboard controls. This new setup makes me feel comfortable and closer to the action. Likewise, I’m a fan of removing the item store elements which provides such a steep learning curve in other MOBAs. These game-changing buffs have been replaced by GoMe’s exhaustive loadout options that are just as poorly explained and complicated as an item shop, but at least you won’t have to think about it once a match starts. You'll purchase potions, equip a special ability (such as heal or a speed boost), and craft a belt that unlocks passive buffs as you level-up in a match. Thankfully, each character has a default loadout so you can stick to that until you discover you want to main Grumbledorf or Smoogles. The controls are complemented by a fantastic UI that succinctly conveys information without crowding the screen. I always knew the reach of my attacks, the placement of my towers, and the cooldown on my abilities. However, the the tiny mini-map seems like a huge oversight when you consider the importance of teamwork. Winning a game of GoMe is largely dependent on covering the three lanes of a map (there is a one-lane map option but it's a tiresome, ability-spamfest). The mini-map is so small that I couldn’t always tell where my teammates were or if they needed help. Just having an option to enlarge the map would have been a great help [I couldn’t find one nor could anyone I asked]. This feeds into a much larger problem the game has: It doesn't provide incentives for players to work together. I can only imagine how brilliant a console MOBA could be with Battlefield 3’s experience system that rewards those that play the game correctly. With no guiding hand and rather bare bones tutorials, the majority of those I played with had no idea how to play the game and frequently made our team lose due to their incompetence. I’m writing this review nearly two weeks after public release and I still see players that don’t bother to communicate or help. You can ping players on the minimap to help you, but it’s hardly noticeable. GoMe doesn’t provide the feedback or rewards that would make it an accessible entry point for the genre. That being said, I’d recommend GoMe over any of its competitors, if you are interested in seeing what a MOBA is all about. In my 20+ or so matches of GoMe, I’ve had one of the most miserable online experiences in recent memory. Nearly every match suffered from horrendous lag. Almost every match had a disconnect -- crippling when you consider most matches start with 4-6 human players (AI filling the other roles), and I was disconnected from the game at least a quarter of the time. These issues go far beyond “a rough launch”, since it’s two weeks later and finding a good game is a rarity. Nevermind that you’ll have to wait upwards of two minutes to join a game and even longer for an all human match.As with Gotham City Impostors, Monolith and Warner Brothers have once again managed to create a fun, original entry in a popular genre, only to muck it up with bad netcode and a poor community effort. When you manage to get a properly functioning game with human players that communicate, Guardians of Middle-earth is a total blast. Learning each class’s strengths and weaknesses is great fun but that fun quickly fades away when you put up with clueless players, random disconnects, and a player base that is reluctant to communicate. Like Gotham City Impostors, GoMe may work out its kinks, find a dedicated fanbase, and become an amazing online game. Even then, I have my doubts that it will be properly supported (see again: Gotham City Impostors). If you are craving some LotR action or want to play a bold new MOBA, there is a lot to like about Guardians of Middle-earth. It's a shame that its lackluster community and frustrating technical issues get in the way of that.
Lord of the Rings review photo
Lag of the Rings
“How dare you? HOW DARE YOU! How dare you review a Lord of the Rings game without having every film box set in a display case! HOW DARE YOU review a MOBA without having been yelled at and debased by 12-year-olds for m...

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Hobbit DLC now available for Guardians of Middle-earth


That's one slippery Bilbo!
Dec 14
// Jason Cabral
To coincide with the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, WB Games and Monolith have added some new faces to its Tolkien-centric MOBA. Both Bilbo Baggins and Bert the Troll are available now as playable Gu...
LOTR impressions photo
LOTR impressions

Guardians of Middle-earth impressions


The one MOBA to rule them all?
Dec 05
// Allistair Pinsof
MOBA and LOTR: two four-letter acronyms that mean nothing to most people but a whole lot to some. Warner Bros. Interactive is hoping that there is overlap between the two and that this overlap will occur on consoles, where...
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Here's your Guardians of Middle Earth launch trailer


Lord of the Rings MOBA title released this week
Dec 03
// Alasdair Duncan
If you've been eagerly awaiting Monolith's upcoming MOBA-inspired Guardians of Middle-earth, then you'll be happy to know the game will be available on PSN on Tuesday this week, with its XBLA debut on Wednesday. The matching...
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Guardians of Middle-earth: Goblins vs. Elves


Now with flying goblins
Nov 28
// Fraser Brown
With the Tolkien-inspired MOBA, Guardians of Middle-earth, launching next month on XBLA and PSN, its high time we find out a bit more about a couple of the 20 or so characters at players' disposal. Haldir is the el...
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LEGO Lord of the Rings now has a 360 and PS3 demo


One does not simply walk into a purchase without a trial
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
In case you have no idea what to expect from a LEGO game these days (aka fun), you can try the LEGO Lord of the Rings demo on the Xbox 360 and PS3. If you have kids, or a significant other who enjoys gaming, I suggest you get...
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LEGO The Lord of the Rings for handhelds now available


Other versions are two weeks out
Oct 30
// Jordan Devore
LEGO The Lord of the Rings released today for DS, 3DS, and PlayStation Vita (pictured above). While TT Games has done well for itself on handheld systems, the studio's LEGO titles have always seemed best played on consoles to...
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Calling all Horse Lords! Riders of Rohan content released


Largest expansion in LOTR Online's history
Oct 15
// Jason Cabral
If you've been looking for a reason to venture back into the lands of Middle Earth, or are just looking to pass the time before the next Peter Jackson film, Turbine has got you covered. Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainm...
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New Guardians of Middle Earth vid shows off mah boi Nori


Oct 05
// Chris Carter
A new PEGI 12 (don't you love that dude's voice?) character vignette has been released for the upcoming console MOBA title Guardians of Middle Earth, and it features a few of my homeboys, Nori and Wulfrun. Nori looks li...

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