LOTR: Battle for Middle-earth II - Rise of the Witch-king - hands-on

We encountered deeper strategy and more creative objectives like these throughout our hands-on time. One seemingly straightforward mission had us recruiting wild hill men, but also gave us the option to free their heavily imprisoned leader first. Doing so at the beginning was difficult, but made the rest of the hill men more sympathetic to our cause. Another mission had us racing around the map and fighting competitors, Capture the Multiple Flag-style, for pieces of a Palantir ("crystal ball" to you laymen).

If you're thinking of adding Rise of the Witch-king to your RTS collection, you're probably more excited about the new race, new buildings, new monsters and new summons. All of those play as promised from our earlier demo of the game and help add to the complexity of the tactics as well. But it's the unexpectedly clever approach to mission design that wasn't nearly as present in the first game, and that has us the most excited to finish this expansion.

Check back for our review closer to the game's release on November 28. Until then, check out the trailer under our Movies tab above.

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