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The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II - single-player hands-on

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The extra depth extends to the gameplay as well. Three returning armies (men vs orcs and Ringwraiths, mostly) are joined by three new races, each with its own specific theme and strategy: dwarves are slow but sturdy; elves are quick and friends with nature (Ents, anyone?); and goblins are weak but tend to hang with wreckers like mountain trolls and giant spiders. Units can now be put into formations, placed in different stances - aggressive, passive, etc - or given upgraded armor and weapons. Need to protect your base? Try putting your soldiers in a holding line formation with a defensive stance - they won't go running off after stray enemies and they'll trade attack power for more durable defense.



Even base building is more fun and complex, enabling you to tinker endlessly on your beloved castle. Construct walls in any direction, add some catapults, axe towers or secret gates and then spruce up your fortress with a moat, hot oil cauldron or - why not? - eagle's nest. All this and more is at your disposal. Plus, you can now set up shop anywhere on the map - in one mission, for example, we were able to put our base in the middle of a cave tunnel to hide it from circling dragons.

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