LOTR: Battle for Middle-Earth II 360 hands-on

Wednesday 10 May 2006
The battle lines of Middle-Earth have already been drawn on PC, where Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth II was released earlier this year. But in making the leap to Microsoft's next-gen hardware, the Tolkien-inspired RTS has undergone a clever and intuitive change that makes it more than just another fantasy strategy game.

The game drops the mouse-driven strategy style of using a 'rubber band' box, where you hold and drag a box over what you want to select. Instead, Battle for Middle-Earth II on 360 uses a joypad-centric approach. The whole screen becomes your selection box: the dual sticks rotate, zoom and pan across the terrain, and the button controls enable you to interact with any units you can see.

Hover your cursor over a unit and press A and you'll select it. The A button is context sensitive, so click it somewhere to move the unit, or on an enemy to attack them. If you want to de-select the unit, you just hit B. You can then combine these two buttons with the four shoulder triggers to juggle your army.

To add a unit to your current selection, you hold the left bumper button and tap A over the new group. Likewise, to select everything on screen, hold the left trigger and use A - and by zooming and panning you can dictate just how many units you select. Finally, if you want to select each one of a certain type of unit, you point at one of them, hold the right bumper and press A.