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

Still, the game's most welcome innovation might be a workable control scheme for a console RTS. Translating the intuitive and familiar PC combination of mouse and keyboard to the 360 controller is no easy feat, but BFME II makes a heroic effort. With easy click-and-drag less of an option here, various selective powers have been programmed to not only the face buttons, but also the shoulder buttons, trigger buttons and d-pad. Once you've memorized the correct combinations- and, to be honest, that does take awhile- you'll be able to quickly separate archers from cavalry and builders from heroes. There's even a Bookmarks system to keep track of your favorite groupings.

Clearly, BFME II aspires to being more than just another faithful recreation of the LOTR universe. Based on what we've played so far, it could be one of the most intelligent and open-ended console RTS's as well. We'll have a full review in a few days but, until then, check out the new screens under the Images tab.

  1. Flattened and fallen foes. The satisfying end result of all your hard work.
  2. Click, hold and/or drag the green cursor to select your troops (or trolls).
  3. You can also bookmark special groups (like archers or Ents) for quick retrieval.
  4. Behind this map hide extensive menus for spells, buildings and upgrades. You will want these.
  5. The all-important resource counter. More resources = more of the above.
  6. Use these numbers to keep track of how big your army is... and how big it can get.
  7. Capturing towers will increase your resources and maximum army size.
Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!