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Empire at War vs Battle for Middle-Earth II
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Which game do you think is better?
Star Wars Empire at War
93%
 93%  [ 14 ]
The Lord of the Rings Battle for Middle-Earth
6%
 6%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 15

Author Message
DeathRay2K
Commander


Joined: 01 Sep 2002
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:53 am    Post subject:  Empire at War vs Battle for Middle-Earth II Reply with quote

Alright, here is what I'm basing this on: the demo for Battle for Middle-Earth, and a pirated copy of Empire at War.
Don't hate me for pirating EaW, I'm going to buy it in April.

EaW and BfME II are clearly in direct competition, which is great for us, the consumers. Wink
So, I decided to try them both out, and see which one is better overall. I'm going to look at them in the various categories that a person looks for in a game, so pay attention.


Graphics
Empire at War
Empire at War's graphics are simply great.
They have lots of cool special effects, such as bloom, weather effects, pretty well everything that you expect. The water looks terrificically realistic, and the units all look really, really cool.

The main place that EaW is lacking is textures. The textures are pretty low quality, which would be fine for a normal RTS game, but Empire at War has this 'Cinematic Camera' feature that lets you get close to the ground, to see the battles as if they were from one of the movies. Which is great, except that you notice that the ground is just big square blotches, and you're taken completely out of the cinematicness of the camera.

Still, the models are great, the special effects look great, and the whole shebang runs reasonably well on somewhat older computers.

So, I would rate the graphics, 8.5/10

Battle for Middle-Earth II
Battle for Middle-Earth II's graphics were, to be honest, a little dissapointing to me.
For one thing, they reused a lot of the graphics from the original, not even bothering to update them, and the result is less than spectacular.
The special effects are great though, and the models are all really detailed, and unlike EaW, the textures are marvellous.

However, the shadows are without a doubt, the worst I have seen in a very long time. The highest quality setting for shadows gives you these blocky, pixelated, pseudo-soft monstrosities, that come in squares bigger than a tile in RA2. They disgusted me to the point where I just turned them to low, which used the same shadows as on the infantry in Generals.

Apart from the shadows, everything seemed really good looking, and even the scene at the menu is really beautiful and serene, tricking you into thinking the rest of the game will be gentle. Wink

I'd rate Battle for Middle-Earth II's graphics, 7/10


Music
Empire at War
Empire at War's music was done by John Williams and Frank Klepacki, so you know it has to be amazing.

The scores are brilliant, for the moments reminiscent of the films, its all John Williams' amazing orchestral pieces, while the parts unique to the game are done fantastically by Frank Klepacki. It really creates a unique feel that is, while very nostalgic, also mixed with new blood, and I think it works very well for this game.

What more can I say, I rate Empire at War's music 9.5/10

Battle for Middle-Earth II
Battle for Middle-Earth II's music comes from the movies, and so everyone who has seen them will instantly associate this game with the films, while in actuality it has nothing to do with them.

Basically, the music is really and trully great, however I think they could perhaps do something new for once. I mean, they've used the same music in every film and every video game, its just that its starting to get a bit repetitive to me.

It would fit better if this game were at least based on the movies, but its based on the books, which I think deserve a different theme.

Still, it's not as if its bad music, just that its getting a bit boring.
I rate Battle for Middle-Earth II's music 7.5/10


Sounds
Empire at War
Empire at War's sound effects are superb.
In the space battles you can hear every laser shooting by the screen, and the explosions sound fantastic.

They were really true to the movies in the quality of the sounds.
No one ever forgets what those lasers sound like, and they did a great job making sure that this bring back fond memories.

You are able to place each sound thanks to their 3D sound placement majigger, and it trully immerses you in the experience, especially with the Cinematic Camera.

I rate Empire at War's sounds 8.5/10

Battle for Middle-Earth II
I didn't rate EaW's sounds higher because I'm guilty of 'marking on a curve'.
Battle for Middle-Earth II's sound effects were, when I first heard them fine, no better than any other current game.

But then, I turned on EAX3, and I was astounded. The sound effects were so incredibly realistic that at one point I turned my head to see who it was that sounded like they were dying.
The game then sounded so amazing, that I could swear the sounds came from the room I was in.

If you have an Audigy of any sort, do not miss out on this.
I rate Battle for Middle-Earth II's sounds 10/10


Gameplay
Empire at War
Ah yes, gameplay, often the deciding factor in purchasing a game.
Empire at War has a lot of it.
There is so much to do and play in Empire at War you never have to go outside again. Seriously, don't waste your time out there. Wink
I mean, there's the Rebel campaign, the Empire campaign, the skirmishes, the multiplayer, and the gem of it all, Galactic Conquest.

The first thing you should know before getting this game is that there are two completely different play styles.
In singleplayer, you build your units and bases in galactic view, and then use them when you duke it out with the enemy. Meaning, you don't get to do anything but fight in the battles.

In skirmish an multiplayer however, the game is much more like traditional RTSs, you gather resources, build an army, and attack your opponent.

To be honest, I kind of prefer the singleplayer mode of play, but the muliplayer way is also very fun.

Space battles are great, and there are many factors that you have to consider. There are nebulas to block your ships' communications and shields, and asteroid fields to keep your ships' pilots on the edges of their seats. There are a great many ships to use in these battles, and they are quite varied.
Just be sure that you don't bring ground troops into space battles, because the enemy can easily destroy the transports they're stored in.
Furthermore, the scale is really awing, the X-Wings and Y-Wings and such are all nought but dots compared to the bohemoth battleships available.

Land battles are a very different in many ways.
There are still many interactive elements that you must deal with, such as weather and locals.
The weather on each planet affects your units, and generally negatively. It keeps you from seeing very far, it damages you, it itty bitty pieces and throws you to the wind. Well, not that last one, but still. You must always be aware of it when deciding what forces to bring into the field.
The locals are another story. They're either with you or against you. They can be very annoying if they're against you, and quite useful if they're with you, so try to keep them on your side.

There is so much more I could write about in this game, but I don't want to bore you. Wink
I rate Empire at War's gameplay 9/10

Battle for Middle-Earth II
The gameplay is the one place that BfME II really improved upon since the original.
You can finally build your bases wherever and however you want; No more searching for another build plot to put that structure in, just to have it destroyed by the enemy.

Another thing that's new are walls. I love the walls. Mostly.
Well, the walls themselves are great, however I do think that $100 per section is a bit steep, seeing how my walls in the end cost me over $12000 by the time I'm done, and this is early on in the game.
Also, the things you can build on the walls are really cool, but I wish they could be built closer together. As it is, you can only build them where there is nothing around them, including wall posts (Placed along the walls every $2000).

What most bugged me was that I couldn't repair anything. The builders couldn't even repair anything. I couldn't even rebuild the knocked down walls, to do that I had to destroy everything between one wall post and the next and rebuild from scratch. Maybe I'm missing something, but that just seems dumb to me.

Even with its flaws, Battle for Middle-Earth II is a very enjoyable game.
I rate Battle for Middle-Earth II's gameplay 8/10


Overall
Star Wars Empire at War: 8.9
Lord of the Rings Battle for Middle-Earth II: 8.1

My conclusion? Get both games, perhaps when they get a bit cheaper.
I just got the full Battle for Middle-Earth II from Futureshop. Very Happy I'm about to install it, so until next time, adieu.
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Mr. Pokey
Energy Commando


Joined: 29 May 2005
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

heh, nice reviews there Smile
But it's still EaW for me Very Happy
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Clazzy
Karma Police


Joined: 26 Nov 2002
Location: Algae Colony On Mars

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got EaW and I personally enjoy the skirmish mode the most. The land battles are rather uninteresting and are easy, provided you have as many heros as you can afford mixed with other units. The space battles are just brilliant fun, commanding huge star destroyers and the like to annihilate enemies Smile.
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Mr. Pokey
Energy Commando


Joined: 29 May 2005
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't seen the death star in action yet. Looking forward to it Smile

I haven't tried any space skirmishes yet, will do that now Very Happy
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Banshee
Supreme Banshee


Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's unfair to judge the gameplay from a demo. The gameplay from EAW demo sucks. The full game is better, but I still don't enjoy it (I haven't got time to play the hard AI yet).

My computer does not run BfME 2 because of my GeForce, so I'm relying more on what people says. BfME 2 graphics, sounds and multiplayer seems to be cool, but the campaign is ridiculous, as usual. Which is really a pitty, since the movies are so cool.

EAW campaign is also ridiculous, multiplayer is fine, space battles are bad, but sounds are very cool and the cinematic stuff rocks.

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DeathRay2K
Commander


Joined: 01 Sep 2002
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a bit unfair, yes, but I now have the full versions of each and I stand by the scores I gave them. Smile
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DoMiNaNt_HuNtEr
General


Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Location: North America Posts: You cannot comprehend...

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banshee wrote:
...but the campaign is ridiculous, as usual. Which is really a pitty, since the movies are so cool.


Tis a shame that BfME2 didn't use movies with real actors in it (As with the first one). But those movies were taken straight from LotR movies, as the first BfME campaign story was based off of them. The BfME2 campaign was only based off of the books, meaning no movies to take off of.
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Red Dragon
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Location: Bodegraven, The Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Star wars, so I bought the game, but I have no time to install it... Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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