MOBAs have been sorely misrepresented on the consoles. Outside of hybrid, spin-off style games such as Awesomenauts and Monday Night Combat, there are very few genre representatives on Xbox, Wii, or PS3.
It could be said that the traditional control scheme and style of combat is not suited for a controller, but Warner Bros. and Monolith have defied all odds and developed a MOBA that feels loyal to traditional genre mechanics while making it accessible to console controllers.
It’s just a tad hard to believe that the game to solve this puzzle is a movie tie-in.
The game, Guardians of Middle-Earth, is an isometric MOBA game based on the Lord of the Rings franchise. Players take direct control of their character, moving them with the left analog stick and auto-attacking with the right trigger (on the Xbox). The game features classic characters such as Gollum, Legolas, Gandalf, and Sauron, and a few only known to hard-core Tolkien fans, like Thrain, the exiled Dwarven king.
The mode I played at E3 was a five vs. five mode in the same fashion as traditional MOBAs. Three lanes – each populated with powerful turrets – serve as the battlegrounds for the powerful Middle-Earth champions. Escorting players down each of these paths are minions – minor units who help soak turret damage as well as allow the player to level up in an efficient manner. Outside these minor NPCs are more powerful monsters, which hide in the peripheral jungles between the lanes.
Yes, it is the standard MOBA affair, but what sets this game apart is its efficient control method. Slight auto-aiming helps line up skill shots and vector targeting allows players to easily line up shots and strikes. I played Thrain in the demo, abusing his AOE, true damage nuke to so terribly abuse the staff that they had to clarify that I did not in fact work for Warner Bros or its affiliates.
The game is very fun, and the novelty of seeing Gollum slapping Gandalf to death simply cannot be oversold. It launches alongside the Hobbit later this year, so look forward to some console MOBA action this holiday season.