Okay, so there is an infestation of crappy war games on the internet. They all follow this basic format; map, build, map, build, train, boring ‘combat’, map map build map build map map map map. I love the collective works of J.R.R. Tolkien, so I tried to give this one a chance. But really it’s just the same old garbage with a licensed, marketable package. I am not going to be nice.
The game asks you to register with your email address and a password. Then it starts immediately. There’s no load time because there’s no animation or graphics to speak of, just some crappy maps and drawings of buildings.
Then you have to pick a race. I identify with dwarves, since I practically am one, so they were the obvious choice. But I have a strong inclination that there wasn’t any real benefit to picking any one faction over the others, other than the aesthetic value of looking at different colored buildings. (I said aesthetic. Ha.)
Then this guy in a hood tells you sort of how to play by instructing you to click on things and put them places.
After building up your kingdom briefly in the tutorial, it’s time to learn combat. Then surprise surprise, you go to another map. And look! There’s orcs! Let’s kill them.
You enter the enemies’ camp/map, and click on where your guys will start, then click where they go, and they fight. It’s all pretty much automated. If you have more and better troops you win. There’s no strategy to speak of, unless your strategy is to have more stuff than your victim. After the fog of war clears, you go back to the map and build more stuff.
The combat in this game is a joke. Plop your troops onto the battlefield and they rush the nearest thing and kill it. Or they die. It’s all about numbers.
I discovered there actually is a load time; when you are trying to attack another camp, sometimes the game won’t let you. It just loads forever, then stops and says no. The war is abruptly over.
There is a log-in reward (sort of) where you gamble with Gollum. He spins a wheel and gives you prizes (sounds like something Gollum would do, right?). You get one free spin every day, then can pay for more with mithril, which you can purchase for real world currency. Thank god I lost my wallet.
The good: I dunno, I guess if you like boring ass map games with limited interaction, lame visuals, and virtually no stimulation, then The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age has those things in spades. The only redeeming qualities this game has is that it’s plastered with Lord of the Rings imagery, so fanboys have something to look at. And if you really are into these map war building games, then I suppose this can’t be any worse than the litany of other games that are almost exactly like this one.
The bad: Everything? Everything. This game has nothing to do with the Hobbit, other than nomenclature. There is no depth to the game, and nothing gives it any modicum of originality. The tutorial is shallow and doesn’t really teach you anything except the most basic of the game’s mechanics. What little animation that was used in the combat is choppy and hard to follow. There is absolutely nothing to draw players into this game.
Why you should bother: You should totally play this game if you want an experience like this: