5 MORE MAYHEM IN MIDDLE EARTH!Quiggan | 05/02/2008 | See all Quiggan's reviews (166)Top 100 Reviewer Top 100 DVD Reviewer Top 100 Music Reviewer THE RISE OF THE WITCH-KING. THE RISE OF THE WITCH-KING is the first expansion pack to the best-selling PC war game, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH II. So just what is new? Well, for starters, there is another faction to play or fight against - Angmar. This is the land of the mighty Witch-King of the title, a dark and frozen nation to the north of Middle Earth. Angmar units, rather unsurprisingly considering the wintry terrain, usually combine ice with their weapons to deal greater damage to their enemies! They include the Dark Rangers, massive Snow Trolls and the powerful spell-casting Sorcerers, who suck the very life-force from targeted foes! Furthermore, all five existing factions also receive new units such as Wild Axe throwers (Isengard), Haradrim Lancers (Mordor), and Lindon Horse Archers for the Elves. Rather than just being for cosmetic purposes, these troops do actually add to the strategic game play and are good at countering most enemy units on the battlefield. In addition, the Dwarves gain an extra Hero character and there are two more for the forces of Mordor. The fun Create A Hero tool has been revised and expanded to now include powerful Troll characters who can be fitted out with a vast array of armour and weaponry! One aspect of the game that has been significantly improved is the computer AI, although it was already very good anyway. Now enemy attacks are much more co-ordinated, often using combined troop types and coming from several different directions at once. They are also more inclined to capture strategically important objectives (such as the resource-supplying Watch Towers) and even on the easiest levels the computer proves to be a very prudent and challenging opponent! Even The War Of The Ring Mode has been tweaked and since the map now covers Angmar too, there are 52 territories to conquer. Several new rules have been introduced to make movement and construction more realistic, while the updated AI ensures that the computer will no longer willingly fight "lost" battles when it is seriously outnumbered, but will retreat in order to build up more forces. Often expansion packs are simple cash-ins and missed opportunities, although gladly THE RISE OF THE WITCH-KING is neither. Anybody who enjoys THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH II will find this great value and I have no hesitation in recommending it!