*Please read all before rating, yes i know i waffle :)*
I was looking forward to this coming out after randomly finding a video of it. I only got to play the demo for 2 days due to my xbox taking a trip to germany, but it was long enough for me to know i wanted to get the game. After getting the game and playing it a fair bit it looks like its going to be a candidate for a trade in.
First of all the graphics, alot of people are commenting on how poor they are, this baffles me as i belive this is a high point of the game obviously it doesnt have the realism of some games but come on, you can play a walking talking beatdown giving tree, the graphics fit perfectly with this game, apart from fire which looks sketchy.
Single player/co-op story - here's the first let down. We all know this is based more at online play, but where do game makers get off at being half arsed over the single player, it is really short unless you ignore the objectives for a while and go for achievements, i mean come on they are supposed to be bonuses, i shouldnt be going for them just to make the play time abit longer. they could of rectified this by starting earlier than helms deep in the story and making more capture points and making the harder to cap.
Battle/classes - this is the high point of the game for me, i think they have got this spot on a good mix of 2 close combat classes and 2 ranged/support classes. The actual combat system fits the game perfectly, its not overly complicated but at the same time you need to do alot more than just button bash your way through (especially online) each class has at least 3 special attacks/skills that can be used to good effect, and thankfully you cannot just spam them, you need to charge them up through combat (or just sit in a corner and let them charge for some classes, which isnt as easy as it sounds).
Online Play - Ok so this is where it should get better, First off the server joining, if you ignore the quick game option (which 7/10 times plonks me in a empty server while the other 3 times ill be lucky if theres 3 others) the in game server browser works well, has the ability to sort servers, easy to use, and EA have a large selection of dedicated servers (lets see how long they last) for you to enjoy. Now actual online play, if you ignore the number of people spam the good side over evil (even though the base classes are exactly the same) or all the people who spam the 1 hitters (simple class cap would fix this, most of them cant use it anyway) them things are normal you get them in any online game. Its the things like how repetative it gets in such a short time when you play the different types of gameplay (conquest, capture the ring etc). The good balance of classes throws up some epic conquest games at times, but 90% of the time the only saving grace is trying to unlock your sides hero before the other team. Playing on a mixed gameplay server doesn't really make a difference because they all just blend in and become one big repetetive mess.
Heros - thought i would give them there own category because its such a good aspect, during the main story when you get to certain points you get to become a hero (e.g. encountering the ballrog you get to play as gandalf) and online when a team gets a certain number of points in a match the member with the highest score gets the hero (you can chose not to be the hero if you really want, if online the next highest score gets the option), and it breaks up the play really well, each hero has different abilities (apart from the archer classes annoyingly) which makes the online mode hero team deathmatch a surprising hit.
The game has great potential but ends up being mediocre unfortunately. 3/5