why dwarves and goblins rule

04/22/06 at 9:33 am | Posted in Gaming | Leave a comment

My review of The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II is now online in US-based PopMatters.com, an international zine of cultural criticism. Yup, obviously, its writers come from different parts of the world — yay, Philippines, heh. 

I love PopMatters, which has gained a lot of popular and critical acclaim, including being listed by Entertainment Weekly as one of its favorite pop culture sites, as well as being cited by the BBC and USA Today. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a game reviewer and multimedia critic. Thanks again to Multimedia editor Michael David Sims for giving me this opportunity.

They're looking for contributors, so check out this page to find out which sections have openings (I know they're looking for people to review games, books and comic books) and read the submission guidelines. 

They'll tell you up front that PopMatters does not offer contributor's fees, but you'll get free games or books, depending on which section you apply for — in other words, you get to keep the stuff they send you to review, though of course you could also write about what you buy on your own. But that's not the most important thing — what's great is to be part of an excellent zine and reach out to a new multicultural audience.

Here's an excerpt from my review:

"Forget the hobbit. It's up to us to save Middle-earth." Okay, nobody actually says that in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2004 real-time strategy game from publisher Electronic Arts and developer EA Los Angeles, but they might as well have. You're not here to recreate the adventures of Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship, but rather to take part in the War in the North. Some people might not even be familiar with this area of Middle-earth, though some of the greatest battles between the Free Peoples and the forces of Sauron took place here.

Let's cut to the chase: the first game was already impressive, even if it was a simplified RTS and faltered somewhat in the combat department. BFME II is much, much better. Whether you're fighting for the survival of the Free Peoples in the Good campaign or crushing everyone in your path in the Evil campaign, this game does a remarkable job of making you feel like you're truly in the middle of epic battles. The sights, the sounds, the strategy: everything comes together and makes you say, "This is Middle-earth."

Read the full story.

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