Playability: 4/5. Confusing map this one. As a defender playing on very hard setting I was expecting an intense battle, especially looking at the size of the castle. Whilst this map was good fun to play while it lasted, the game was over too quicky with an emphatic victory achieved by doing very little. However, it is a huge battle and I also decided to play it as an attacker for a bit of variation and to see what else it had to offer. 4 is a generous score but I can see the addiction in this, despite some serious balance issues (below)
Balance: 2/5. The game launches with you being a defender, default difficulty is very hard. I had 12% troop losses and the invasions decided it best to wander to the far side of the castle before really attacking. This gave my archers plenty of time to weaken the troops and remove a few from the battlefield. There are some enormous areas of pitch, some of which are redundant as the AI doesn't venture anywhere near them. There are also what feels like a thousand caged war dogs. Release them all and they can do serious damage. It plays poorly as a defender and there is an overuse of pitch which does and doesn't impact on the game. It could be a great battle and a very enjoyable map, but balance needs to be looked at before this happens.
I also decided to attack the map on normal difficulty and found this to be much more fun, involving and taxing. Worth considering.
Creativity: 3/5. Hmm... not a bad map, not a good map. Has masses of potential this one and despite the scale of the fortifications (endless) it lacks something in terms of presentation. Another LoTR map done quite well. Personally i'd like to see the editor pushed to the limits here to produce something a bit different.
Map Design: 3/5. Again a conflict of good and not so good. The castle is generally well done, with walling and towers that gives the appearance of something other than a square block. The terrain is largely flat with a few areas of raised land. I can't help but feel that a bit more time spent on this and some interesting features with the terrain tools would have really added to this. Not a bad effort though and the castle is certainly impressive.
Story/Instructions: 1/5. Nothing here really. Nothing in the description pages to warrant it constituting a story or instructions and the same in the screen before the game launches. Can't give anything higher if there's nothing there, sorry.
IN SUMMARY: Whilst this map is good in some areas it is held back by two key areas: lack of a story, intro or something to support the map, and problems defending the castle. However, that said I would recommend this is downloaded and played as an attacker on normal difficulty. There's a good chance this will appeal to some and I quite enjoyed attacking it.