Review by kefka989

"One Ring to Ruin them all"

Do you like Star Wars Battlefront? Do you hate guns or Star Wars? Well then this game is for you… sort of. This is Lord of the Rings: Conquest, by Pandemic and shoveled out by our good ‘quality tester' friends, EA.

Conquest is the Battlefront version of LotR, offering you a chance to play through the events of the movies and books, and also some that were not there but might have happened come one shift of the battle or another. You proceed through a series of maps under the forces of good, assisting the main characters of the movies as well as taking control of them at certain key points. After you go through the heroic campaigns you are given the option of going through them again, only taking control over the sides of evil. Each mission usually consists of orders involving you going to some such area, holding a point for so long, protecting someone for a set amount of time, destroying an object, flipping a switch, helping allies at a certain point, and variations of the above mentioned. You have 4 basic character classes to choose from. There is the warrior, the basic melee class. They are your essential ‘in your face' combat characters, sporting a throwing weapon for a once-in-a-while ranged attack that can knock someone down. They have special attacks that usually involve some fanciful attack with fire encompassing the blade, some are swinging attacks, others are dashing attacks, all of which use up a power bar that is filled when you attack an enemy. The next class is the mage, the support class. They can throw lightning at enemies, the power being increased by charging the attack. It can also chain to attack many people at once if you have enemies clustered together. Their main support roles include healing allies for a small amount of health and also providing a bubble that can stop ranged attacks (though not melee, as a fighter can walk right into it). Mages can also throw fire, which causes a lasting attack damage, and also do a shock attack that knocks enemies on their backs within a particular range. Next is the mage, a typical character that shoots arrows at range, and can shoot special arrows like poison arrows, which do gradual damage, fire arrows, that can knock enemies over, and multi-arrows, that act like a blast from a shot gun for crowds. Lastly is the rouge, a character that can go invisible for short amounts of time and kill anyone in just one hit by coming up behind them for a stealth attack. They can also throw bombs at a distance at enemies. All of these classes have counterparts that can be used as story characters, such as Aragorn acting as a warrior and Frodo acting as a rouge.

The problems that plague the game are numerous however and really take away from the fun of the game. Unfortunately the biggest problem I had was that melee was very difficult. It seems that the collision detection in the game was not all that good, which would not be too much of a problem if not for the act that all of the melee attacks have your character either taking a step forward or flat out jumping forward. If you are not precisely aligned and center on the enemy, your attack will send you into and then past them, the collision making you glance off when your body touches them but you keep on going even if your attack strikes. Half the time you won't even know if you hit anything because the enemy does not react when struck unless it's a special power attack. You will almost always find yourself overshooting your enemy if you melee and since it is so slow to turn yourself, you will quickly find yourself getting your butt cheeks sliced off as you try to turn to face the enemy you just passed by while attacking. That brings up another problem, You have to turn yourself using the right analog stick. That would not be a problem normally but unlike Battlefront where you used the shoulder buttons to attack, you use the X, Y, and B buttons to attack, so you can either attack, or turn, and not both. This is a real problem when you have to turn to attack to fight a group of enemies that surround you. More problems are quiet easy to spot, such as the single player campaign is mostly just a series of disjointed objectives that the game throws at you. Go to point A, Wait, go to point B, hit X switch, go to point C, wait, go to point D, and so on. This would be easy if your allies worked with you but they tend to be worthless. You're mostly just fighting by yourself against the enemy but that is not easy considering that they will have a full compliment of mages, rouges, warriors, and archers working you over. The warriors can be the worst as they will spend most of their time shoving you around, always seeming to ignore the problem of overshooting their target, and always using attacks that will knock you over. Another problem is that the enemies love knocking you on your back, which makes you immobile but allows for you to still take damage, which just stinks because once your on your back, you are usually dead as the enemy will quickly hit you with everything they have. Multiplayer is not exactly a fun experience. For some reason the game allows sides to get a random number of story characters. I played a few maps where it did not allow for story characters, and those maps were evenly balanced, but there were a few where the sides were unfairly stacked, such as one map where the good side had 2 Legolas', 3 Gandalf's, and a Frodo running around the map, while the evil side only had access to the Witch King (Warrior) and Wormtongue (rouge). That said, the multiplayer maps, or at least the ones I tried, were a friggan joke. One was a simple map that consisted of 3 small lengths of land and a bridge, and that was it. It had 4 capture points, 2 starting and 2 neutral. Another map only had 3 capture points, 2 starting and one between them. The largest map I saw was one that was not even half the size of one of the smaller maps from Star Wars Battlefront. The story maps are deceiving because they are smaller maps kind of glued together at certain load points so it all seems like one large map. Lastly, the rouge class is massively overpowered. It's not like the spies from Team Fortress two that have to uncloak before they attack, the rouges go completely invisible (for a lot longer then the spies in the other game, mind you) and can attack while cloaked, and when they do, you are dead, no matter who you are.

This game had some promise but I think that they really dropped the ball on this one. I hear the PC version was better but I have not played it so I cannot say one way or the other. I would not recommend this game unless you were a diehard fan of the trilogy and even then I would advise you to rent it first. Maybe they should just stick to making games where you shoot people.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 01/26/09

Game Release: The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (US, 01/13/09)

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