The Magic Returns…
Pandemic Studios’ Lord of the Rings : Conquest is the latest installment in the already huge lineup of LOTR games. Honestly when i first heard about the game, i wasn’t very excited. Don’t get me wrong though. I was and still am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings – The Series, its just that the games to me were not consistent with the flair of the series.
In the end LOTR : Conquest is a game that leaves you wanting more.
LOTR to me all about epic, massive battles. So imagine getting the opportunity to recreate the magic of these battles. Sounds Interesting? While LOTR : Conquest lives up to a few of these expectations, the game is a bit of a disappointment.
LOTR : Conquest is an action game that is built around the epic Battles of the middle earth depicted in J.R.R Tolkeins’ books. The game lets you play through two campaigns – as the forces of good and as the armies of Sauron. Initially you will start with the War of the Ring that follows the events that took place in the movies, after this you move on to the Rise of Sauron which revolves around the story where Frodo does not destroy the Ring and fails in his quest, Instead it lands in the hands of Sauron. Basically the events that do not actually happen in the series.
Conquest lets you play as one of the different classes of soldiers – Mage, Scout, Warrior, Archer. Though at important key points you will assume the role of some of the more famous characters from the series ( Frodo, Aroagon , etc). The Campaign mode of the game ranges from you having to assault an enemy outpost to defending your command positions. You can play as Single player or co-op. The Different classes of soldiers have different skills and abilities, strengths and weakness. With the archer you can assault your enemies with a barrage of lethal arrows, the scout can cloak himself to become invisible and plan a sneek attack, the Mage can cast spells on enemies and the Warrior can mow down enemies with his sword. The various heroes also fall into the same classes, so the move list is basically the same thought the game – you’ll start with a handful of weapons and moves and these remain consistant throught the game, there are no extra weapons. While the different classes of soldiers add a bit of variety to the game. The overall gameplay is pretty monotonous. The different classes of soldiers have different powers. But most of the time you’ll find yourself pressing the same combition of buttons to unleash these powers. So more often than not you’ll find yourself getting bored with the repetitive button smashing.
Combat is also disappointing. The melle combat in particular is clunky.You’ll quite often find youself swinging at empty spaces missing your target. It is also frustratingly easy for you to get knocked down and get killed during battle because the fight more often than not favours the one who can land the first blow. The co-op aspect of the game doesn’t help the case much. While it may be fun at times to play with your friends, this only further highlights the flaws of the game.
The online component of the game can accommodate upto 16 players and consists of three modes – Team Death match, Hero Death Match and Capture the Ring. The Team Death Match is basically the kill em all match. The Hero Death Match is well the kill em all match with Heroes. The capture mode requires you to capture all of the command posts. The Human Factor in Co-op can induce the ‘strategy’ effect.While this may initially sound interesting, the online component is again hampered By redundancy. Sure the modes are different but the gameplay is basically the same.
Visually the game is not that impressive. The character models are done quite well, but the visuals do not do justice to the series. The game at times looks bland with bad textures. It fails to capture the magic of Lord of the Rings. The only place where the game actually shines is the Audio deprtment, which is largely credited to Howard Stone’s Score and Hugo Weaving’s narration.
In the end LOTR : Conquest is a game that leaves you wanting more. It was an attemot to recreate the magic of Lord of the Rings, but unfortunately it fails to do soo. While the game is enjoyable at times the overall experience is bland. Monotonous gameplay, substandard visuals and slacky presentation hamper what could have been a great game.
The Bad: Monotonous Gameplay, Disappointing Combat, Poor Visuals