Type of Media: Video Game (PS3) Lord of the Rings - Conquest
Date:Sunday -June 10th, 2012
Time Spent: Viewing/Interactive: Roughly 5 hours
Purpose of Media: Entertainment/Video Games
Description: Lord of the Rings Conquest is an action strategy game developed by Pandemic Studios and published by Electronic Arts (EA). While it is based on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, its core gameplay is very reminiscent to those who are familiar to the Starwars: Battlefront games. The game features two campaign modes: War of the Ring, which allows the player to choose to play as a trooper from Rohan and Gondor (the good guys), and an alternate Rise of Sauron campaign which allows the player to play as the forces of Mordor and Isengard. The gameplay is generally objective based, requiring the player to capture or hold points, defeat a certain amount of enemies, and the occasional escort/destroy a structure type mission. Similar to Star Wars: Battlefront, upon spawning in battle, the player is required to choose one of four classes to play as, them being the archer, scout, warrior, and mage. Depending on the class the player has chosen, chaining certain amount of attacks (and in the case of the warrior, simply being hit by the enemy) may allow them to perform special moves, which may or may not have a certain cool down to when they can be used. The player may also be able to have the option to play as a "hero" which include the various protagonists and villains of The Lord of the Rings, which are basically super troops of whatever class the player is currently playing as. The player may also occasional be given the option to play as a Troll or Ent.
Critic Review(s)/My Opinion
In regards to the gameplay, Gamespot stated that "Battles often boil down to button mashing". Similarly, IGN commented that "the combat is pretty damn clunky." I found this to be quite true. Despite there being four classes to choose from, all of them felt the same. While it is possible to perform combos, I often found myself button mashing all the same in hopes of defeat large clusters of enemies grouped together. The controls also feel somewhat stiff, where actions such as chaining attacks and jumping don't flow well into the other at all. Despite the game's levels which feature nearly every major battle from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, a lot of them feel the same and the entire experience gets old really quick. I only got as far as 4 levels into the War of the Ring campaign, however the fact that the troops from the Rise of Sauron campaign are nearly identical to that of the War of the Ring campaign lowers the enjoyability of this game by a lot.
IGN states that "...But for all the mediocre gameplay that is dressed with cool moments from the films, The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is about its multiplayer." This brings us to Lord of the Rings Conquest's greatest downfall. EA announced that on March 16, 2010 they would be shutting down the servers for their older titles, one of them being Lord of the Rings Conquest. So yes, that's right: Lord of the Rings Conquest no longer has online multiplayer. Split screen co-operate play is still available, and in the later levels of the game, is almost a necessity; there are simply too many ways to die "cheapy" in this game: Fighting near ledges or bridges almost always guarantees a death, as enemies are quick to target and focus you and once they do they will either volley you around or immediately knock you off the ledge (falling off the screen results in death). The Artificial Intelligence (AI) on your team are unhelpful, and serve mainly as a poor distraction for the enemy. The classes are unbalanced, being little to no point in playing the scout class in single player, and the overall difficulty curve of the game ramps up dramatically at points.
In conclusion, while the premise of the game had potential, the overall lack of quality to most aspects of the game makes Lord of the Rings a mediocre game; worth a rent, but nothing more.
Gameplay: Objective based gameplay; very linear, generally involves button mashing your way through missions. Stale classes to choose from, which all play quite similarly.
Story: Level based story, thus a somewhat disjointed story with a cinematic cutscene to stitch one mission to the next. Includes the major battles from the movies and a few original scenarios, but little more.
Sound: Poor in game voices which take away from the experience. Soundtrack includes many of the beautifully written scores by Howard Shore, however does not contain any original tracks.
Graphics: Below average graphics for its time. Faces and backgrounds look clipped. Includes many of the iconic locations from the movies, however many of the "backgrounds" are simply for viewing purposes only, disallowing the player to actual reach such areas.
Multiplayer: Only local split screen co-op is available since the shut down of the online servers two years ago.
Value: At $19.99, the game offers enough hours for its price (roughly 10-13 hours), however a lot of hours involve trial and error, frustrating deaths, and repetitive gameplay.
Final Score 4.5/10