developer: Pandemic Studios
publisher: Electronic Arts Inc.
Game mode: single / multiplayer
Multiplayer mode: local network / Internet, players: 1-16
The Lord of The Rings: Conquest for PC, PS3 and etc. is a dynamic action game based on the The Lord of The Rings franchise; however it draws more from the Peter Jackson's movie trilogy than the iconic works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The game has been developed by Pandemic Studios, also known for creating the original Star Wars: Battlefront series.
The PC, PS3 and etc. release of The Lord of The Rings: Conquest builds on grand battles affecting the fate of the entire Middle-Earth. Players get at their disposal two elaborate single-player campaigns - one can choose to side with the forces of either Good or Evil and follow the most important events known from the movie trilogy. During the game, a player gets to participate in the defense of the Helm's Deep, the spectacular charge on the Fields of Pelennor, and observe the last march of the Ents. Consecutive levels feature cutscenes that present sequences inspired directly by the movies.
The story campaign in which one fights for Sauron presents an alternative course of events, where Frodo has failed to destroy the One Ring. The available scenarios assume that minions of Sauron have been successful in defeating the amiable hobbit. Sauron then launches the invasion on the entire Middle-Earth and attacks Rivendell, Minas Tirith, and eventually also The Shire.
In total, both campaigns comprise sixteen stages featuring three difficulty levels. Each stage becomes more interesting due to a variety of assignments one is tasked with. A player has to eliminate enemy forces (even as big as Olifants), defend the walls of fortresses from outnumbering foes, and sabotage enemy siege engines. At any given moment, one can call out a detailed map of the area with all mission objectives marked on it.
The gameplay builds on mechanics known from both installments of the original Star Wars: Battlefront series. Most of the time, a player controls minor units representing four separate classes – Warriors, Archers, Scouts, who can stealthily eliminate their targets, and Mages, able to can heal and protect their allies using various spells. In each battle, players get a limited number of respawns – they can join the battle for a predefined number of times with different characters at designated places on the map. Whenever a team runs out of available respawns, it loses the battle.
Apart from the aforementioned units, at some points, a player can assume the role of giant units (trolls, Ents, Olifants) and characters known from the movies. When fighting for the forces of Good one can control heroes such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Faramir. After joining the forces of Evil, a player gets to assume the role of, i.a. the Witch King, Balrog, Saruman, and Sauron himself
The combat model developed for the game is relatively simple. Each unit features a set of moves that a player can view in a special menu on the screen. Available actions have been divided into regular and special – whenever one wants to perform the latter, they have to fill the energy bar, which usually lasts several seconds. A player can combine attacks into more and more complicated sequences that deal greater damage to the foes.
The multiplayer mode is an essential element of the PC, PS3 and etc. release of The Lord of The Rings: Conquest. The online experience can fit up to sixteen players and delivers three main game modes – Skirmish is a typical Team Deathmatch; Conquest builds on taking control of designated areas; Capture the Ring forces players to carry the One Ring to areas.
Players get to observe the action from the third person perspective. A player is bound to appreciate the details of both locations and character models – regarding the latter, it is worth mentioning they resemble the actors cast in the movie trilogy. All throughout the game, a player is accompanied by the soundtrack, also known from The Lord of The Rings movies.
Microsoft Xbox 360
Uses: Xbox Live
PC / Windows
Recommended: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz, 1 GB RAM, graphic card 256 MB (GeForce 7800 or better), 6 GB HDD, Windows XP/Vista