The Lord of the Rings: Conquest Review

There's a lot to like about The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, but there's also a lot that is frustrating about it.  For fans of the books and movies, it's hard not to get excited about taking part in the saga's epic battles.  And yet as a gamer it's hard not to get frustrated by the difficulty of the game's campaign and its tendency to break down into an exercise in button mashing.  Unfortunately the minuses ultimately outweigh the plusses, and so in this case evil overcomes good.

The game's single player experience takes you through the War of the Ring, and if you survive that you'll be able to play for the side of evil in an "alternate history" version of the war in which the forces of Sauron triumph.  Conquest is built as a multiplayer game and this comes through in its campaigns.  The campaigns feature plenty of storyline, numerous objectives, and confrontations with boss enemies and famous characters from the movies.  However your most common objective is to capture a new spawn point, and when you die you return to battle at a spawn point of your choosing as long as you still have spawns remaining in your pool.  Also the game has four available player classes and you're free to pick from any of them each time that you spawn.

The four classes in the game are the warrior, archer, mage, and scout, and their styles of play are geared towards players who fancy themselves to be an Aragorn, a Legolas, a Gandalf, or a ... I don't know who.  I'm having a hard time coming up with a stealthy assassin character from The Lord of the Rings, unless perhaps you can imagine the scout to be a magic ring wearing Hobbit burglar.  Each class has its strengths and weaknesses of course, as well as a few special attacks and powers.  The warrior is adept at close combat and can unleash deadly combos that can strike multiple surrounding enemies at once.  The mage can fire chain lightning spells that hop from one enemy to another, create a protective bubble to protect nearby allies from arrows, and can even heal injured allies.  The archer has the longest range of any class, and a skilled archer can take out an enemy before he gets close enough to attack.  Lastly the scout can turn invisible for a short period of time and can quickly fell an enemy from behind with a surprise attack.  The classes are designed to work in concert with each other which is great when you've got a good team in a multiplayer battle, but doesn't do you much good in the single player campaign.  To succeed in the campaign you'll need to fight as the warrior 90% of the time.  Your computer-controlled allies are not very effective at killing the enemy, leaving you with the task of hacking down almost the entire enemy army yourself.  The most effective way to do this is to play as the warrior and hack, slash, and button-mash your way through the enemy hordes.