The Lord of the Rings: Conquest PS3 Review

Star Wars: Battlefront was a well regarded series of online focussed games, which were praised for their use of the licence. The Lord of the Rings: Conquest uses the foundations set out by Pandemic’s own game to make a similar title based around a similarly lucrative and enduring universe.

With its large scale battles, rousing music, familiar characters and locations, The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is certainly an authentic Lord of the Rings experience. Though the weak visuals take away from the splendour of the large set pieces somewhat, whilst some character voices sound like, well, the bad sound-alikes that they quite clearly are.

Like the Star Wars: Battlefront games, The Lord of the Rings: Conquest has a focus on multiplayer above anything else, but there’s still an adequate enough single player experience, War of the Ring which is an ideal area to master all the character classes, before you opt to play the multiplayer. But even War of the Ring can be played as a multiplayer game, which just goes to prove where the true focus lies.

War of the Ring essentially reconstructs many of the big set pieces from the films. Largely, you’ll be controlling lowly soldiers, though at certain points within the levels, you’ll get the opportunity to switch to a more effective hero. Structurally it’s mission based, requiring you to carry out the usual tasks such as defeating enemies or taking over certain areas.

The problem with War of the Ring is that the whole Lord of the Rings experience has been executed more proficiently and with more of a wow factor in EA’s own earlier hack and slashers. A further problem is its brevity even when you take into consideration that the evil side has their own campaign to work through.

The different classes show their true worth whilst playing in multiplayer. Each class has both strengths and weaknesses and as long as you take these into consideration, not one of them seems to have an obvious advantage over any other. Warriors are the heavy hitters that can soak up a bit of damage but are at a disadvantage from long range attacks. Scouts are sneaky types, with cloaks and a one hit kill backstab attack, but are less durable than warriors. Mages have powerful long range magical attacks, but are useless in close combat, but do have a healing spell. Archers are very similar to mages, but the magic is replaced with arrows.

It’s all a bit messy though. The melee classes in particular can occasionally be frustrating to control, due to the absence of a lock-on function, resulting in many a missed strike. The most chaotic moments, when the screen is full of spell slinging and sword swinging players, can also be confusing, and on the online side of things, the hit and miss network performance does little to help matters here.

The competitive modes are pretty standard stuff. There’s death-matches (with regular team based as well as hero flavoured variations), Capture the Ring (which is just what you’re thinking, a Capture the Flag like mode, except with the flag replaced by a ring) the titular Conquest (where you must take over certain areas on the maps). All modes are enjoyable enough, though the games’ sometimes considerable downfalls can make it less so.

The Lord Of the Rings: Conquest isn’t a bad game by any means, but has too many flaws and a general lack of polish preventing it from rising above the slightly above average group. Franchise fans will no doubt get a lot of pleasure from wreaking havoc with their favourite characters and races and just generally reliving memorable moments from the films. Having said that however, there are a number of other Lord of the Rings games that give similar fan appeasement, but have the advantage of being significantly better games than Pandemic’s latest offering.