This never happened in the movies. As we were escorting Frodo through the besieged city of Minas Tirith, he was grabbed by a troll and thrown through the air. Seeing his lifeless corpse bounce off a rooftop was actually quite amusing. Being forced to replay the level from the start, for something we barely had a chance to prevent, was not.
Lord of the Rings: Conquest is full of frustrating moments like this. Although you're given a generous amount of lives to complete each campaign mission, there are many scenarios that cause the mission to end instantly. The most common one is being killed when you're protecting a key location. The time it takes to choose your character and respawn means that the positions are often overrun before you have a chance to fight back.
Battling the Olyphaunts and siege weapons at Pellenor Fields is also a headache. You have to be in precisely the right position before you can attack them, otherwise the context-sensitive buttons just don't appear.
On paper, engaging in epic pitched battles like Pellenor and Helm's Deep should have been a thrill. But sadly, we've seen bigger and more exciting fights during the January Sales. Conquest lacks drama because the most you'll see are about 20-30 enemies on screen at a time. There seem to be hundreds of enemies off in the background, but they're impossible to get to and might as well be cardboard cutouts for all the good they do.
The Lord of the Rings used to be one of EA's premier franchises. Now it's reduced to a handed-down game engine from Star Wars Battlefront II. And at least Star Wars had a ton of vehicles to choose from and some decent first-person shooting. The battle between Saruman and Gandalf just involved us shooting lightning bolts at each other for five minutes. We're going to have to watch the movies again just to cleanse our minds.
Multiplayer is a slight improvement, mainly because it feels competitive and you don't have to worry about tedious objectives that seem to be shoehorned in. These 16-player matches go back to conquest and flag-capturing basics. With twice the number of players, it actually could have been quite impressive.
It could even be said that LOTR: Conquest will only appeal to die-hard Tolkien fans - in fact, they're the ones most likely to hate it. If someone gives you a copy of this, take heed and throw it into the nearest volcano with all the other nasty stuff.
Battlefront plus goblins, minus any fun
- Multiplayer passes the time
- Plenty of different battlegrounds
- The battles are far too small
- Frustrating mission failures
- Combat system is poor