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Lord Of The Rings: Conquest

Labeled With  lord of the rings conquest xbox360 ea
Written by DM on Saturday, January 24 2009

Lord of the rings conquest is a bit more than just a plain old hack and slash game. Yes, it does require a copious amount of button mashing, but there is some variety. The game features four classes, and you can switch between them at pretty much any time. This certainly helps to break up the button pressing monotony. Does the game measure up otherwise? Let's find out.

The storyline in LOTR conquest basically follows the journey of Frodo yet again, complete with all the epic battles and adventures. Of course, the game adds certain scenarios that were not present in the original novels in order to provide us with more levels to play. All in all though, the game stays true to the story line we all know and love. You do end up in control of Legolas and Gimli, and even Gandalf, more often than you play with Frodo and Sam. That is just the nature of the beast, though. Once you complete the first campaign which follows along with the movies, it unlocks the second campaign. This second adventure puts you in control of Sauron's forces. You begin as a Nazgul, in fact, and you must slay rebel orcs who have mutinied and taken one of Sauron's magical relics. Once you obtain and return this artifact, the evil Lord re-acquires his one Ring, and the rest of the story line deals with his conquest of Middle Earth. It is harder than the first campaign, but it is worth playing through, as it provides an interesting alternative to the events we are all familiar with. Also, it makes the campaign mode last twice as long, about 8 hours total if you take your time, and play on the default difficulty setting.

The game play, at its core, is your run-of-the-mill hack and slash type control. You have buttons for light medium and heavy attacks, and you even have a throwing weapon. You can chain these different attacks together to form combos that will devastate your enemies. In addition to this, there is a power up and special attack system. As you dispatch more and more enemies, power ups appear. You must collect these green glowing orbs in order to power up your special meter. There are three types of special attacks (at minimum) for each class. Some, like the mages, have more than three. You will find yourself using the special attack that hurts the most enemies at once more than any other, though. When you reach later levels, the size of the enemy hordes becomes immense, and the only way to survive is to constantly use your group special attack. The way the game is set up, those of you who are familiar with multiplayer games that involve capturing control points will feel right at home. Most levels have at least one point on the map that you must defend or capture before the timer runs out. Of course, the developers vary the action by interspersing specific tasks that must be accomplished in order to proceed with the control point captures. All in all, between the different classes, the different tasks that need to be accomplished in order to proceed, and an ability to play as one of the hero characters (Legolas, Aragorn, etc.) from time to time, the game does provide as much variation as is possible in a hack and slash title. It still comes down to pure button smacking, though, when the action gets frantic.

The graphics in LOTR conquest vary as well. Some maps have beautiful scenery, detailed enemy models, and flowing water. Other maps are gray and bland, with invisible walls and dead ends over the place. Another graphical feature which bugged me about the game is the fact that there are times when an enemy horde is waiting to attack outside the invisible wall. You cannot attack these enemies, nor can they attack you, but it definitely looks like you should be able to. This feature fooled me more than once, and can be both annoying and distracting in the heat of battle. There is also, of course, graphical slowdown when a multitude of enemies and allies are on screen at once. I fully expected this, though, as it is a common feature in hack and slash games.

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