The Lord of the Rings: Conquest

  • Hilariously awful dialogue
  • Wormtongue is a badass!
  • Poison arrows are powerful!
  • Shows contempt for the license
  • Woeful combat design throughout
  • Looks terrible to boot

Dear Pandemic,

We liked Mercenaries 2, but after some of our competitors unfairly kicked its face off you’d be forgiven for thinking we reviewers relish the opportunity to stomp a game’s head in. Nothing could be further from the truth. For one thing, bad games make for hard work. First, you have to play long enough to form an educated and authoritative critique. Then, you have to write several hundred words on something truly awful in a manner which your readers will find engaging, even though the game has stolen every ounce of your fading holiday buzz, and all you really want to say is “DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE”.

The very worst game reviews are laundry lists of good and bad points – this is good but this is bad, but that’s okay because this is good – bemoaning the faults and apologising for them by way of the stronger points. It’s the easiest review any writer can bang out, but even for that you need one redeeming quality. Just one, Pandemic. Just one would have been enough. Now, Star Wars: Battlefront was a pretty strong game. Even now, it sits just behind Halo 2 as the second most played online videogame on the original Xbox. It’s obvious why you’d think the same trick would work for the Lord of the Rings franchise; it’s all about the epic battles, after all. Fans of the book would probably dispute that, but – hey! – what do the nerds know, right?

It might have worked, too. EA did a fine job banging out three LOTR games cribbing from the Dynasty Warriors template, didn’t they? And those games were produced by the guys who did Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball, and the unfortunately named and now defunct Stormfront Studios, so how hard could it be, right? Well, you sure showed them. Battlefront managed a thoroughly decent bit of shooty-shooty-bang-bang between Empire and Rebel forces, but Conquest takes its cue from Dynasty Warriors and makes the combat so intangible and repetitive, and the combo system so incompetent there’s not a single decent punch-up to be had.

Where Battlefront looked good, Conquest is Keith Richards; where Battlefront had interesting and almost-balanced character classes, Conquest has a band of wooden-legged freaks who moonwalk like the Former King of Pop; where Battlefront had fun vehicles to pilot and fight, Conquest has the gimpiest horses since Two Worlds, and Cave Trolls and Ents which, frankly, look like claymation diarrhea.

Worst of all, where Battlefront showed respect to its inspiration and paid homage to the license, Conquest is more like an offensive parody. Remember that bit in Tolkien’s masterpiece where the loyal-unto-death lapdog Wormtongue gave his life fighting hordes of Middle Earth’s finest heroes in defense of his beloved boss Saruman, before Gandalf sprinted to the top of his tower to circle-strafe and lightning-zap the bugger to death? And how about the part where every battle was narrated with hilariously bombastic bellowed insights like “YOUR POISON ARROWS ARE POWERFUL. USE THEM!”? That’s right, Pandemic. That didn’t happen, did it? No.

And we know what you’re going to say – it’s designed to be played online. But even if you’d built a multiplayer game as magnificent and as robust as Saruman’s tower at Isengard, it would collapse like a house of cards because you’ve built it on foundations of poor mechanics, horrible presentation, dull combat, worthless maps, and total contempt for the mythology. There isn’t an online gamer, Battlefront player, Dynasty Warriors nerd, movie buff, or Lord of the Rings fanatic on Earth who could be satisfied with Conquest. It should ship with the pre-owned sticker already on the box.

We still remember Full Spectrum Warrior, you know. You’re better than this. Much, much, much better.

Jan 14, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jan 13 2009 - PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (US)
Jan 16 2009 - PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Pandemic Studios
Franchise: Lord of the Rings
ESRB Rating:
PEGI Rating:

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  • jazbez - January 2, 2011 5:58 p.m.

    Bought this game yesterday used for 10 dollars, worst money i have ever spent,
  • killerhi5 - August 17, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    hey the game isnt as bad as they make it sound but most of wat they said is true.... its only good with three friends at 4 o clock in the morning when ur all half asleep
  • calvinrees-jones - April 6, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    AMAZING could you give it a 2!!!!
  • Adamister10 - January 2, 2010 12:12 a.m.

    Not the greatest game but a 2 come on it was at least a 6 or 7.
  • eee - December 9, 2009 6:07 p.m.

    Like many of the other comments I read I watched the lord of the rings movies I givw it a 7
  • eee - December 9, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    F@#k this article while I do admit this game could have been better and the combos are some remote smashing foul mouth tickets I enjoyed this game and the multiplayer and a lotr conquest 2 would be bitchen!!!!!
  • DaReaper481 - March 3, 2009 5:50 a.m.

    Ok this is a lot of bull. Their best argument is that its not enough like the book story line, but the dev's made it so you could play the story the way YOU want. I give it a 7.
  • oreomonkey - February 22, 2009 2:20 a.m.

    Ok..yah I understand why this got a freakin' 2 and Far Cry 2 got a 9... that makes sense... and I noticed you guys forgot about the multiplayer load times in Far Cry 2... Start Macthmaking...Searching...Searching...Searching ...Searching...Searching...Searching...Searching ...Searching...Searching...Game Found!...Host Ended Game ...Searching...Searching... Searching...Searching... I give up
  • battenfelder - February 4, 2009 1:25 a.m.

    GoldenMe: they put the balrog in the shire because sauron ressurected him. if you didnt scip the cut scenes then you would know that. but yeah im pumped for battlefront 3
  • GameLegend08 - January 31, 2009 4:09 p.m.

    Damn....better luck next time pandemic
  • ricono - January 16, 2009 11:32 p.m.

    i agree with the two guys above me i acttually really liked the game its really fun and feals a little like battlefront first off though im not a fanboy it does have flaws and i agree with the horse thing but come on battlefront had its flaws to but i stand by my awsome ratting 8/10
  • jcenax - January 16, 2009 7:04 p.m.

    How dare you give this game such a low rating this game is a hell of alot better the merc 2. At least some of us know a good game when we see one.
  • sprog - January 16, 2009 12:28 a.m.

    My friends, as I write this i am indeed drubk. But that has no influence on my sheer feeling that right now, i wisk I didn't read this review. Not because it was bad or inaccurate, but because I was acutally hopeful that we could enjoy a LOTR: Battlefront on our consoles. That dream has been shattered by their apparantely half arsed appetms. But then again I don't trust one-page reviews anyway so what the hell are we supposed to believe?"??""?!
  • vic88 - January 15, 2009 5:13 p.m.

    look at metacritic score
  • Fionn1 - January 15, 2009 2:54 p.m.

    I saw a demo run a while ago and knew that it would be awful, I can get past iffy graphics, I can deal with just a couple of buttons to whack things and still redeem some satisfaction......but GR are right, some voice telling me my sword is working against orcs in a big OT hollywood style is plainly a ruiner! I liked the last ones, i thought this would be a decent re-hash...whats wrong with Devs why do they make such rubbish sometimes, cant they release bits of information as they make a game then check on sites like this for reactions on there ideas for a game and change or keep the ideas as they are developing, im gutted this isnt good.
  • Defguru7777 - January 15, 2009 2:37 a.m.

    OH MY GOD!!! I knew it'd be bad but damn! You have to try to make crap this bad.
  • Rattlehead - January 15, 2009 2:13 a.m.

    How hard can it hbe to make a good LOTR game?
  • GoldenMe - January 15, 2009 2:03 a.m.

    I. KNEW. IT. Me: 1 Fanboys: 0 Also, FIRST.
  • Crazyrabbit - August 19, 2009 4:18 a.m.

    I admit the game's storyline was off from the actual Lord of the Rings Movie or books it doesn't mean it's a 2!I'm not a nerd or a fan just it seems it would get a 7 or something. I have the game and it seems much more better. OK now I know some people really hate it just why a 2? i would honestly give it in the 6 or 7 region.
  • MERCILESSkIlEr - July 27, 2009 5:35 a.m.

    okay i know it wasn't the "greatest" game ever,but really?a 2?!i just got it today and i liked it,out of a 10 i would have at least given it a 6 0r 7 i just cant see how anybody could give it a 2