Lord of the Rings: Conquest - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Lord of the Rings: Conquest
PC Games, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Pandemic Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "T" for Teen



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     
When looking at games objectively, it always helps to strip away the fluff. What’s left when you cut away all the hype, high end marketing, and pretty visuals?  At its core, what does the game accomplish as opposed to others from the genre – what were the developers trying to accomplish?

In the case of Lord of The Rings: Conquest, you’re not left with much.  EA and Pandemic’s tactical action title set in the highly popular LOTR universe is a repetitive, glitchy mess that borrows heavily from a franchise that began showing its age in the last console generation. While Conquest may serve to placate fans of the LOTR movies and books for a while – a paper-thin package and sub par production values will keep most away.

Let’s be honest – LOTR: Conquest is nothing more than Star Wars: Battlefront (which itself borrowed heavily from the Battlefield series) with a new, shiny coat of Middle-Earth colored paint.  To be fair, the developers did not borrow everything from Battlefront, they failed to take much of what made the game enjoyable. For those unfamiliar with the series, the premise is simple; you choose your alliance (in this case, it’s a simple choice between good and evil) and your class then partake in what is essentially one giant game of capture the flag. "Base points" are scattered throughout each map and it’s your job to capture each of them – by strategy or force.

"...you’ll find yourself getting incredibly annoyed at Conquest’s camera."

 
   

The best part of both the Battlefield and Battlefront series was the truly massive scale of each battle. You could do everything from piloting helicopters or tanks to parachuting into enemy territories and set up traps and blockades. You truly got the feeling that you had to use all of your abilities to be successful. Conquest’s inability to recreate this feeling is perhaps its biggest downfall. Though the maps do seem rather large, a new, more zoomed in camera system makes it nearly impossible to truly appreciate them. More than that – you’ll find yourself getting incredibly annoyed at Conquest’s camera. Regardless of how many enemies are surrounding you, or where they are on screen, the camera will stay tight on you where most games would pan out to give you a better perspective. Sure, you can manipulate the camera manually but how can we truly immerse ourselves in the world presented if we have to worry about how we see it?

While Battlefront focused mainly ballistics and distance combat, Conquest puts more emphasis on melee combat with the Warrior class. Similar to playing as a Jedi in the Battlefront games, you’ll use a sword as your main weapon in battle. While there are combos and power moves to unlock and try to master, more often than not, you’ll resort to button mashing. You’ll find yourself hitting the same button over and over as you plow through a seemingly endless wave of enemy troops. In this aspect, Conquest plays more like a Double Dragon title than Battlefield – and that’s not a good thing.

Though Conquest takes advantage of the amazing score from the LOTR films, visually, its not so lucky – in fact, it looks like something from the last console generation (though the PC version does look quite a bit nicer). An unreliable frame rate, coupled with unrefined visuals and just plain old ugly character models makes for quite the disappointing experience. Why do we have to deal with subpar visuals when dealing with a franchise known for its breathtaking aesthetics?

"The story is pieced together quite creatively..."

 
   

Credit must be given to the developers for depth of Conquest’s campaign modes. While choosing the "good" campaign sees you following the events of the film, going the opposite route and choosing to be evil places you in a "What if" type scenario --  looking at Middle Earth as if Frodo was unsuccessful in his mission to return the ring. The story is pieced together quite creatively with cut scenes from the films interwoven in between missions. It would have been easy to simply have the evil storyline revolve around the events of the movie so it’s a welcome and interesting change.

Fans of the LOTR films and books will feel right at home in Conquest, unfortunately, even they won’t be entertained for long by the game’s slim package and repetitious gameplay. Though it’s showing its age – you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience sticking with games like Star War: Battlefront or Battlefield 2.

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlimited Lives, Remove Timer, Remove Timer, Unlimited Special Powers

Besides being incredibly repetitious, Conquest’s battles have some serious flaws. Besides being timed, you have a very limited number of lives between your troops. Using the "unlimited lives" and "no time limit" cheats included in the trainer get rid of these nagging factors and make battles a touch more enjoyable. You’ll have more freedom to experiment with different gameplay styles midgame without having to worry about all of those pesky one shot kills your enemies seem to be so proficient at.

Similarly, using the "unlimited health" cheat allows you to see how flawlessly the developers piece together a brand new "what if" type story using footage from the movies.  This combined with the "unlimited special powers" cheat creates an almost God mode like scenario - -and when is that not a good thing?

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