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Lord of the Rings: Conquest Demo Impressions

December 30, 2008
It's a fight to the death, old school style

It's a fight to the death, old school style

The Lord of the Rings IP has grown from a book series, to an award winning movie trilogy and more than a handful of games.  Pandemic Studios, the people behind the Star Wars: Battlefront & Mercenaries series is now releasing Lord of the Rings: Conquest for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC & Nintendo DS on January 13th.  The demo was made available on December 23rd, and I have to say, I’m Impressed.

Gameplay

The demo takes place within the game’s first campaign, The War of the last Alliance.  This battle is used as a tutorial to explain the different classes.  The game takes a “holding your hand while at the same time not holding it” approach.  In the first parts of the battle you are restricted by what class you can play while the game will briefly describe how to do that class’s special abilities.

It does this in short prompts and lets the player fight a small horde of enemies to learn the skills.  The tutorial will do this 4 times (One time for each class) and will then give you full control over the classes.  It will also give you access to a Hero class, which is basically a story character, who is a beefed up version of the 4 basic classes.

The four classes all play differently which keeps a feeling of uniqueness to them, rather than just small differences that just blend together.  The tutorial & by association, the demo does a good job of showing the different classes & the strengths/weaknesses.  The classes really distinguish themselves in the multiplayer of the game, which believe it or not, is part of the demo.

He's gonna need a bigger sword

He's gonna need a bigger sword

There is only one mode available in the multiplayer aspect of Conquest, that being, well conquest mode.  Players play on the side of Good, or Evil, and fight over areas around the map.  The teams have a maximum size of 8 which makes matches with 16 players max within them.  While it is small, especially compared to other Playstation 3 games like Warhawk & Resistance 2, it works for the game.

Based on player performance, a player will be given the option to become a hero character.  In the demo the Good side had access to only Gandalf, while the Evil side gets the Balrug.  These characters are much more powerful than the normal classes and can help turn the tide of battle if used correctly.

Graphics/Audio

The game has good visuals, even if they don’t push the envelope.  That said the environments and character models are well done, as well as effects like fire and lightning.  The audio, from what I can tell, is also well done.

Conclusion:

All in all The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is shaping up to be an enjoyable action game.  I have no real complaints with the title in the demo, but that doesn’t mean the final game will be perfect.  It seems as though Pandemic has created another great action game for gamers to enjoy.

Systems: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, DS

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