I had the pleasure of playing “The Lord of the Rings: Conquest” last night at a friend’s house. He had said earlier that it was a pretty badass game, and I must admit, that upon hearing that Pandemic was making a Lord of the Rings-themed Battlefront, I was flipping out. I mean, what a great idea! How many times have I wanted to slay some Orcs upon the fields of Pelennor? Many times! And with this game, I was finally going to be able to.
Alright, I’m going to say everything straight up and say that “The Lord of the Rings: Conquest” was a bit disappointing. Actually, very disappointing. First, I will address the game’s technical problems, or things that would make every gamer mad, then I will address nerdy nitpicks of how they fucked shit up.
To start things out, the controls are not very good and the design sucks. This game is a wannabe hack-and-slash, and would be fun if it just was a hack-and-slash, but the controls suck. In most hack-and-slash games, you button-mash combos, killing just about anything in your path without missing a beat. There is no (or very little) time between combos. In this game, you also pull out combos, but your character has to get back into their “fighting stance” before you can do another move. It’d be like if I was in a fist fight, and I punched someone, but if I wanted to punch them again, I’d have to back up and get in my stance again. It’s so fucking lame, and makes the game clunky and somewhat un-enjoyable.
The camera is kind of lame, too. And the design? Apparently no one in Middle Earth has nothing but round knobs for hands because if you fall off a ledge, you fall off a fucking ledge. There isn’t a “hold on” button or anything! If your combo sends you rushing toward an Orc, and you zoom off the side of pathway, that’s it, you’re dead. Many of the animations in this game will send you off where you don’t want to go, like off of a cliff, and I lost many lives that way. But sometimes, you’ll just run off accidentally, not seeing the ledge, and fucking fall off. What the fuck? So yea, that’s bad design.
And don’t even get me started on riding a horse. On the XBOX 360 version, you “sprint” with the A button, and kill others with the X and B button. But how I am supposed to fucking press all three buttons at the same time? I only have one thumb, idiots! Forget that, dude. I tried to ride the horse and gain a command post, but then I was hit off it. Fuckin’ A. I was so mad, I tried to kill the horse, but I couldn’t. Apparently you can’t kill allies.
The voice acting is not very good either. I was in Osgiliath, killing some Orcs and shit, and this general would not SHUT THE FUCK UP. “Do not lose hope, men of Gondor!” I know that games have to have these kind of lines, but this guy said something about every five seconds, and it was all Tolkien-word-laden with big ass words and fancy structure. “The foul wave of Mordor sends beasts against our home. Cleave their skulls, quickly!” wait five seconds. . . “Hold your line, men of Gondor! Hold your line!” wait four seconds “Men of Gondor, they’re attacking our home! Send them to the abyss!” Fuckin’ A, someone get that guy some pipe-weed so he can chill out a little. And the thing that was most annoying, is that we weren’t even fighting that many Orcs! Which is another problem in the game. The huge battles from the movies don’t seem like big battles.
For example, before the walls of Helm’s Deep, there’s about two hundred Uruks just standing there. . .they aren’t animated, and I don’t even know if they are 3-D. They’re like the “people” on the sidelines in old football video games. Yea, those flat, 2-D cutouts of people. Now, I’ve seen “The Two Towers” a hundred billion times and read the chapter about Helm’s Deep (yea, I only read the battles) and I don’t remember Tolkien ever mentioning the Army of Saruman as being 20 Uruk-Hai and 10,000 cardboard cutouts. I mean, seriously. . .
Alright, that’s enough bitching. . .actually, no, it’s not. Let me tell you something else that pissed me off. At some point in the game’s development, Pandemic decided to throw canon out the window.
At the beginning of each level, it shows the date of the battle, saying when it happened. Did they just make this shit up?! Let me explain this: They say Helm’s Deep happened on March 4, 3019, when it in fact began on the night of the March 3rd. Yes, I know, nit-picky, but what if I said that our Independence Day was July 5th, huh? Then, on the next level “March of the Ents,” it says that it was August 22, 3019! What the fuck?! That shit happened on March 3rd! Hell, according to the Lord of the Rings appendices (yea, I checked), the Ring was destroyed on March 25! So. . .why would there still be Orcs and shit in August? And the rest of the levels take place in April and then March again. . .why would you have the first level in March, then the second in August, then the third one in April, then the rest in March? What the fuck, Pandemic? Get your facts straight! And there weren’t no Gondorians in Moria. And Gimli wasn’t there leading them! And the fucking Balrog was killed by Gandalf. . .wait, you can play as Gandolf in the level?. . .what the fuck? These people needed to do their homework.
And another thing that bugged me is that it wasn’t like Battlefront, where you have command posts and just battle for them. There are indeed command posts, but they are set in specific places to have the story progress. I thought it was just going to be a big field with four or five command posts, and then just battling. But it’s not. You have to go to certain checkpoints (the next “command post.”) and it progresses like a regular level of a video game instead of just “win the battle.” Fucking lame.
And another thing that annoys me is that this game fucking tells you what to do all the fucking time. Sure, they have it all as voice acting, but let me give you an example. On the level “March of the Ents,” you can play as an Ent. So I was crusin’ around, killing Orcs and shit and my objective was to destroy some towers. That was fine, but Treebeard wouldn’t shut the fuck up about it. “We need to destroy those towers. . .” he kept saying. “There’s only two towers left. . .” SHUT UP, LET ME DO IT, TREEFUCK! After I destroyed the towers, I had to kill Saruman (once again, not in the fucking books or movies), and the soldiers kept saying “Someone has to go up top and kill Saruman!” and “Our bravest now has to climb Isengard and defeat Saruman.” Fuck! Shut up! I wasn’t playing a game, I was just following orders from bad voice acting. The game’s just dropping hints on your objectives and it’s annoying as hell.
And what the fuck is with the classes? Mage and Scout? Now, I understand that they put these in the game to have some variety of gameplay, but what the fuck? A MAGE? The only people to use magic in Middle-Earth were the fuckin’ Wizards, and there’s only a handful of them. I play this game and there’s magic-users all around and. . . Orc Mages? There weren’t no fucking Orc Mages! There ain’t never been a time when an Orc has used magic! That’s bullshit!
And could Hugo Weaving (who plays Elrond in the movies) sound any more lethargic during the cutscenes? Some narrator he is. . . “yea, and Sauron and evil through the lands of Middle whatever yea yea yada yada. . .” Come on, Elrond, don’t fall asleep!
Howard Shore’s amazing music from the films is here, so that is nice. . .but they fucking used it the wrong way! I was fighting at Helm’s Deep before the castle, chasing around an Orc in front on his cardboard cutout buddies, and I noticed the music that was playing was super fuckin’ chill music, like when everyone is chillin’ in Lothlorien. What the fuck? This is a battle! That’d be like playing “Für Elise” on D-Day. What the hell, Pandemic? What the hell?!
And you can play as heroes on some levels, too. . .but they fucked that up too! Don’t even tell me that Aragorn was wearing that shit at Helm’s Deep, because he wasn’t. He didn’t get that fucking costume until the third movie, jerkoffs. Haha.
Fuck me, dude. I was so excited for this game. It just seemed so cool. . .but what did we get? We got bad voice acting, wrong costumes, wrong dates, TOTAL disregard for all canon (Rohirrim soldier did not kill Wormtongue who dropped a key, Gandalf did not kill Saruman in Orthanc, etc,), bad design, shitty narration, stupid animation, horrible controls (riding a horse, anyone?), and shitty use of potentially awesome music. If you want to play a good Lord of the Rings game, play the ones EA made for last generation’s consoles. At least you felt like you were in a battle!
“The Lord of Rings: Conquest” sucks fatty balls.