Lord of the Rings: Conquest

I picked this one up for my kids because it is a console game ported to the PC and it has also been called LOR Battle Front (Pandemic, makers of LORC, also made SW Battle Front 1 & 2, and this game I think uses that engine). They loved Battle Front on the XBox 360 (I played Battle Front 2 on the PC and had fun with it. I’m not finished yet so no review yet). Anyway, this game is similar to Battle Front in that you can change classes at a flag point (although unlike Battle Front, everything is not mostly about capture flag points). LORC has 3 parts – a training mission, the War of the Ring campaign (good guys) and the Rise of Sauron campaign (bad guys). There is also an instant action mode which I didn’t try and a multiplayer mode where you can play together with other people. The training mission deals with Sauron’s original defeat; the game lets you play the 4 different classes (warrior, archer, mage, scout) here and teaches you their different abilities. It also lets you play a hero unit (these units are available in each mission at certain times, usually toward the end of the mission). After the training you have to play the good campaign before the bad campaign is available. There are 8 missions in the good campaign and 7 in the bad one. There are also 3 different difficulty levels: casual (easy), heroic (medium), and legendary (hard). Legendary is not available until you have finished a campaign on heroic (although I found all difficulty levels were available even after I finished the Sauron campaign on casual).

I liked the Sauron campaign better than the Ring campaign, possibly because you did not know exactly what was coming and also because it is fun to be the evil player sometimes. I started the Ring campaign on heroic, but later had to switch to causal because  I grew tired of playing the same mission over and over. That is my first gripe with this game. Each mission is divided into 5 or 6 different submissions, yet the game does not save until the end of the entire mission. I dislike the console checkpoint save system to begin with, but it sucks to get to the last part of a mission and lose and have to start all over again. I play games to have fun, and repetitive play is not fun. I played the entire Sauron campaign on casual and had more fun with it

One annoying thing it took me a while to figure out was how to select a hero character. A message will randomly flash on the screen if you want to play a hero and you have to select yes or no. I first thought you had to use the mouse, but this did not work. I finally figured out you had to use the left arrow key to select yes or the right arrow key to select no. Another gripe about this is that I use the arrow keys to move not the default WASD setup. If you push the up arrow key when the hero message pops up, it will disappear (although it would return sometimes).

Another thing to remember about this game is that it is a third person arcade action game, not a  first person PC game. There are many key combination moves (which I could not always get right) that you need to execute to beat foes. This is also a very short game (which I think is why the makers do things like have checkpoint saves so you replay missions serval times and the game feels longer). I easily beat the game in a few days playing only a few hours a day.

Overall this a good short diversion to get for $20 or less. Just don’t expect a pure PC game here.

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