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The Lord of the Rings: Conquest

14:3128/01/2009Posted by D+PAD StaffOne Comment

We’ve got to be honest with you here – being a videogame journalist can be pretty darn special at times. From rubbing shoulders with Cliff Bleszinski to popping in to see the chaps at Ensemble to get top grade access to Halo Wars months before its release, it’s fair to say that the staff at D+PAD are not without their fair share of perks.

Lord of the Rings: ConquestBut hold – before you turn a few more shades greener with envy, we’d best make it clear that working in this field that we’re so passionate about isn’t all exclusive betas, unparalleled access and curly fries. We have a job to do, and strive to make our reportage as concise, fair and accurate as possible. We wade through the fancy preview packs, the free key rings and four-sizes-too-big Lair t-shirts to bring you an unbiased reliable source for all things gaming. For every time we get invited to the Killzone 2 beta, one unlucky mortal had to play Haze (thanks for that, Ed). For all of the glorious hours spent making our LittleBigPlanets, some unfortunate soul had More Game Party nestled on their in-tray. Of course, we’re not complaining – we’re here so that a) you can join us in playing the games truly worth your time, or b) you can run to the hills every time a horrific excuse of videogame entertainment emerges from the cracks under the earth, hell-bent on making your game time and wallet size as miserable as possible. In the case of Lord of the Rings: Conquest, we’re pretty sure that option b) is the most applicable on this occasion.

What annoys us the most about Conquest is that…well, it’s so hard to choose one particular facet of this abomination to place under any particular scrutiny, but one recurring thought of ours during our regrettable playtime was damning the sheer ignorance of the development team responsible. How any one of the poor souls who have (probably) worked very hard in making the game thought that this end product would be remotely acceptable in today’s standards really needs to get out from under the rock they’re clearly living under. Lately, throwing an implication of such malice into the air like that is somewhat foolish given EA’s Lord of the Rings: Conqueststellar work these past 12 months. We’ve been scared witless in Dead Space, played God in Spore and done an awful lot of running in Mirror’s Edge amongst plenty other pleasant surprises, but Conquest smacks of EA’s bad old days of cobbling together a barely playable shambles under the cheap disguise of the latest “what’s hot” film licence. What makes it all the more bizarre is two-fold – this embarrassment of a game is arguably EA’s worst attempt at this sort of behaviour yet, and since when were we supposed to still care about the Lord of the Rings universe? The film adaptation of Return of the King was released in Christmas 2003, for starters. It was also in 2003 when the Return of the King videogame released, with a virtually identical premise to this current piffle.

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