The multiplayer is unfortunately another weak point for Lord of the Rings: Conquest
– a game Harry has since decided to term as Battlefield for Orcs
The problems with multiplayer are mainly the same as the problems with the singleplayer – something that’s unavoidable thanks to the fact that the game uses the same classes, heroes and levels.
Thus, to recap, in multiplayer the levels are still small, linear and as dull as watching a silent movie with your eyes closed, the classes are still overpowered and the archer can still destroy anything in sight.
The heroes too make a mighty appearance in the game, each one proving able to turn the tide of a battle single handedly and actually end a match in moments. It doesn’t matter if you use Saruman’s chain lightning, Aragorn’s Wall of Undead or Gimli’s unexplained invisibility – heroes kill everything.
There are some differences between the modes though, mainly the types of games that are available. Here, Conquest
runs the usual gauntlet of deathmatch stalwarts, as well as giving players some interesting chances to square off.
There’s the checkpoint-based Conquest mode which is the supposed star of the game, the team deathmatch variant which easily eclipses it and a CTF-alike based around capturing an unusually large golden ring. All of this can be played in LAN party mode, but if you want to go online you’ll need to sign up to EA Nation to even see the server list.
The real problem with the multiplayer as far as we can see though isn’t that it’s populated with godlike heroes who look only faintly like their character basis’ at best, but that the game lacks any appreciable depth or tactics. If you’re an archer then you just spam arrows everywhere, if you’re a mage you spam lightning, warriors, fire-swords and so on. Nobody plays as a rogue unless they have to.
Whatever your class, whatever the level, gameplay never goes above or beyond hammering the controller or mouse buttons as fast as you can. Special powers recharge so fast as to have no real effect on the game so and the level of hit points is exactly the same, so the only real difference between single and multiplayer seems to be the fact that you’ll occasionally be hit with lag.
If you’re thinking that all this sounds as drab, dreary and dreadful as drinking a mixture of mouldy porridge and seawater then you’d be getting close to right. Conquest
isn’t a great game.
That’s not to say that the game is truly abominable either though – the code is solid at least and the game is playable to a point. It’s pretty direct too, which is an odd thing to praise the game for admittedly, but with a franchise like this it’s good to see that the developers haven’t tried to go overboard on detail, as Tolkien did. There’s a short FMV intro to each mission, but that’s it.
True, Tolkien fans may be a bit annoyed to see the rich and over-detailed world be mostly disregarded, but they can just go call a Waaah-mbulance. We prefer to just get stuck into the game – that’s what we paid for after all.
At the end of the day though, the game we’ve paid for isn’t really worth the effort. The game is poorly balanced at best, fluctuating between the unforgiving aggression of playing Monopoly with a bitter mother-in-law and the tedious, boring ease of playing Strip Poker with an dirty uncle.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the singleplayer or multiplayer, it’s just a faulty mish-mash of familiar exploits that have obviously been poorly put together by a developer that is quite clearly aware that it could be doing much greater things if it had the chance.