The Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
“I love LOTR games but I am so sick of playing as heroes like Gandalf and Aragorn.” Is this you? If so, you might already know this game. It came out like two or three years ago but somehow it snuck past me undetected.
I have played MANY Lord of the Rings games. And they’re all pretty much the same. This game doesn’t explore new territory, but rather a new way to play old battles. Instead of controlling Gandalf in the Mines of Moria, you can choose to control a basic foot soldier (either a mage, warrior, scout, or archer). There is nothing special about you and you will likely die.
You get a certain number of lives before you lose the level. If I’m battling the Balrog and I get him down to half-health, but then I die… I respawn and continue to attack until I run out of lives.
The game does succeed in making you feel like a nobody. You have to strategically plan where you are going to attack. I tried charging in and I was always slaughtered.
This game was really tough. I had to quit a few times to calm down because I was so frusrated. Maybe it wanted you to feel like the good guys were really outnumbered.
In terms of the classes, one was severely overpowered. I tried being an archer once and I kept getting swarmed. The mages didn’t have any awesome spells like you would imagine. The warrior was only okay. The scout was a monster. As a scout, you can turn invisible, sneak up behind enemies and assassinate them with one hit. Turn invisible. Repeat. Some levels I just turned invisible and ran all the way past all the enemies.
Now, what makes this game cool… When you finish the traditional storyline and defeat Sauron, it opens up a second campaign mode, where we see what would happen if Sauron reclaimed the ring. You play as orcs mostly, in addition to the Nazgul, trolls, the Balrog, even Sauron himself. The baddies seem much more powerful, I didn’t have to replay a single level. Being a troll and destroying Rivendell is highly satisfying.
This game had potential. A cool idea and a unique “what if” campaign, but fatally flawed by boring and ineffective classes. A mage should be powerful but I didn’t feel that at all in this game. The second campaign was fun (burning the Shire as Sauron was a highlight) but the entire first half wasn’t enjoyable for me. A few things right, a lot of things wrong.