A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a very violent escapade with constant battles full of fire, swords, arrows, and magic lightning. Though there is never any blood flowing forth from wounds and wounds are never shown, the general idea is to kill or be killed. This is a game based on the three Lord of the Rings movies. The game can be played online with up to 16 people.
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What's it about?
In LORD OF THE RINGS: CONQUEST, Electronic Arts tries to immerse you into Tolkien's epic fantasy world of hobbits and orcs, except this is the movie world based on the Peter Jackson's trilogy that ended in 2003. The character images are of the movie actors, but the voices are not. In this game, the most touted storyline revolves around your being the bad guy, the Sauron orc who tries to stop the magic ring from being wrecked. In fact, one of the trailer's tag lines is, "It's good to be bad."
In the single player campaign mode, you first play as the forces of good. As you play though this mode of 15 levels, you can play as a troll, a wizard, an archer, a swordsman, an orc, even an Ent, those giant trees that are part human. Up to 150 characters might appear on screen at one time during battles, the most amazing of which is killing those big elephants things, olyphaunts. You'll relive the awesome, action-packed scenes from the movies, but be prepared to be knocked down flat way too much. Playing though the game on the side of good allows you to unlock the evil campaign. And the online mode allows you to play with up to 16 players during which you can control the giants like trolls and Ents.
Is it any good?
In Lord of the Rings: Conquest, it's neither good to be bad nor good to be good. That's because Pandemic, the developers, tried to do too much in too little time. On the surface, there's so much to do that you'll initially feel like a kid in a candy store. However, as you start to get farther in the game, you realize that the developers failed to polish the game.
The single player mode of 15 levels ends too quickly after about 13 hours. While much of it is on the easy side, the hard levels are terribly unforgiving. Sometimes, its environments seem unfinished as you find yourself moving through barren scenes. The gameplay is not always fluid, and you'll get choppy movement, especially in a massive battle scenes. Even walking doesn't always appear that natural. You can go back and play as different characters at different difficulty settings, but it is unlikely that you will because your first experience doesn't make you want to return. If you do return as a baddie, you'll eventually have to kill many hobbits and burn down the Shire. Online, the battles seem all too usual, and controlling those giant trolls and Ents is unwieldy because they move so slowly. This may be fun to Lord of the Rings loyalists, but even the true fan will likely wish that Pandemic had spent more time on the development of Lord of the Rings: Conquest.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can talk about which of the epic fantasy characters they most enjoy being. Which character gives you the most bang for your buck, the troll, the archer, the swordsman, or the powerful wizard? Does playing this game make you want to go back and watch the movie trilogy or read the original Tolkien novels? Does the violence fit the story or is there too much of it?
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