What Yo’ Tolkien About? LOTR: Conquest

Electronic Art’s latest LOTR title – a third-person thing of swords and armies – stumbles rapidly towards us, with a January 19th release date. Some videos and such have turned up for our inspection, and so without further ado I must point you to the click, beyond which I ruminate on said assets and post a video of Tolkien talking about naughty elves. Go read/watch.

Pandemic Studios seem to be borrowing some ideas from the Dynasty Warriors games with Lord Of The Rings: Conquest, at least for single player. The multiplayer, from these trailers, reminds me a little more of slightly-underwhelming fantasy melee-with-some-guns-and-RTS-elements, Savage 2. Savage 2 went free to play just before Christmas some time, if you haven’t tasted it then it’s worth a look, if just to see what the S2 guys were doing over there.

Anyway, Lord Of The Rings: Conquest looks like a potentially fun time, and yet at the same time seems to reach out and tug hard on the over-milked udder of Lord Of The Rings franchise. A game too far? Perhaps, and there seems little reason for this particular fantasy battle-romp to be set in Tolkien’s world. Still, if they do get the battles right, and capture of the scale of Tolkien’s battle vision, it could be truly spectacular. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, a playable Balrog – it all adds up to something that a certain type of fan won’t be able to resist. Clickwards for the those trailers, and a reminder of where all this stuff comes from.

The single player trailer:

See what I mean about that? The change-class-at-flag thing has always struck me as a bit weird too, but then I suppose this is the kind of game that has a single player campaign in spite of the intentions of its multiplayer designs.

The multiplayer trailer:

That’s a little more like what I’d been expect, although the generally wishy-washiness of it does not inspire great confidence.

Now, for oddly uncomfortable viewing, compare and contrast what you’ve just seen with Tolkien talking about the mythology of Middle Earth:



  1. Kieron Gillen says:



  2. qrter says:

    The pun in this posts title is astoundingly bad and yet it made me laugh out loud, quite heartily.

    Well played, mr. Rossignol, well played..

  3. Tei says:

    I don’t play Battlefield 2 often, but wen I play, I always join the 64 players servers. In comparation 32 players servers feel more like a “bar fight” than a “war battle”.

    A problem with Star Wars Battlefront is that the maps where ridiculously small to fit into a XBox 360 memory.
    So here comes a “mod” with LOTR themed graphics of Star Wars Battlefront. Is the engine revisited to able 64 players? do the engine support big maps to let people fly freely?

  4. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    EA sure does love it’s franchises… and yes, the pun is horrific yet hilarious.

  5. Feet says:

    The pointless voiceover thingy that happens everytime something happened in the single player video reminds me of EDF: 2017. Which is probably not a good thing considering it’s LOTR.

    Yeah I’ll definately give this a miss.

  6. Larington says:

    And my bow!

    Umm, theres a whirring sound going on, like its coming from under the ground… What is that sound?

  7. James says:

    The demo is available on XBLA and PSN, and – quel su-bleeding-prise – it’s not too impressive. Wander from flag to flag, hack orcs to death, button bash your way to victory, rinse, lather repeat. There just isn’t a need for this – it’s a title that should have been released about five years ago. Come to think of it, they did. Twice.

  8. phil says:

    Penny Arcade really didn’t like this one, then again having played Rain Slicked Precipice their judgement is problematic.

  9. PleasingFungus says:

    He killed Sauron with a headshot from a perfectly ordinary bow.

    I’m just rather at a loss.

  10. Oasx says:

    The multiplayer looks fun but i agree that it doesnt seem to have much in common with LOTR

  11. RichPowers says:

    EA isn’t releasing a PC demo, which is a sure sign that the game sucks.

  12. Bobsy says:

    Oh man. Someone’s pissed they didn’t have the Star Wars licence and missed out on Battlefront money? Gah. I mean, really, gah.

  13. Vitalis says:

    Also found that ‘zomg joo r tuly amazin’ voiceover in the SP annoying.

    Also seems that there be a lot more magic then I ever remember from any books. Everyone has a ‘FIRESWORD’ and you suddenly get mages who are all over the place. Or have a missed something somewhere?

  14. Larington says:

    The idea of a narrator for gameplay sounds good on paper, but in practice it often just doesn’t work. The indie celepholod (Sorry I’ve forgotten the exact spelling) one pulls it off, but the delivery for this game seems to be falling quite short of the intention of making the game more exciting.

  15. The Hammer says:

    I really doubt a game style first developed for a sci-fi franchise with a heavy emphasis on ranged combat is going to be a suiting fit to a melee-focused fantasy game, especially when the world that it’s set in is so prone to having huge, massive battles that this game ain’t gonna render…

  16. Tei says:

    Is the third age. Magic is dyiing. Elf chick are taking the boat to the west. Is the begining of the age of men, a age of iron and leather and mortair.
    Magic is rare, and even maiar like Gandalf don’t use magic often, or use subtel magic or are magic item users.

    This… video.. show something… byzarre, with people acting as tesla turrets, and owning fire blades Lots of invisible guys (more than one One Ring?). I guest this is the “wow style” applied to LOTR. Or the “X-Men – Ultraextreme” style. Either way, is ridiculous and lorebreaking. It spit in the face of Tolkien.

  17. Fede says:

    Oh, come on EA, Sauron was a sorceror, not a melee fighter!

    Poor Tolkien, I fear they’ll do the same to Dante’s Inferno. :(

  18. Larington says:

    @Tei: I don’t think its trying to demonstrate invisibility as such, more an attempt to depict a stealthy assasins ability to blend into the background. Problem is that the fade out effect used there causes confusion with the abilities of The One Ring. At the very least assasins creed was able to explain away your characters ability to blend into crowds, but in the context of LOTR its not quite working…

  19. Pags says:

    /me installs Last Days mod for Mount&Blade instead

  20. The Hammer says:

    Hey, Pags. If you found out about that because of me, you owe me one, yo!

  21. Pags says:

    Fine, next round is on me!

  22. The Hammer says:

    BTW, if it’s shit, I wash my hands of everything I said.

  23. Hmm.Hmm says:

    That voice-over is appaling, and probably exemplary for the quality of the entire game.

  24. Paul S says:

    Why is it that yer average American actor, doing a British voice in a videogame invariably goes posh southern, yet refuses to pronounce “cast” and its ilk “carst”. Why on earth does Gandalf in LOTRO get a funny northern turn mid-speech?

  25. Pags says:

    Paul S: We’ve spent 6 pages pondering the same sort of things.

  26. mandrill says:

    This smacks of Ninety-Nine Nights (or N3) for the 360. Button mashing, all action and no brain. I agree with Tei; if Tolkien had any say at all (which he obviously doesn’t) then this game would never have been made. It makes a mockery of everything that Middle Earth and LOTR is about. The only reason its had the LOTR brand tacked on to it is because it will sell and EA being EA want to milk their license for as much cash as they can squeeze from it. I spit on this game and EA for making it. Shame, Shame, Shame.

  27. Five says:

    The narrator in the SP video made me want to scream too.

    I’m not a fan of the Dynasty Warriors style of hundreds of enemies as intelligent as a plank of wood.

    But multiplayer looks alright. Once you get over the fact this game is nothing like Lord of the Rings, maybe it’s fun.

  28. Helm says:

    The idea of a narrator for gameplay sounds good on paper, but in practice it often just doesn’t work

    The man they chose to voice this is hilarious, I had to pause after ‘THAT ARCHER WON’T BOTHER US AGAIN’ to laugh and after ‘LOOK SAURON ENTERS THE BATTLE LOOK AT HIM THE GREATEST EVIL WE MUST KILL SAURON’ again. I’d play this once just for the voiceovers.

  29. Naurgul says:

    Oh my, it looks really awful. I was sceptical towards the film trilogy but this game defies the original material on a completely unprecedented level, i.e. it’s just random sword and sorcery with TOLKIEN stamped on the top.

    PS: I’m not commenting the modern-military style of the single-player voiceovers so I don’t go nuts.

  30. Alex says:

    It’s unfair to compare this game to a movie, but it’s impossible to resist after having seen the Sauron battle cinematic from The Fellowship of The Ring. You know, the scene where a GARGANTUAN Sauron whacks away hundreds of grunts away with one huge swack.

    I saw the singleplayer trailer. I laughed.

  31. BrokenSymmetry says:

    It’s “Middle-earth” and not “Middle Earth”.

  32. Jim Rossignol says:

    Lucky you were here to point that out, BS, someone might have got confused.

  33. thefanciestofpants says:

    An even worse descration then the films were. I need to go lie down.

    … Firesword?? REALLY?! And Sauron getting mobbed to death by randoms?! And.. Okay, okay.. Bottling it up.

  34. Zhal says:

    Now they only need to keep the gameplay like that and then apply MERP rules to it. That would be fun!

  35. Noc says:

    This looks like it may be a sort of half-decent fantasy hack-and-slasher. I just don’t really see what’s Middle Earth about it.

    I mean, the Swordsman/Archer/Wizard/Rogue class thing is standard fantasy through and through, as absurd as it (flaming swords and healing spells and invisible Gondorian soldiers and all) is in the LotR setting. It’s pretty clear that the this is more a case of the license being used to boost the game’s profile and recognizably than it is a case of people trying to make a game that is faithful to the source material. Which does irk me, a bit.

    But on the other hand, who would be paying attention to this at all if it wasn’t a LotR game? I sort of feel like this is less of a case of them milking the license, and more of a case of them trying to make a game viable by applying the license to it. Which isn’t something I like at all, but I can see why they’d do it.

  36. Alex says:

    I hate games that yell at you.

  37. Satsuz says:

    Noc says it all, really. I mean, we could never expect EA to make the hard decision to be faithful to the setting.

    As it is, though… I feel like I want to cry. I think I’ll take a shower and then start my next rereading of all my Tolkien books again.

  38. Leaderz0rz says:

    I think most of you guys are taking this game for way more than it is. Just like the Battlefront series, it is a game designed to be fun and action packed. Even in the battlefront series you could be Darth Vadar and get taken down by a rebel soldier. The hero classes are there to help turn the tide of the battle and for a “cool” factor. If whoever got to be Balrog could just go around the map killing everyone then the game would be reduced to a dice roll of the first side to get a hero character.

    Having played the demo, at first it does seem like a button mashing fest but as you play you start to see different strategies appear and you become more technical with your attack. The game isn’t without flaws, there are tons of them but it is still something worth playing if you want some quick fun. Just don’t take the whole “LOTR” thing so seriously.

  39. Xyzzy says:

    Wow… erm… that looked awful. I was enjoying the console Lord of the Rings games, and I enjoyed the movies, but this just seems too over the top. I’m a huge fan of the Battlefield series (I love 2142, which a fair amount of people disliked. Probably because they wouldn’t go attach the stupid Titan and instead ran around and killed people), and I enjoyed Battlefront 2 (even though it refuses to run because of SecuROM. I’m going to have to try that again >_<). But this.. this looks like some bastard mash-together of a brawler and a over-the-shoulder shooter. Which means it is an embarrassingly bad mess. Gonna skip this one continue playing TF2. At least the announcer in that game is good.

  40. Funky Badger says:

    Jebus, MERP. I come out in a cold sweat even thinking about levelling up in MERP…

  41. Dominic White says:

    The LOTR: Conquest demo on the PS3 is pretty terrible. The full game is apparently just as bad.

    Really, if you want big fantasy battles (RTS/Action hybrid with singleplayer and MMO sides, apparently), you’ll want to keep your eyes on this bit of loveliness.

    link to uk.youtube.com

    Out on PC/360 later this year. And it’s the sequel to a pair of very good RTS/Action hybrids on the original Xbox, so unless they’ve completely broken the formula, it’ll be good.

  42. Scundoo says:

    The graphics seem plain, the gameplay boring (the same old 3rd person LOTR games that have been made already).

    The only things that stand out is the awesome music (best film score since prokofiev’s work) and the “sports broadcasting” – type voice over (for how unbelievably FUBAR it is)

  43. Tei says:

    The Sauron maps looks like a football square. Also is strange to see Sauron fighting in the light of the day. He would prefered to make the day night with sorcery.

  44. Larington says:

    In fact, I reckon when you jump in as the hero character at the beginning of the singleplayer, I reckon the hero is supposed to be defeated and its while Sauron is stood over the hero that you get a victory cinematic. And yeah, why is it daylight, the skies should’ve been blackened out so the orcsies can fight properly.

  45. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    @Leaderz0rz: People really wouldn’t mention the LotR discrepancies if EA didn’t specifically choose to milk the LotR license. If it were an original setting or IP there wouldn’t be any complaints.

    They probably just want to save on their advertising budget by using an established license, and the fact that they’re willing to stomp all over the books to do it is what’s ticking people off. Say what you will, but aside from a few logic hiccups Peter Jackson tried to stay pretty on the ball with the films and managed to make a financial killing in the process.

    But license issues aside, it also looks like a pretty lame take on the “Battlefield” style of play. I wouldn’t spend money on it, especially since most testimonies say it lacks polish compared to other mostly-multiplayer competitive online games.

    And this is a PC gaming blog. Good multiplayer action games are a dime a dozen on our system of choice.

    (Which might also explain why the LotR license is getting exploited like this: Poor sods are more likely to trust the franchise based on name alone, especially those who’re buying the game for someone else.)

  46. Monkeybreadman says:

    Looks like a smelly mound of Balrog poo. Waste of time and money, theirs not mine

  47. Evan says:

    The voice over is really, really, really annoying. Unless there’s some humor like, “you have just shat your pants” ill pass.

  48. jackflash says:

    This looks dumb.

  49. eyemessiah says:

    That voice over was really very special.

    “BEHOLD he only has 4 HP left and his FLASH HEAL POWER is on COOLDOWN and his PHONE IS RINGING and he can’t find the POTION HOTKEY and his GIRLFRIEND wants to know where he put her HAIRBRUSH. HE HAS BEEN DEFEATED.”

  50. Deme says:

    This is disgusting.
    Not only does this have no connection to LOTR lore, it’s also amazingly fork-in-eye, just seeing it as a game.
    I’m glad they’re not putting up much of an effort to put this on PCs, I’d have to clean my screen with old classics and rosewater if that “game” is ever played on it.