Byline: Ewan Ross
Lord Of The Rings: Conquest (EA, XBox360, pounds 39.99) ASK anyone to list five classic films from the last decade and Lord Of The Rings would probably be one of them.
Unfortunately the only lists the LOTR games would be in are the "what have I purchased" and the "how can I off-load this garbage?" lists.
Okay, maybe a tad harsh, but Tolkien's legacy shackled with linear gameplay all but destroys this legend for the gamer clan. And although the online version did a lot to reconcile this, the console community still needed a solid game to stand forth and take the initiative.
LOTR: Conquest mostly succeeds here and delivers quite a compelling title.
Steering away from the actual exploits of Aragorn et al, it instead focuses on the Silmarillion - the events that preceded the destruction of the Ring, and Sauron's rise to power. Although Conquest uses a fair amount of the film's video footage, this is where the similarity ends.
Conquest is a bit like Star Wars: Battlefront in which a team of adventurers can battle their way through checkpoints to take locations.
Taking the mantle of either warrior, archer, scout or mage, you can use each to bolster your forces and take the battle to the enemy.
Group co-op battles see you teaming up with six to seven buddies and fighting teams from other sides in a "capture the flag" style game. Each checkpoint, once captured allows you to re-spawn when you're killed.
But unlike a lot of team battle games, the combat system is fairly varied and responsive. Warriors, for example can do a variety of decorative killing moves and even critical finish strikes, just to make the opposition seethe in fury at your fancy tactics. …