The Lord of the Rings: Conquest

Key events

Xbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round 17

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PS3 Face-Off: Round 17

LOTR Conquest, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, Saints Row 2 and loads more.

It's the first face-off of the New Year and with it, the opportunity to bring the cold, hard, iron first of order to the games cupboard by rounding up the games we really should have covered by now, but didn't for reasons too numerous and too tedious to get into. It's also the chance to take a look at how the first high profile release of 2009 - EA's Lord of the Rings: Conquest - measures up under Eurogamer's unyielding scrutiny.

As we've got a lot of software to get through, we've bumped up the interesting games to the front of the feature, then grouped together the rest in the form of smaller, round-up featurettes at the end. However, as per the norm, all games get the full screenshot gallery treatment - captures losslessly derived from the HDMI ports of both consoles at full range 24-bit RGB precision. Where PS3 outputs a 1080p signal on any given game, additional galleries are provided, along with their 360 counterparts.

For the headline games there's also the customary video coverage. Set your Flash Player to 'high quality' to appreciate the full might of h264 encoding, or check out the author's blog if you want to download bandwidth-saturating full-HD versions running in real time, optimised for playback on PS3, Xbox 360 and dual-core PCs.

Read more

Lord of the Rings: Conquest

Lord of the Rings: Conquest

The Return of the King?

The Sacking of The Shire, the final stage in Lord of the Rings: Conquest's campaign mode, is a distressing scene. In a wicked reversal of the storyline originally laid down by Tolkien, Sauron - the Dark Lord himself - arrives at Bag End cottage with a Balrog on a leash. Amongst the vegetable patches the hobbits run to and fro in the frantic, fearful pandemonium of an unexpected attack. In their fat, stubby little hands they hold nothing to protect themselves save kitchen knives and sapling bows.

Ten, twenty, thirty fall, arrows sticking from their childlike faces like cocktail sticks from tomatoes. The forces of darkness burn their homes with flaming arrows, setting fire to the bushy heads of the Ent tree people who are working to protect their friends and allies. It's no use: they're overwhelmed; massacred. The well-kept flowerbeds offer no stronghold and the midget race is no soldier stock. It is genocide.

Incidentally, I'm the one pulling the trigger. Kill 300 in one go, asks Pandemic: Achievement unlocked.

Read more

We're a Balrog! A screen-filling demon flaming with rage. And we're in The Shire! Stamping on any hobbit, man or elf that gets in our way. Squish squash. We're playing The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, the Battlefront-alike third-person action game from Pandemic, and it's quite good fun. But then we're currently one of the Hero characters, upgraded because we lead our team on points at the last count. It's not always Balrogs, either, as each map has its own good or evil trophy character. We bumped in to rather a lot of Witch Kings, for instance. Commoners.

Riccitiello: EA quality up "sharply"

"We've turned the corner on that issue."

John Riccitiello believes the fruits of his reappointment as EA boss are beginning to show and has noted a "sharp" rise in the quality of the publisher's games.

Pandemic unveils Lord of the Rings game

Pandemic unveils Lord of the Rings game

Battlefront in Middle-Earth. Be Sauron.

Pandemic has finally unveiled its long-rumoured Lord of the Rings game, due for release on PC, PS3 and 360 this autumn.

It's called The Lord of the Rings: Conquest and is effectively a continuation of the Battlefront series but in the land of Orcs and talking trees and a big scary eye, according to the IGN reveal.

That means you can pick any of the key fights from the books or films (as well as fictitious ones) and jump in as a melee warrior, third-person shooter archer, support class mage or stealthy scout.

Read more