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Friday, September 19, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 57.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Paper
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Lord of the Rings: Conquest
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (rated Teen), DS (rated Everyone 10+)
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Lord of the Rings: Conquest is inane for reasons other than the fact that it's another nerdy Lord of the Rings adventure mired in "health orbs."

No, the really moronic thing about Conquest is the way it plays. The goal is to kill people. To do this, you move joysticks to make your Middle Earth warrior turn around to shove a sword in a bad guy's belly, but by the time you turn around, he's gone. That sort of ha-ha-psych-we-fooled-you method of gaming is expected (fast villains make you game harder), but in Conquest, it's caused less by design than by a general slowness. Traveling on battlegrounds is like running on pillows. Buttons aren't super-responsive.

What else is dumb? When you play offline, hundreds of bad guys are shooting at you with poison arrows from afar, while other bad guys slightly closer cast magic spells on your head, and still others use a cloak of invisibility to sneak up behind you and stab you in the kidneys. That's redundant and lame.

Online, all this stupidity is almost cool. Almost. You're not trying to slaughter a zillion computer-generated villains; you're matching wits against a handful of other gamers.

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