With the demise of Lord of the Rings: White Council, we might have been forgiven for thinking that the wheels had finally fallen off the mighty EA LOTR bandwagon. Yet with the Hobbit film hype machine about to rev into overdrive, what better time to revisit Middle-Earth for the momma of all mash-ups?
Director Eric Gewirtz is more than happy to acknowledge Conquest is an unabashed fantasy riff on Pandemic's lucrative Star Wars Battlefront series; that is, you're dumped in the middle of objective-based scraps in iconic locales like Minas Tirith, Helm's Deep and... erm, The Shire. See, the game won't just rehash movie moments, but flesh out the universe with 'What If?' scenarios as well.
So, if you ever wanted to raze Bag End to the ground with a mighty Balrog's fire whip, kick Gandalf's wizened arse with Saruman or grind Samwise into dust with Sauron, now's your chance...
Just like Battlefront then - even down to the gloriously hackneyed class system. Take your pick from Warrior (melée hack-'n'-slasher), Archer (shoot-'em-up specialist), Scout (tops for stealthy stuff) or Mage (ranged attacks and healing) or, occasionally, over-powered hero units like Aragorn and Gandalf. Knowing Battlefront like we do, one thing you will certainly be doing a lot of is dying, so Conquest actively encourages you to reincarnate as different classes in order to sample the sweeping variety of gameplay styles the game has.
And a Battlefront title wouldn't be complete without the requisite carnival of orgiastic online fun. Besides the usual suspects, there's four-player online campaign co-op, Hero-only Deathmatch and the intriguing-sounding Ring Bearer - where one poor sap, as invisi-midget Frodo, has to escape the attentions of swarms of Ringwraiths, while occasionally dishing out doses of backstab justice with Sting.
It looks terrific, and if a next gen Battlefront starring outrageous numbers of Uruk-hai, Elves and Rohan Riders doesn't put fire in your belly, you're less of a man than Gríma Wormtongue.