As with Battlefront 2, players who are on a hot streak are given the opportunity to play as a hero unit, with ramped up abilities, damage output and hit points. If you’re playing the campaigns or co-op mode, you are given the opportunity to play as a hero when the battles reach pivotal moments. These heroes are tied to the particular battle you’re playing, so you won’t be seeing Frodo in Helm’s Deep, at least in the standard gameplay modes. We can assure you, however, that when you get to play as a hero, the game really shines. There is a “Hero Deathmatch” mode included, but we did not have any hands-on time with it.
In addition to the heroes, certain modes and battles allow for the player to take control of Conquest’s answer to vehicles: Mounts, Trolls and Ents. Players controlling a Troll or Ent gain the benefits of increased hit points and damage output, but become vulnerable to special attacks. Trolls can be climbed by an opponent, which brings up a quick time event for a cinematic kill and Ents are particularly vulnerable to fire-based attacks.
While pretty much everything we played and saw felt solid and fun, there were two major sticking points that we would like to see ironed out upon release. First of all, the difficulty of the campaign mode is a bit unbalanced. Most mission objectives are easy enough to complete, but at moments during our playtime, we would find ourselves hit from all sides by archers or juggled and knocked down by melee units, even when we dropped the difficulty down a notch. In one particular situation, we were knocked off a ledge into a bottomless pit by a boss. Co-op wise, the class balance in the campaigns also felt a little bit off – the Archer and Scout definitely did not seem to be as effective as a Warrior/Mage combination. Another slight disappointment was that the standard classes of both armies are a carbon copy of one another, including the abilities each is granted. This is minor, however, as the inclusion of the hero units definitely make playing as each army a unique experience.
Issues aside, Pandemic is looking at another solid title with Lord of the Rings: Conquest. With both a solid single player/co-operative campaign and strong competitive multiplayer modes, this is definitely a game that is going to be on our radar.