Lord of the Rings: War in the North is the best Lord of the Rings game on a console... But does it compete?
Arbalon wrote this review on .
Snowblind chose the wrong time to release the game, since it will now be competing with AC: Revelations, MW3, Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Uncharted 3, and some other big titles.
But that doesn't change the fact that Lord of the Rings: War in the North is loads of fun.
In War of the North you will begin the game by choosing which of the three heroes to play with... Andriel... The Elf Lore-Master... Eradan... The Dunedain Ranger... or Farin... The Dwarf Champion.
Once you have chosen you will begin your epic quest to find and stop a Evil Man working for the Dark-Lord Sauron named "Agandaur".
Although you can change characters between checkpoints during the game, you will probably find it much more fun to stick to one character, that way you can help that character reach their highest potential.
For example I play with Andriel, and I stuck with Andriel throughout the entire game, although I have later on played with the other two, I stuck with Andriel, and she became much more powerful when I paid 100 % attention to her, than when I didn't.
But during the game, certain situations will require different characters.
Another example Andriel has a ranged magic attack, and Farin has the Magnum 44. of crossbows with a very slow loading process, and very low amount of "bolts"... so when archers are too far to melee, or they are too high, I could try and shoot them all down... But Eradan's ranged attacks do FAR more damage than Andriel or Farin's do, so really he would be the best choice when it comes to taking out Archers, and Ranged enemies.
Or lets say about 4 Uruk-Kai (Which are 10 foot tall orc-like warriors) were approaching your trio, yes Eradan and Andriel could lay down some substantial damage, but Farin is the master of hand-to-hand combat, and will butcher them much faster than Andriel or Eradan could.
Andriel can heal herself and others, and can create a large orb called "Santuary" that will deflect enemy arrows, magic missiles, or bolts, and will protect all who are inside it from ranged enemies, she can also cast spells upon creatures that will make them continually burn, or become shocked, or get hit with continual ice damage, although she is mainly a support character, Andriel is no wimp in the battlefield, and can take on any enemy she wished to.
The fact of the matter is that certain things are easier, and certain things are harder depending on the character you chose.
There are many pros, and some cons in War in the North.
The story overall is very interesting, and very true to the facts... for example I was extremely overjoyed to hear Beleram the eagle speak for the first time, and as a fan of the books and earlier games, I was very happy with everything they gave me in War in the North, the cast did a good job, and the animation was very well done.
The Graphics are definitely a factor to War in the North, the way your character gets soaked from rainfall, and the EXTREMELY realistic looking water puddles, and lakes and rivers and such... same thing with snow, and fire, etc. War in the North is beautiful to look at.
Now one of the main pros to War in the North, is its main hack and slasher style of gameplay with a nice mix of RPG elements added into it as well.
Like the number of damage you inflicted is shown floating over the heads of your enemies, and the amount of damage inflicted upon you is shown as well, although it can be turned off if wish, it gives it that nice little touch of RPG.
But yes most of the game involves mashing the square/x button, and then finishing off the bad guys with a nice critical strike performed with the triangle/y button.
You upgrade your character the same way you would in an RPG, with stats, and skills and such, and when you unlock certain skills, you will perform them by holding a certain trigger, and then pressing the required button while holding the specific trigger to perform it.
You equip things to your character as you would in an RPG as well, finding items in treasure boxes, and looting it off enemies, and like an RPG certain items require certain stats, or require you to be a different "Class"/"Character" to use it, and you buy and sell things from vendors and such, all of this makes the game that much more addicting.
Another impressive thing about War in the North is its "Knights of the Old Republic/Mass Effect" Speech method, meaning when you talk to people, you will get a list of things you can talk about, or say, when you have selected what you want to ask or say your character will say it, and the AI will respond to what you say in different ways, depending on what you choose to say... It is a very nice addition, and will make War in the North all the more entertaining for you, although there is no Moral decisions, and nothing you say really effects the game in more ways than one, it is still a very nice way of talking to people.
When engaged in hand-to-hand combat, you will find yourself just BRUTALLY wasting the hordes of orcs, goblins, uruk-kai, wights, etc. that come before you.
You will begin by slashing, and slashing the enemy, until a small yellow arrow appears of their head, when it does, that is signalling you to perform a "Critical Strike" which will instantly kill most enemies.
Another very good addition, is Co-op play, which can be played in local splitscreen, or you can play with other players over the internet, and this mode can either be very rewarding, or very irritating, depending on the players you party up with.
With all this and more combined into one good experience, the game is fun all the way to the end, and even after that when playing multi-player and co-op.
Now almost every game has its cons, and this game does have its cons, when your health is depleted you will crawl around, and await another member of the team to revive you, there are a lot of weird things that happen during this time, like getting back up for a second, only to fall down again, and other strange things as well.
In a cutscene three characters are shot out of the air and only one is supposed to have survived, yet you can still see the two "Dead" eagles floating in the air still as if they were still alive.
The game also has a very cut to the chase storyline, and seems to pass rather quickly.
And boss battles are disappointingly easy, and you will not find yourself really struggling with them at all.
But overall this game is fun and will definitely be one to KEEP on your shelf.
Lord of the Rings: War in the North is rated Mature for Blood and Gore, and Intense Violence.
The game is Insanely violent, nearly everything revolves around violence, talking of violence, threatening violence, and more violence, but Snowblind is definitely trying to create an experience that is more like the books than the films.
When slashing an enemy a large amount of purple or black blood will spurt, splash, spray, pour, or launch out of them, and will stain the nearby walls, floors ceilings and objects surrounding them, and later on in the game you will fight Evil Men, and you will be seeing a LOT of that Familiar Crimson, and when the heroes of the game are hit they will also seep out that nice Red blood we all love so much, and before you know it most of the battle area is stained, and smeared with blood, but strangely enough Snowblind decided to let blood disappear over time... Why might you ask.... I don't know for sure.
Gore is as common as blood in War in the North as well, you will be beheading, impaling, dismembering, torching, and exploding a lot of enemies throughout the game, head will roll, arms will flail, legs will fly, and chucks will soar.
Overall War in the North has made its point, and is trying to mimic the Beloved Tolkien Classics, War in the North is the first Lord of the Rings game to be given the Mature rating, so for some that nice big M is an accomplishment, for others its disgusting.
I Loved the game, and you might too, and I think it is a game that has been under appreciated, because no Lord of the Rings game has been this good in the entire franchise's history.
Well that is my review hope you liked, and maybe you'll like my other ones too :)