War in the North is a bloody good time, but has its flaws.
Calvin079 wrote this review on .
The game centres on a Dwarf, Elf and Man out to stop one of Sauron's commanders not mentioned in any book: Agandaur. A twisted Man, he is out to attack the North including Rivendell and everything else in between from Carn Dum, which was ruined a long time ago while Sauron sends out the Witch King to Minas Tirith. When the game starts, you can pick the man, elf or dwarf to play as. The man is your ranged supporter, the elf is your ranged support and healer, and the dwarf is your tank class. I played as the Dwarf for 99% of the game and briefly tried the ranger. You can switch characters any time you die or reach a check point, and can change your appearance by looking in a mirror in any building in a town or safe zone (like Rivendell) which I did not try. Now I rented this game through the Onlive service and had some issues with that which, I believe were not from the game.
War In The North is a hack and slash RPG. Any time you encounter an enemy, the blood flies-literally. As you whittle away at an enemy's health, puddles of blood both black and red form on the ground. Once you whittle enough of it away, you can try for a final or killing blow, which may see you in a close up beheading an orc soldier or removing one its limbs or generally hewing it in half in slower motion. Or if your enemy is on the ground, a stab to its vitals is also shown, though nothing incredibly stomach spewing is ever shown-just lots of blood. If you don't like the sight of blood, you can also turn it off in the game settings. It looks just as cool, though combat gets repetitive after a while, but there are a lot of enemy varieties such as trolls, spiders, orcs of various sizes and men. You also befriend a great eagle, who in a pinch will help you with the tougher enemies- trolls, out of reach archers, enemy mages and the like; very useful if you are having problems. This game was also built around teamwork. You can play it single with the AI controlling the other two, or up to two friends. Now Onlive did not allow multiplayer because it was a rental, so I cannot say how well the multiplayer does or doesn't work.
The AI certainly is up to snuff if you're playing by yourself, though in later levels, you'll see their flaws. You'd think the Ranger would go into his evasion mode (allows him to remain invisible to the enemy for a short time) to revive someone, but he won't at times. Or the elf would create a bubble shield and heal when you have sliver of health and no potions, but won't. But other than these occasional lapses, it certainly lends you support when you need it. Do not try to monster your way through this by yourself. You get creamed almighty fast if you try.
The controls for the game are very fluid and responsive. For the PC, you have the option of keyboard and mouse or XBOX controller. The left mouse button is your light attack and the right mouse button is your heavy attack button as well as your ranged shooting button and you use the WASD keys to move, space to roll and LFT CRTL to block. E is used to move or collect loot or initiate conversations which are TOO scripted. The voice acting is done very well, with all voice actors sounding very much like the movie actors, which is impressive. The game is tough, but mostly fair, though there are unfair parts which I will get into a while later.
The graphics are very well done. When a snowstorm blows in, you can see the swirling snow and your tracks swiftly disappearing. The mountains and hilly areas look great, charcters look like their movie counter-parts where applicable and the music is all original stuff.
There are a few things that annoy me such as a female elf wielding magic, when no female elf ever fought, and no one knew how to do magic except for the 5 wizards, Sauron, the Witch King, and the Mouth of Sauron. But the game shows orcs and men using bubble shields and shooting bolts at your while your elf ally does the same. But the good thing about that is there are very few mages in this game, and nothing as far as I know goes beyond the bubble shields except for Agandaur who shoots lightning from his hands which is also odd. Another thing that bugs me is the shortness of this game. Its only 20 hrs, minor sidequests. I'd imagine its 30-35hrs with sidequests that you can acquire by talking to villagers. Instead of having to travel by foot to your destinations, you automatically "warp" there, and from there you go on a fairly linear path (that has several branches leading to loot and traps) to your checkpoints that auto save, which are few.
Some unfair parts are: only way to beat one boss is to have it glitch by standing there and taking your blows. Otherwise it's almost impossible. Another mission has you defending the inner doors of a stronghold, which two armored trolls attack which have vast amounts of health and can break the doors in a short amount of time. To beat them you almost have to encounter a glitch where they stand there and do nothing while you shoot them. Other enemies have massive hammers and health. Its really hard to take them down.
Plus, once you finish the story, there's nothing to do except try it again on a harder difficulty of which there are 3: Normal. Heroic and Legendary.
Other than these things, overall War In The North is a good game, but I'd rent it first as the asking price of $50 is a little too high or wait for a sale if you want it bad enough.