The Lord of the Rings franchise has never gotten the game it deserved, this isn't it, but it's a good try.

User Rating: 7.5 | The Lord of the Rings: War in the North X360
In The Lord of the Rings: War in the North you play as a new fellowship set during the same time as the original trilogy. The fellowship you play as in War in the North is comprised of Farin, a Dwarven Champion of Erebor, Andriel, an Elven Lore-Master and Eradan, a Dunedain Ranger of the North. The game opens with your trio entering the Prancing Pony Inn in the settlement of Bree, which is a well-known location in the Lord of the Rings franchise. You speak to Aragorn, a Dunedain Ranger like Eradan and one of the main characters of the original trilogy. Aragorn tells you that you must head to the fortress of Fornost and distract a force of Goblins and Orcs gathering there while he tries to reach Frodo Baggins, the central character of the trilogy. This is where your journey begins and where you meet the villain of this tale, Aganduar.

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is not a bad game, it's not great, but it certainly isn't bad. War in the North doesn't have many bugs, and in my 21 hours of play I honestly haven't even run in to one that was noticeable. It does, however, suffer from some things that can only be described as lazy design, such as a very linear landscape and many of the enemies being rehashes of others you've fought before. Slaughtering the Goblins of Fornost early in the game is easy enough and requires only a swipe of two from your sword, axe, or staff. As the game progresses instead of facing reasonable amounts of enemies that are just more dangerous it piles on the hurt, throwing hordes of powerful Uruk-Hai, Orcs and Trolls at you. Throughout the game you acquire more powerful equipment to combat the growing dangers of the forces of Aganduar, who, suffice to say, aren't very intelligent. Fighting a Troll and a handful of Orcs is easy enough if you understand that all you have to do is roll around in a semi-circle to avoid the Troll's attacks. I mentioned earlier that many of the enemies are just rehashes of those you've fought before, this is where that comes in. Trolls, Men of Carn Dum and the dangerous Orc Sorcerers all boil down to a basic archetype. The men of Carn Dum fight the same way that the duel sword wielding Uruk-Hai warriors do earlier in the game and all trolls, whether it be the dangerous armor wearing Olag-Hai or the Snow Trolls of Gundabad fight in the same way. Boss battles offer some variety to the brutal and usually satisfying combat, giving a more difficult enemy to face, but again it boils down to the fact that the majority of bosses take a small amount of damage then teleport away or in the case of the Stone Giant boss fight, you hack at his shins long enough then he falls down.

The story has some cool moments and cool characters like Beleram the Great Eagle, but here you'll find yourself more engrossed in the gameplay than with the story. While War in the North translates the universe of Lord of the Rings to video game platform well, you won't find yourself wowed by any particular moments in the storyline.

After reading such a lengthy section about my issues with the game you may be wondering why I gave it a 7.5, well it's because it's just fun. I spoke earlier about how the AI is rather dumb and how many of the enemies are just rehashes, but really, this game is fun. The gameplay is a hack 'n slash that will conjure up memories of previous Lord of the Rings games if you played them. War in the North satisfies with gory fun, lopping off limbs with a two handed sword or crushing heads with a staff or hammer is very fun and can keep you entertained long periods of time.

The graphics of War in the North are rather good, it doesn't feature a lot of amazing set pieces or great lighting effects, but it does feature interesting character design and cool effects, like mud or snow covering your character as you roll during combat. The voice acting in this game can go either way, sometimes you'll find yourself smiling at the deep voice of the Great Eagle Beleram. Other times you'll find yourself staring in disbelief at lifeless cardboard voice acting performed for characters like Elrond and Arwen.

Overall this game is fun and can satisfy a need for a mindless hack 'n slash, and if you're like me, it will bring back nostalgic memories of playing the old Lord of the Rings games based off of the movies.