Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Snowblind Studios Launch “The Lord of the Rings: War in the North” Video Game
Action RPG Title Breaks New Ground as the First Mature-rated The Lord of the Rings Game, Delivering an All-new Story to the Canon
BURBANK, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced the launch of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North in North America for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Games for Windows. Inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and literature, this Action RPG game supports co-op for up to three players and introduces a new story to the canon.
War in the North is an action-RPG built with a strong focus on co-op. As three warriors placed in a new story set concurrently against the events in the LOTR trilogy, War in the North adds in a brand new plot, as well as an M rating due to some pretty brutal combat. All of the familiar trappings of the action-RPG genre are here, from shops and loot to blacksmiths that repair weakened or busted weaponry; as well as some combo-based sword (and axe) play.
However, even with the significant carnage and orcish dismemberment, there's something too safe in War in the North. The gameplay doesn't take any real risks, as the combat is fairly simple, the RPG features are par for the course, and the story doesn't make any attempt to stand out in the backdrop of its established universe.
Initially, it's glorious to wipe out an entire horde of orcs, pushing them back, taking the opportune moment to impale those that have fallen and finally rending the head from the shoulders of the last remaining beast. After the ten-dozenth time, it begins to lose its luster. Sure, Sauron throws the occasional troll or two your way, but even these encounters become banal by the campaign's end.
This is partially because enemy variety thins out as the adventure moves forward, with wild men serving the same function (and using the same animations, if I'm not mistaken) as the orcs that preceded them. The more difficult enemies, rather than being craftier, simply ignore most hits and retaliate with unblockable attacks of their own. When I activated Hero Mode, for example, huge hammer-wielding orcs unflinchingly withstood the damage of my heaviest attacks and spells that knock most enemies to the ground (including my favorite ability, the mage's "You shall not pass" combo).