The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
|The Lord of the Rings: War in the North|
Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
|Publisher(s)||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment,
Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
|Series||The Lord of the Rings|
|Engine||Dark Alliance Engine|
September 18, 2013
|Mode(s)||Single-player, co-op multiplayer|
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc, DVD, digital distribution, cloud computing|
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a role-playing video game developed by Snowblind Studios. It is based on the events taking place in the northern regions of Middle-earth in the background of the main story of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, more specifically in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy universe. It is also the first The Lord of the Rings video game to be rated M by the ESRB. The plot for the game is that the three heroes that the players can choose from go on their own journey, similar to The Fellowship of the Ring. The characters journey to different locations to help aid in the War. Their actions help the Fellowship in a way that is not seen in the films or books. Players take control of a hero of the war and are able to play through the game alone or co-operatively with other players.
In a preview article in PlayStation Magazine, it was discussed that players will have skills that are upgradeable, characters that can be customized, and that conversations play out similarly to Mass Effect without the moral ramifications. Each character also has ranged attacks which they can use, Farin (the dwarf champion) has a crossbow, Eradan (the human ranger) has a bow and Andriel (the elf mage) can cast ranged spells at enemies. All characters also have light and heavy attacks and can roll, block and counter enemy attacks. Players can also issue orders to their AI companions if they are playing solo. There are also hubs in the game which function as points where the party may rest, accept new quests, speak to people and stock up on new supplies. Hubs are towns or villages. Comic-Con 2011 featured gameplay of War in the North.
Each race also has a unique ability. The dwarf for example can mine for gems which can be used for crafting purposes and he can also smash walls down where hidden treasure can be found. The game also features unlockable difficulty modes such as a nightmare difficulty. You can replay through the game and keep all your equipment and skills from the previous playthrough. Dialogue will normally present a few choices where the player can get just the facts, delve deeper into the lore or get optional side quests. The gameplay also relies upon the player working with friends (or with AI companions) to use tactics to defeat certain enemies.
Many locations that are not featured in the movies are in the game. Locations include the Ettenmoors, Fornost, Mirkwood and Mount Gundabad. Locations from the movies also appear in the game. Players can explore Bree, Sarn Ford and Rivendell and interact with the characters there which include Gandalf, Elrond, Frodo, Bilbo, Legolas, Gimli, Arwen and Aragorn. Characters from the books can also appear in the game. The Ranger Halbarad, Radagast, and Elrond's sons, Elladan and Elrohir, are just some of the characters that players will encounter.
War in the North features three playable protagonists. The three characters fall into three separate classes, Champion (warrior), Loremaster (a mage) and Ranger (a rogue). Characters gain experience by defeating enemies, and will level up when enough experience has been gained. Characters can improve their stats (strength, will, stamina, dexterity), and use skill points to receive or upgrade special abilities.
- Eradan is the Ranger class, and is a Dúnedain. He is the most adaptable playable character and can use a two-handed sword, a sword and shield, dual wield weapons or a bow. Eradan also has access to many stealth abilities that allow him to sneak up on enemies to attack them. Eradan is voiced by Nolan North.
- Farin is the Champion class, he hails from Erebor. Out of all three characters, Farin is the most skilled in using melee weapons, but also possesses a crossbow that may be used for ranged attacks. He can also mine for gems.
- Andriel is the Elven Loremaster class who has been taught by Elrond. She hails from Rivendell. She uses magic as her defense and offense but can also dual wield a one-handed weapon with her staff, which can also be used to melee attack enemies. Her abilities include offensive and supportive spells, but she possesses melee abilities and may be leveled up to become a battlemage if the player wishes. She can also create potions from alchemy ingredients that the player may find scattered around the game world.
In a story that runs concurrent to the events of the Lord of the Rings films, a trio of adventurers are tasked with foiling the designs of one of Sauron's deadliest servants.
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North received mixed to positive reviews. Koalition awarded the game 8/10 stating that "The cooperative multiplayer aspect is fantastic and the game is balanced very well". Gamefront gave the game a positive score of 8.5/10 praising the game as being "a successful effort for Snowblind" and stating that "It’s a fun title that you can enjoy with your friends or alone". IGN awarded the game a "Good" score of 7/10 praising its graphics and level design but criticizing the plot as being bland, the characters as lacking personality and the game suffering from repetitive gameplay. GameSpot gave a score of 6 out of 10, stating issues such as odd enemy behavior, technical issues with multiplayer and a general feeling of disappointment. Game Informer also had feelings of disappointment; giving the game a 5.5 out of 10 score. It cited issues similar to that of GameSpot. On Metacritic the game holds a 62/100 for the Xbox 360 version, a 66/100 for the PC version and a 63/100 for the PlayStation 3 version as of January 29, 2012. The German edition Der Krieg im Norden received a positive review from the Zillo Medieval magazine praising the possibility of playing in previously unexplored areas of the game's world.
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