Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Lord of the Rings: War In The North

Surprisingly we have never done any articles for the new Lord of the Rings hack and slash rpg, so I thought I would like to change that before the game comes out on November 1st. We did get to play the game at E3 and we did snag some footage, but it was a very short experience. War In The North is mainly a hack and slash, with a story campaign, but it is also very multiplayer oriented. It draws you in with it's coop oriented experience that attempts to make it as fun as possible to play with two other players. Each character you control is persistent and customizable with loot, items and skills. Another unique aspect of War In The North is their property rights, unlike many other Lord of the Rings games this one has the rights to use material from the books and movies, allowing them to create an experience with all the material available. They promise to bring back familiar areas while also presenting a lot of new and unexplored material. Snowblind Studios is developing it and you may know them from Champions of Norrath or Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance. War In the North is coming out for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Check out this new developer video to get a little bit of insight into the game.

I had a mostly positive experience from what I saw and played at E3 of War In The North, but it still left me wanting more. The hack and slash gameplay seems pretty generic and formulaic, but it does have skills, equipment and items to make it a bit more interesting. Some of the abilities are actually pretty impressive, for example we had an ability at the demo at E3 that called in a eagle to grab or attack trolls. The eagles are thankfully large in size, like they should be and are described, and look fantastic attacking a troll. All of the combat is done well, but don't expect anything innovative. If you want to check out the eagle in action, check out our gameplay video from E3. 

There isn't a ton of information about the game, but they do have a little bit about the three playable characters. You have the Dunedain Ranger, Eradan, a ranged fighter equipped with a bow and two swords. He sound's like a pretty versatile character, dabbling a bit in ranged, melee and stealth. There is also the Champion of Erebor, Farin the Dwarven Warrior. He is a warrior that is skilled with all melee weapons, but he also has a crossbow. His special ability is his war-cry, something that terrifies enemies and boosts the power of his allies. The third character is the Loremaster of Rivendell, Andriel the staff wielding scholar. She seems to be the healer of the group, but a healer than can also dish out considerable damage to enemies. Although, she is probably quite weak and can't take much damage. The main NPC allies of the heroes are Radagast The Brown (a wizard of great renown), Beleram and The Great Eagles, and the two elf twins Elladan and Elrohir. The main enemy in the game seems to be Agandaur, a shadowy warrior that keeps hidden in the shadows and provides Sauron with support, but no one knows exactly what "he" does. 

This game comes out pretty soon and it is a bit exciting if you are into cooperative based hack and slash rpgs, but it's release date is a horrible mistake. It comes out the same day at Uncharted 3, a little more than a week after Battlefield 3 and not too long before Skyrim. We will see how it turns out but I don't expect it to triumph against those very strong contenders. I do really like how the game is catered towards more mature players and shies away from the perception of hack and slash being mindless. Thanks for reading and if you want to check out more head to the main website below. 
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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