PS3 Previews: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Preview

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The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Preview

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Scheduled release date:

Q3 2011

Publisher:

Warner Bros.

Developer:

Snowblind Studios

Number Of Players:

1-3

Genre:

Action/RPG

The movie trilogy is long since complete, but “The Lord of the Rings” remains a fantasy phenomenon, and there’s no doubt people will be reading Tolkien’s classic tales for a very long time. To keep us all entranced by the events in Middle Earth, Snowblind Studios and Warner Bros. are preparing The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, an action/RPG that takes place towards the end of the aforementioned trilogy. Frodo and Sam are negotiating the dangerous Mordor landscape while the rest of the world attempts to defend themselves against Sauron’s invading forces. The game’s story does indeed focus on a particular fellowship: a dunedain (ranger), dwarf and elf; you can play solo or with two friends, and if playing alone, AI will control the other two characters. You will, however, be able to switch party members at certain times, which should be viewed as a bonus.

Thing is, you might have to switch: as each distinct character has his own abilities and strengths, it makes far more sense to work together as a team. Unsurprisingly, the dwarf (Farin), is a melee attacker and is accustomed to accepting a large amount of damage. The elf, Andriel, is more of a support character as she has magic-like skills that will prove helpful; casting an orb that simultaneously heals her allies is certainly a big help. She can also dual-wield some weapons, so she’s a diverse character that can help turn the tide of a difficult battle. The ranger is Eradan and he can be a force at both close and long range, and he also has a few stealth abilities that can give your party the edge. These three should be capable of dealing with most any obstacle, provided you take full advantage of their specific strengths. Balance is key.

As for the “action” part of the action/RPG label, you will be tasked with chaining your strikes together because the game rewards you for smooth succession of attacks. When you start your assault, a bar will appear over a foe’s head, which tells you how close you are to landing a critical blow. If you can land that deadly strike, the character will enter Heroic Mode, which grants bonuses to both damage and experience gained. Oh, and the added power of your attack will cause limbs to fly, so there should be a fair amount of brutality involved. As you might expect, leveling up lets you dump more points into your stats- you can choose to enhance strength, will, dexterity, or stamina. Plus, you’ll unlock new skills and during your travels, you’ll doubtless find all sorts of loot, ranging from sellable items to valuable equipment. Collecting stuff is a huge draw in any RPG!

In addition to the three-player co-op play, we’ll also have the option of two-player local split-screen with one online player, 2-3-player LAN, and yeah, three players online. The only three playable characters in the game have been mentioned, so we hope you’re happy with that trio…you can live with that, right? We should also expect an appropriately in-depth storyline with plenty of lore, dialogue, and plot twists. Snowblind is responsible for the original Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath, both of which I adore. So if there’s any chance at all that The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a spiritual successor to such games, and plays similarly, I’ll be a happy gamer. Yeah, those older games were all about playing with one character of your choosing, but I can handle the party, provided all the gameplay mechanics work out well.

3/14/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

Godslim
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 9:34:08 PM
Reply

As much as i love lord of the rings i dont think this looks that great especially after the last one :S

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Bonampak
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 10:01:56 PM
Reply

Maybe if I watch the trilogy on Blu Ray I could get all hyped up to play this game.

Because I'm pretty neutral about it, presently.

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BikerSaint
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 10:02:58 PM
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This is one of the few where I've split from most of the movie vs game crowd.

I loved the movie trilogy, but hated the game trilogy.

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kraygen
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 10:08:56 PM

I am with the wicked doggie on this one.

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kraygen
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 10:08:25 PM
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I love rpgs, action, strategy, hack n slash, I love them, fantasy always being my favorite.

The thing is, I have yet to play a lotr that was more than mediocre at best. Most are absolutely terrible in every way and even the best are just meh.

I would love to say, "oh this could be good," but it doesn't look like it. It looks to have the same shoddy production value as all the other lotr games and I highly doubt this will fair much better than its predecessors.

I look forward to reading the reviews, if it isn't terrible I'll play it eventually when I can get it uber cheap and play it during a dry spell, but I'm guessing it'll average a score around 6-7. Sad since lotr has the world to make a great rpg, but instead you get devs just pumping crap out to capitalize on the lotr name.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 10:37:57 PM
Reply

Love LOTR, looking forward to the new movies, not looking forward to this game at all. For some reason it just can't be made into a good game. (Ahem, bad developers)

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Nickjcal
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 11:09:37 PM

battle for middle earth 2 wasn't bad at all? I personally liked the return of the king game the best. Boy am I starting to miss the games that actually amazed me. Now it's all the same. Atleast until Infamous 2 and Uncharted 3 come out. And the bajillion other exclusives

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Geobaldi
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 11:59:05 PM

Battle for Middle Earth 2 was a pretty good RTS. The expansion was meh but still, one of the better RTS's at that time. Lord of the Rings Online is really good too, but it was better before it went free to play. I always wondered how the old Atari 2600 game would've turned out though. Too bad it was canceled, but I would like to try the prototype that was revealed years ago.

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Riku994
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 11:20:29 PM
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I liked some of the games, but after Conquest I dunno if this'll be overly great. It sounds like a winning formula though.

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Geobaldi
Monday, March 14, 2011 @ 11:52:41 PM
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Plus this game will have an "M" rating, so it should be more brutal than the BG and CoN games. Sure would love to see another Norrath game though I've never been a fan of Everquest.

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 1:44:41 AM
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Love the novel. Actually, love the whole world of Middle Earth. Just a fantastic chronology. Tolkien truly was a masster of high fantasy. And this sounds decent, but not really a part of the core series. For some reason, I just can't get into anything LotR related that doesn't come from either Tolkien or his son, including the movies (as good as they were). Still, I'll remember to keep an eye on this one, and if it turns out well, I'll definitely pick it up.
Peace.

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___________
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 3:01:54 AM
Reply

as much as id love this, i just cant stand to see one of my favorite movies raped again!
LOTR 2 game was actually really good, played it for months on end!
3 though, and well arragons quest were steaming piles!

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GuyverLT
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 11:45:48 AM
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I actually thought the movie-games they did were among the few handful that don't totally suck.

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sirbob6
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 2:39:09 PM
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I think the fact that this is the first M rated LOTR game out there has me sold. I want to see glorious blood sprays when I decap some ork.

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Lairfan
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 @ 6:17:53 PM
Reply

Gameplay looks okay so far, but the textures don't look good at all, and I don't like how if one person in your party dies you automatically fail. Hopefully this is a buy (I've been dying to have a dev deliver an LotR game worth buying), but it looks too much like a rental right now IMO.

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