The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a co-op action RPG game that brings you a new side chapter during the War of the Ring.
While The Fellowship is on its way to destroy the One Ring, your party is tasked with stopping one of Sauron’s generals from launching a conquest of the North. There is the dwarf champion Farin, the human ranger Eradan and the elven lore keeper Andriel. You can switch between these characters during your play, and any not controlled by a player will be controlled by the AI. Sometimes they get in the way but you work around that. Thankfully, Snowblind Studios did include Xbox controller support.
Each character has stats and skills which increase during game play. Strength relates to melee damage, Dexterity to ranged damage, Stamina to hit points and Will to magic points. There’s a different skill tree for each character, further refining specific abilities however you choose. I like it because it is straight forward and simple, and if you don’t like your stats or skills you can buy a respec token to try something else. Nice.
You can find or buy various pieces of equipment in The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, some magical or set pieces with bonus properties. These special items are fairly rare, giving an importance to finding a powerful new weapon and not just a loot drop type of game. Combat isn’t too complicated either. Left mouse button for a light attack, right mouse button for a heavy attack. Ctrl to block. Space bar to dodge. Your skill tree might add up to three more special abilities, which are used with the 1-3 keys and with a cooldown for each.
The game itself is linear and plays just like a book, which each chapter leading to the next with no deviation. Well, you can replay a chapter, but there’s no open world type concept. You enter a location, kill the baddies, loot everything you can, search for secret locations and then move on to the next part. If you like story driven games, a single play through should be about 12 hours on normal from start to finish. After you finish one play through, you’ll be able to unlock the next level of difficulty and start again with the same levels and skills you’ve already earned. So… hooray?
This PC games adds some depth if you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings, but if not then it’s rather a short RPG hack and slash. There are some game play issues, such as dodging is always preferable to blocking, making the skills that enhance blocking a waste of points. You can tell I’m kinda meh on this game, even though I’m a big fan of the series. That’s why this video game review has taken me so long to write – I’m trying not to be too negative. It’s an okay game if you get it on a firesale and worthy of at least a play through.