Retro PC Review: Lord of the Rings War in the North!

A look back on what is now one of my favorite Lord of the Rings games.

A brave stand against the forces of Sauron

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So, my roommate and I recently rewatched the Hobbit movie, since he feel asleep in the theater when we went to see it. He was exhausted, the movie wasn’t bad! But to celebrate, I thought I would take LotR: War in the North for another spin. I made it about halfway through the game a while back, but got distracted with a billion other titles it went right into the backlog. Now that I’ve just finished it, I figured it deserved some kind of review.

Lord of the Rings: Review from the North (part of Arizona)

Well, let’s get it started with the good, since there is plenty of that to go around. The game looks pretty damn good on my PC. Textures look really well made, and when my character rolls around fighting a battle in the snow and is covered in the stuff I may have giggled like a prepubescent girl.

The combat is great too. Starting off it’s pretty hacky and slashy. Left click for normal attack, right click to strong attack/cripple/finishing move. But once you’ve got some levels under your belt you have all kinds of options. There are three playable characters, and I stuck with the Dwarven Champion most of the way through. Hearing him scream bloody oaths and dwarven battle cries while hacking through Orks and Uruk-Hai was about as satisfying as it got. And with the large amount of abilities available I was able to turn him into a beastly unkillable machine of death and destruction.

The three playable characters all have varied playstyles, even amongst themselves. The Human Ranger can be a long range damage dealer, a stalwart defender of his friends, or a merciless two handed sword wielding storm of steel. The Elven Loremaster offers a fun mix of melee and ranged as well. Using sword, stave, and magic to deal death and help her allies, she excels most in a support/ranged damage role. And Farin, the Dwarven champion previously mentioned has only one role. And the role is to be the Dwarfiest. I’d say he excels at it.

The Broest Dwarf there ever was.

Last but not least, the game is not only long but has loads of replayability.  Every playable character can find alternate paths through levels, and has different playstyles. Also, completing the game unlocks the next difficulty, and allows you to carry over your complete game save. New game plus isn’t seen too often anymore, and learning that I could tear things up with all my skills and gear made me a happy man indeed. And the campaign has an online multiplayer feature so you can play with your friends.

Time for the bad

There honestly isn’t much. The biggest complaints I have might seem kind of picky. Firstly most of the boss battles in the game were pretty easy. And while skills will help mix up combat considerably, it never really strays away from “lil’ button, big button” combat. A little more depth would have been awesome. And the Loremaster seems majorly underpowered through the course of the game, so she tends to be the least played by the community.

Final Notes

Honestly, this game is worth a buy in my eyes. I usually tend to recommend waiting for something to go on sale, but the game is already pretty cheap and worth every penny. Not to mention any Lord of the Rings game that has the best in game explanation to, “Why didn’t Frodo just ride the Eagles to mount doom and drop the ring into it?” automatically makes me impressed. I give it an eight out of ten easy, for being a solid game with a great story and tons of replay value.

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Retro PC Review: Lord of the Rings War in the North!
A look back on what is now one of my favorite Lord of the Rings games.

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Jeremy
A freelance crimefighter and player of VIDYA GAEMS, currently sweating like a pig in the Arizona desert.