The Lord Of The Rings: War In The North review
War In The North must feel like Joey Travolta or Dedee Pfeiffer at a film premiere. Because releasing around the same time as the biggest fantasy RPG ever, this is definitely not the one that everyone’s paying to see. And it turns out that’s for good reason, as this Dragon Age-wannabe bears about as much resemblance to its literary or cinematic sources – in both content and quality – as I do to Janet Jackson.
It’s essentially a third-person hack ’n’ slash with an RPG film laid over the top. There are three characters to choose from, and guessing their specialities is about as difficult as The Sun’s quick crossword. Melee-focused dwarf? Check. Magic-proponent elf? Damn right. And if your final answer is a long-range archer then you win this month’s top prize: generic, repetitive gameplay! They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but a game by its title screen is a different matter – and this was doomed right from the off.
Each plays out exactly as you’d expect, with light and heavy melee attacks doing varying amounts of numerical damage to waves of enemies that are irritatingly large and take too long to die. You can also fire arrows, of which you’ll quickly run out, or use spells – possibly the most satisfying, but equally problematic when you run out of casting points and have a measly staff as backup.
The RPG elements are half-arsed, with five categories that you can assign points to when you level up and a painfully generic skill tree. As for the story? It basically goes like this: ‘remember all the stuff from those films and books you love so much? Here’s some other really crucial stuff that happened at the same time… only it wasn’t important enough for anyone to mention during those 1,500 pages.’ Just make your Skyrim character look a bit like Aragorn. Job done.