As a Lord of the Rings fan, I pretty much assumed that most games would be movie spin off rubbish or past it's prime MMO games. So, I was a little hesitant about picking up LOTR: War in the North. After spending a solid night playing the game, the following are my initial impressions on the game.
For starters, the game is mature in nature, which is awesome. You hack and slash enemies arms off their bodies and blood is spilling everywhere. You can turn this off, but in a universe that this rarely occurs in, I love it. This isn't a movie rehash where everything is toned down to get a certain rating, you'll see blood in your travels, and that's a good thing in a world that is certainly violent by design.
At the onset of the game, you'll be tasked with picking one of three characters. A human Ranger, Elf caster, and a dwarf axe wielder. Each class is similar in that they can do melee and range but they all have their own specialties. I chose to go with the ranger. While the game gives you a default look for your character, you can change it early in the game when you are in Bree. I really liked this addition to the game since you can make the character your own. My ranger has jet black hair and a square jaw. Kind of reminds me Madmartigan from Willow (props if you remember that classic movie.)
The gameplay in War in the North is typical hack and slash. On medium difficulty, enemies take a good deal to bring down early in the game but after each level you will be putting points into stats that will help you bring down enemies faster (or to complement whatever play style you have.) The gameplay is indeed fun but by the end of the night I was getting a little tired of it. There wasn't much in the way of variety to change things up. But, I'm still very early in the game and this shouldn't be a huge criticism against it since the world is still being fleshed out and the characters introduced.
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you'll really enjoy this game. Being able to play as someone besides the main characters from the books/movies is a welcome way to enjoy the universe and you'll see things happening in the world from a different perspective. New enemies I've never heard of pop up and all are involved in the story we all know and love in same way. If you aren't too hot on the LOTR series though, your mileage may vary with this game. Hack and slash fans will enjoy it but there are certainly better games out there to play. Being a fan of LOTR gives the game the extra "oomph" needed to push the player along in the world.
So, final though - Lord of the Rings: War in the North really good game that can get tiring if you aren't a LOTR fan. Hack and Slash fans will enjoy the game, but their mileage will vary depending on interest in this beloved series.