So much squandered potential
This game is just straight-up busted! There really is no other way of saying it, the game is broken. You tell me a reason why here in 2012 there is an action game that does not have an enemy lock-on feature for its combat system? There is no reason for that. This single flaw unravels any aspirations this game might have had at being worth anything. However, even with this crippling blow, I have managed to trudge through the campaign to bring you the good, the bad, and the dreadful in this reflection on SnowBlind's The Lord of the Rings: War in the North.
Now that might have come across a bit harsh and I apologize for that, but being a fan of the world Tolkien has created, I can't help but weep at the way this game has squandered away all of the potential this game had. But even if you look over the jacked combat system there are other flaws that just kill your experience and that spell doom for this title.
You don't have to go very far into the game to notice its other shortcomings. The sound design has a lovely musical score, but the rest is just busted. There are moments when stuff is just way louder than it should be and even parts where the sound gets stuck and just loops until you leave the area. That is pretty much how the visuals are as well. Though it has some good moments where it looks actually great, it also has some moments where it looks down right awful. Middling marks all around it seems.
But as stated before, the worst offender is the combat system. What's worse, it could have been a good system, it it had an enemy lock-on mechanic. It is a simple light/heavy attack system that has some great dismembering of orcs and other baddies in it. When you can perform these great final blows it is incredibly satisfying. But since it doesn't have that targeting system, you spend way too much time adjusting your camera to keep your enemy in front of you to enjoy it.
The second biggest issue I take with this game is that you have a party of three but you can't switch between them on the fly. I understand this game was developed from the ground up to be played online with two other people. A real honest to goodness new fellowship of the ring. But when you don't play online with people, I would even challenge you would have trouble finding people to play with, you are stuck with your choice. You can switch at certain points during the game, but you have no control of your other characters. Not that I really want to control them, I just want to equip their stuff and perhaps have them hold extra crap loot for me. Is that too much to ask?
But even for a mediocre game such as this, there is still an audience for it. It is true that it is not the Lord of the Rings game that you wanted. Not by a long shot. But it does pluck at the strings of such a game and there are actually moments where the game is pretty cool. Perhaps if SnowBlind has spent another year or two on the game, they could have realized the true scope of what they could offer. Instead this game just feels like it is missing a few things. It is worth a play through if you are a true fan of the source material and have read this far in the review and are not deterred. Other then that it is a pass.