slither_maggot's The Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Xbox 360) review

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Lore and Slash

I can honestly say I was surprised with this title. Granted it had been on my radar since it's release I was honestly expecting to be an enormous crap chute but I was surprised with what this game did have as far as content goes. The graphics are pretty glossy and are pretty well done. The framerate both in and out of combat are pretty smooth and roll well from one instance to the next. The enemies and locations are very nice and I noticed myself standing in spots and just rotating the camera around to get a better look at the environments. My two big gripes with the game were the sometimes hit-and-miss hit detection in combat or when destroying objects. You swing once or twice and the the hits just don't land.

The other gripe I have is the level-scaling when it comes to enemies. Toward the beginning of the game (as would be expected) the enemies are pretty easy to get to reach critical or just take down but as you advance much past the second chapter the enemies seem to become drastically stronger. It's not a huge deal to have to do a few tuck and rolls and run back to take an enemy down it just seems a little ridiculous having to do it as often as you do. The evil men in the final few chapters seems to take tons of damage and even when using two weapons take quite a few hits to even get to a first critical hit chance. Now don't take it that these two things destroy the "enjoyability" of the game. Fighting trolls and Uruk's is actually fun having to do some bobbing and weaving and engage them carefully. Shooting them from a distance and drawing them into a trap with the other members of your party is actually very satisfying when you can pull it off. There's a lot of loot to be found around the landscapes, most of which you'll end up selling but the few good pieces you find make it fun and the secret locations (like Ranger caches and weak walls with dwarf) discoverable with certain classes make them fun when you find them. The slow mo camera critical kills; watching a limb fly off an enemy is yet another deeply satisfying experience as well.

The sound effects and music add a great deal to the game and give the game more charm. The rolling drums when you run into a troll or a tougher group of enemies heightens the scenario and draws you in if you're actually paying attention to it. The boss fights are fun without being overly challenging and some good loot is to be found from them as well. As a fan of Tolkien's books (not simply Lord of the Rings) one of the game's shining gems is it's dive into the lore of Midde Earth. For anyone not very familiar with the some of the backstory of the world this game gives players a deeper look into locations, peoples, and legends of Middle Earth which is something anyone looking for a good RPG would be into. All in all, for what it is War In the North is one of the better Tolkien games that has been released in recent years by quite a bit in my opinion.

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