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Lord of the Rings : War in the North Hands On Preview

by on 03/14/2011

Snowblind is taking us back into the Lord of the Rings universe with their new game Lord of the Rings: War in the North. This game allows you to create your own fellowship of up to 3 players and participate into a co-op action RPG. Giving you the best elements of the classic hack-n-slash original Lord of the Rings games and blending them with the Baldur’s Gate Dark Alliance dungeon crawling. We were given the opportunity to play this on the show-floor and were placed in a snowy battle against an orc-filled army.

The gameplay was very straight forward, you use X to do a melee swing, Y to knock an enemy off balance, B to evade in all directions, and A to interact with chests, drops, etc. Then you could hold down LT and use your ranged attack, for example my dwarf had a crossbow it didn’t fire quickly but it was strong enough to damage my enemies before the combat became close range.

Besides the standard attacks you have three special attacks that you can use by holding down the RB. While you hold it down you were given real skills that were mapped to X,Y, and B. My dwarf was able to let out a war cry that irritated the enemy, do a straight axe chop down on an enemy, and do a tornado type swing as an AoE attack.

In addition to those skill attacks which you will be able to level up and change, you will also be able to hit enemies with the standard X attack until a Y appears above their head allowing you to do critical damage and having the opportunity to trigger an execution. This is where the game shows its gore and glory, the human character that Mike played was able to trigger an execution. As he was swinging away at an enemy he jumped towards him with dual daggers above his head and then slashed downward slicing off both of his arms.

We were told there are plenty of these and this seems like a feature that will have you and your friends talking about, and reminiscing on past memories of gore.

This isn’t just an action game, you have to remember it is also an RPG. You are your own hero, you are not Gandolf or Legolas, you have your own weapons and gear, so you must equip yourself to put yourself on the level of those legends.

Snowblind did not skimp on that feature. You will pick up gear from loot and treasure chests(everybody gets their own loot so no worry of people running around stealing) and you will equip yourself accordingly. Luckily Snowblind realized that you won’t always pick up loot that is for your class, meaning you might be better off giving it to a friend. They added an easy to use feature allowing you to hit Y on the inventory screen and choosing who to “gift” it to in your game. Also to put your worries aside everything you earn levels and gear will go back into your own game.

One other cool feature we really enjoyed in this game was how it encouraged a different kind of teamwork. Each class has the ability to see things that others may not be able to see. For example when we went into a cave my dwarf was able to see a marking on a rock that other players could not. I broke open the rock wall and discovered a loot chest for everyone.

There is no solid release date for the game as of yet, but it is set to come out this year and could definitely be a great pick up for a group of friends looking for a change from the standard FPS multiplayer experience.

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