|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Snowblind Studios|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Release: November 1, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence|
And though many of the landscapes look great—seeing the Barrow-Downs for the first time is incredible, as is descending into the orc-infested halls of Mount Gundabad—there are visual glitches everywhere, pretty much killing the experience. I played the PS3 version of the game and experienced several places where the animations got choppy to the point that it felt like I was playing a PC game on an incredibly underpowered system. The worst offenders happened during outdoors scenes when it was snowing; perhaps the detailed snow, when coupled with the large quantity of orcs and trolls, was a bit too much of a strain on the PS3's processor.
Audio was a bit glitchy as well. There was one scene in particular where a sound of a chain on a pulley system got stuck in an infinite loop, increasing in volume until it drowned out everything else in the game. I had to restart the game in order to fix it (and give my poor ears a rest.) A similar thing happened with some warg howls later in the game; the audio got stuck on a loop and required a restart before the wargs would stop their obnoxious yowling.
War in the North had enormous amounts of potential with the Lord of the Rings license. The fact that it wasn't set to correspond with any film release meant that the development team had a little more leeway to stretch their legs and make a product superior in to any generic movie tie-in. However, it feels like the developers grinned like giddy schoolchildren after acquiring the license, then just couldn't think of anything at all to do with it. War in the North could have succeeded if it had a decent story, some interesting characters, a deep Diablo-esque loot system, epic boss battles, or even some decent enemy variety. It has not a single one of these things.
The game shares a launch month with two of the highest profile RPGs of this console generation (Skyrim and Skyward Sword), and is here only a month after The Lord of the Rings Online released a major expansion that took players to iconic Isengard. Considering the games it's contending with right now, War in the North doesn't even deserve to be on your radar.
CCC Editor / Contributing Writer