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10-30-2011, 04:41 PM #1
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North ||| Game Preview
We've seen games individually based on the Lord of the Rings films and books, but we haven't seen a game that encompassed nearly all major media birthed from Tolkien's fantasy universe until now. Warner Bros. and Snowblind Studios have license to use both the films and the books in their upcoming action role-playing game Lord of the Rings: War in the North. While this ostensibly lets the development team at Snowblind borrow visual elements from the films and stay closer to the lore of the books, their relationship with the fantasy universe created by Tolkien even goes deeper. The Tolkien estate is working in conjunction with the development team on the new story, overseeing details to ensure that it fits in within the rest of the Lord of the Rings canon.
War in the North occurs around the same time as the War of the Ring in which Frodo and Sam make their way to Mordor as the rest of Middle-earth fends off Sauron. And much like that story, War in the North focuses on the fellowship of a dunedain (ranger), dwarf, and elf attempting to fend off Sauron's armies in the north headed by one of Sauron's top lieutenants, Agandaur. Using this fellowship as the foundation for gameplay means that you're never alone. You always have direct control over one member of the fellowship whether you're playing alone or with two other people. But if you are playing solo, then the AI will take over the other members. Additionally, if you're playing as the dwarf but feel like switching to the ranger, you'll have opportunities to switch at various hub areas.
The reason you might want to switch, and the reason why you're always playing with two other characters at any given time, is that members of the team have their own strengths and skills that are designed to work more effectively when used in conjunction with each other. For example, Farin the dwarf is the tank of the group, which means he's most effective when engaged in melee combat. In fact, one of his special abilities, called war cry, is even designed to draw enemies toward him and away from his teammates who might have a harder time standing toe-to-toe with more powerful foes. This war cry skill also makes him impervious to knockdown strikes, but he can still take damage, and you would do well to use evasive moves while in this state. Meanwhile, Eradan the ranger is formidable at both close and long range, but he has the ability to surprise enemies with his special stealth skills. Finally, Andriel the elf can be used primarily as a support-ranged character because one of her skills lets her cast an orb that simultaneously heals other members of the fellowship and deflects enemy projectiles. However, she can also dual-wield various weapons, which can make her effective in close combat.