Tuesday, February 7, 2012

War in the MotherF@*$^ng North Yo!

Let me start by saying that this post was originally very different in tone when I first starting writing it about a week ago. But something strange happened - I finished War in the North and found that I wanted to play more. Then I finished the game a second time, and yet I still wanted more. So now with just over forty hours of play time and finishing the game with all three characters I will admit to having a very different attitude about War in the North.

Don't get me wrong, War in the North isn't great thanks to what I think are some not so great design choices and a terrible first impression, but in the end I enjoyed myself and wanted to play more which is all I could ask for in every game I play.

For those who don't know, War in the North is a hack 'n slash RPG from Snowblind Studios who made the popular Champions and Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance games back on the PS2. The story in War in the North coincides with the story of the Fellowship as they make their way to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. Player's choose to play either a man, an elf and a dwarf. Clearly party composition was inspired from the movies.

The problems I had with WitN early on had to do with the game's brutal difficulty on normal. You start off with no skills, no gear, and to make matters worse the game has a few flaws that compound the issue. Many skills have extremely slow animations, you're given the ability to block but then the game tosses tons of enemies whose attacks you can't block, the ranged fov takes time to get used to and will cause one to pull out their hair, enemy ranged damage is way too high, and the camera's terrible mouse acceleration can make large battles super hard. None of these these issues in and of themselves are not a big deal, but for your first time through the game it can be very off putting.

However, and this is a big however, there is quite a lot to like about WitN. The sound and art design are amazing. The voice acting is some of the best I've heard in a game, the soundtrack is very reminisent of the movie trilogy, the character models look great and the locations you go to are detailed and varied. WitN is no Rage or Crysis, but it does look pretty good. The combat does still suffer a bit from some of the issues I mentioned, but once you unlock skills and upgrade your equipment the combat can be a thing of beauty.

I raged a lot on WitN on twitter a few weeks ago, but I am glad I stuck with it, because it's actually quite a good game.


Blue Kae said...

I wondered since I kept seeing you playing it after your Twitter rage. I'm glad you ended up enjoying it, although it sounds like you had to be masochistic to get past the initial roughness.

Jayedub said...

It probably would have helped had I had known there was an easy difficulty setting. But I guess I'm a sucker for those hack n' slash rpg's.

Anjin said...

Like Blue, I'm glad you stuck it out. Too bad that there was a wall to climb before you got to the good stuff. Seems like a poor design decision.