War in the North currently holds a Metascore of 66 (PS3), 67 (Xbox 360) and 68 (PC). While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I think some of the reviews this game got are pretty unfair. This game gets trashed for very minor issues while many things it does right are ignored. Some critics just don't know how to play this game (more on that later) or they had no idea what to expect of it.
A simple visit to the Steam page of War in the North tells you all you need to know about this game. It's an action RPG, it's a co-op game and it's set in the northern part of Middle-Earth. Then why are so many people complaing that:
- this game is not an open-world RPG
- this game has no moral choices like Dragon Age
- the main characters don't have the same depth as the characters in Dragon Age or Mass Effect
Many comparisons made by critics and players are just off. Compare this game to Diablo, Titan Quest, Left 4 Dead and Borderlands but not to Skyrim, The Witcher 2 or Mass Effect. That's like trashing GTA IV because the driving is much better in Forza Motorsport.
Here are some quotes from various reviews to prove my point:
Wow. He actually complains that you can switch characters? How immersive were the main characters in Titan Quest, Diablo and Borderlands? I'd say that War in the North does a pretty good job. Sure, it's not Dragon Age, but that's not what it was meant to be.Originally Posted by Gamespy review
What did this reviewer expect? To cry when one of the main characters gets injured? Same as above, his expectations are off. A little bit of research would've prevented this.Originally Posted by IGN review
That's why it's a hack&slash game! Orcs and goblins are the common enemies in Lord of the Rings, what did he expect? That you would be fighting orcs with pink dresses, uruk-hai with guns and goblins with matrix-dodge abilities?Originally Posted by IGN review
Sigh. Clearly this guy has not played hack&slash games before or previous Snowblind titles. How hard is it to understand that this is a hack&slash co-op game set in the LotR universe? It has nothing to do with what he described. You can't even play as Aragorn.Originally Posted by CheatCC review
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse. So because this game doesn't follow the exact same idea as the books (focus on hope, war is bad etc.), it's a disservice? This game is full of references and lore, how can it be a disservice? It probably taught many people who only saw the movies a thing or two about the lore and The Hobbit, how can that be a bad thing? If anything, this game is full of fan service. This reviewer probably doesn't understand that this is a game and that's why it has violence.Originally Posted by CheatCC review
Now he confirmed that he's just stupid. You must be really bad if it takes you 2-3 minutes to take down one Orc. Even with bad equipment and without using any abilities, it never took me more than 1 minute to take down a normal orc/goblin. It's always 4 hits + crit, then another crit or 3-4 hits + crit again. As for the solo endeavor, what is he talking about? You play with three players all the time. Did he even play this game?Originally Posted by CheatCC review
Enemies get more health and you deal more damage. That's how every action RPG / hack&slash game works.
Maybe he is the same guy as above? He trashes this game because enemies become more powerful and use more abilities as you level up? Are you kidding me? And uninterruptable attacks.. he probably never heard of the block and dodge button.Originally Posted by GameInformer review
No indeed, the game would've been so much better if you could instantly revive each other and if all the enemies would stop attacking you for a while when you're busy reviving someone.Originally Posted by Gamespot review
So as you can see, many reviews are unfair. Unfortunately these reviews already did their damage and probably convinced a lot of people to get Skyrim/MW3/BF3 instead of War in the North.
I do agree with some of the criticism (bad checkpoints, scattered abilities in the skill trees, some overpowered abilities, some bugs) but there are so many things this game does right. The combat sets a new standard for hack&slash games. The soundtrack and sound effects are very well done. The graphics are really good. Co-op is challenging and a lot of fun.
This is by far the best Lord of the Rings game I've ever played. I think most people who are enjoying this game knew what to expect. If you expected something similar to previous Snowblind titles, LotR: Return of the King or simply a good hack&slash game (with co-op), then this game is worth at least a solid 8 in my opinion. However if you didn't do your research and expected something different, then surely this game will disappoint.
I wonder if these reviewers will also trash Skyrim because the combat in that game can't stand up to War in the North. Probably not .
To end this long thread: I think WitN is underrated. Wrong expectations, unfair comparisons and complaining about minor issues resulted in mediocre ratings. Honestly, when a reviewer is complaining that enemies attack you when you try to revive someone or that you can switch characters, then I can no longer take them seriously.