First off, I would like to state that the purpose of this review is to deliver my unbiased opinion of WITN to all you guys (at least I'll try my best). In the recent past, I have often posted both positive and negative comments about WITN, mostly on other review threads. I now greatly regret doing so as they were often unfair and painted the game in a negative light. Pay no heed to these friends, the following is my opinion after I've actually put some thought into what I'm writing.
I will begin with the pros, then the cons, then the overall rating.
1.The combat-this is perhaps the most addicting melee combat I have ever played in any game. The fluid motion and finesse with which our heroes wield their arms, weather it's Farin with his great axe or Eradan and his Chuck Norris-level mastery of dual-wielding, the fights are incredibly fun to watch.
2.The storyline-I love the way that the GENERAL story flows into the LOTR storyline and how there are little to no awkward moments when you think to yourself "okay so what does this have to do with LOTR". Honestly, I think that these guys did a great job even tough Tolkien doesn't exactly give enough info on the northern war matter to fill Encyclopaedia Britannica.
3. Depth of detail-by this, I mean the cut-scenes (yeh, I finally found out what they're called) where there is some truly awesome voice acting, to the music and the atmosphere with which both the musicians and the animators did an outstanding job with (possibly the most evident at the barrow-downs and the Ettenmoors), this game truly makes you feel you're about to save Middle-Earth.
4. Multiplayer- this game allows for some fun multiplayer, with possibly the most exciting aspect being that you can truly use the characters differently and come up with some interesting combat tactics. In other words, the characters aren't generic and differ greatly from each other (in terms of combat).
5. Great enemy AI- I think the team did a nice job on making the enemy AI a fun adversary. What I like the most is that different baddies think differently, from the brute determination of trolls to the sneaky tactics employed by goblins. For me, this is actually one of the funnest things in the game.
6. A great online community- I suppose this isn't part of the game but the creation of a truly excellent online community not only honors Snowblind, but the members themselves!
1. The combat- I have listed what I like about the combat now I'll list what I don't. First and foremost, Andriel and her wacky Modern Warfare magic stick. "What's that Andriel? You got the .190 grain, bolt-action air-hawk. I'm still using my semi-automatic, Rivenndell-made orc bane." Honestly, this is a completely different "magic" from what Tolkien subtly suggests and honestly, I think it should have been left out entirely, with the exception of healing. Also, as awesome as the melee is, some prefer a more realistic combat experience such as used in the Elder Scrolls. For me, it honestly depends on what sort of day I'm having.
2. Story is often illogical- as well as the story flows into the main LOTR plot-line, you are sometimes left wondering "Was it really worth slaughtering some innocent orcs for a good 30 min when we could have just asked them if Agandaur was here." And honestly, what kind of psycho would go out of his way slaying rock giants (one of the most boring and drawn out fights in the game BTW) just because he/she doesn't have anything more productive to do. Then, when you finally think you've slain the bugger, he gets up...ONLY TO BE KILLED BY A GIANT EAGLE IN ROUGHLY 5 SECONDS! Kinda makes you wonder why we didn't do that in the first place. I'm not even gonna talk about Fornost cause it will cloud my judgement for the negative.
3. Bugs- while I didn't experience any serious bugs (he he he) I know that a whole lot of people have and therefore, it would only be fair to include this in the review. Add to that the patch was like a mirage of an oasis in the desert, and from what I read on the forum, didn't solve much at all. All the same, the well known phrase "no game launches smoothly" must be said in Snowblind's defense and I strongly encourage those new to the game not to be discouraged by this.
4. The loot and inventory system(s)- they completely suck, not much else to say here.
5. Not for the open-world gamer in your life- where WITN is concerned short and linear is the word. You keep bumping into invisible walls (they didn't bother to put some natural barriers...yeah I know...didn't bother) and you can't even stray a few meters from the beaten path. Add to that one of the most anti-climatic endings in gaming history and many will find themselves standing in line for Skyrim.
While this game is a fun and action-packed adventure in the heart of Tolkien's Legendarium, it has it's flaws and I think that only true Tolkien fans like myself will be able to look past these flaws and see a great game buried there. I for one think it could easily have done with another 2-3 months or so of development time and am therefore giving it a 6.5/10
I hope you enjoyed the review (or at least that it didn't piss you off) and if you have anything to add or wish to contradict me in some way then please feel free to do so.
Aron the Dwarf