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July 5 2011
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
16/11/2011WB GamesWB InteractiveSnowblind Studios
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Graphically War in the North impresses.
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This massive bird is actually a friend!

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War in the North has Dwarfs!
The Lord of the Rings: War In The North is a title which many gamers will be keen to check out. When the trilogy of films was released in cinemas Electronic Arts released several hack and slash titles which were well received, but didn't really have the depth of gameplay or storytelling that the franchise allowed for. There have been other games as well, including an impressive MMORPG on the PC from Turbine Inc, but this title has the potential to sit atop the pile as the best game based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy world.

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Battles look set to be pretty intense.
The first thing that should be noted about this game is the developer, Snowblind Studios. While they have been quiet of late, the company had a string of hits on the Playstation 2 with Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (2001), Champions of Norrath (2004) and Champions: Return to Arms (2005). If anything this shows the developers pedigree in developing strong action RPG's and it bodes well for this latest game which was announced by Warner Brothers Interactive in March 2010.

While this game is a seperate story to the books and movie, the unique storyline here often intersects with those materials. At various points in the game you will come across characters made familiar in the books and films including Aragorn, Gandalf and Elrond among others. The developers have also been pointing out that this will be the first "mature" video game in the franchise and from the footage that has been displayed there's plenty of blood and body parts flying around the levels.

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War in the North is due in late 2011.
War in the North is very much built around co-op with the choice of three characters in the game including Farren who's a dwarf, Andriel who's an elf and Erindan who's a ranger. The three characters must work together to defeat Agandow, who is building armies to conquer Middle Earth. It's possible to fully customise your characters too from their look, but also their skillsets and unique abilities.

Impressively while you can play this game by youself the computer will control the two other characters. Alternatively you can play with a split-screen mode, or online. The developers are promising a game at least 10 hours in length, and much more if you explore all the side areas while multiple playthroughs will open up new options and difficulty levels.

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Taking on a swarm of Orcs...
Graphically this game is looking pretty slick and certainly captures the look and feel of the LOTR universe. Creatures - from human to orc - look faithful to what was described in the books, and what has been seen in the feature films (although this game isn't linked to the films artistically).

With The Hobbit due out in cinemas in late 2012 and 2013 the release of this game this year is sure to cash in on the increasingly feverish fan base. Fortunately it appears that Snowblind have got all the right pieces in place for a very special title indeed. Expect a release in late 2011 with November 16 now being the date being targeted.