A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a violent and gory action/role-playing game based on lesser known events referenced in J.R.R. Tolkien’s popular books. Players play the role of a hero fighting Orcs and other fantasy creatures with blades, bows, and magic, with inky blood gushing with nearly every hit. While the game centers on glorified and brutal combat, it provides non-violent role-playing activities as well, many of which involve doing good deeds for civilians. Parents should note that this game supports online play with open voice communication, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for pre-teens.
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What's it about?
Set concurrently but away from the more famous events featured in The Lord of the Rings films, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: WAR IN THE NORTH begins with Aragorn counseling a ranger, an elf, and a dwarf on how to fight Sauron’s growing forces in the northern lands. Players take control of one of these three characters in this action-laden role-playing game, growing their skills and upgrading their armor as they undertake dangerous, Orc-filled missions through ruined cities and scenic country. They can also chat with civilians to undertake small side missions, like helping to arm a small village worried that they may be attacked by dark forces, and hook up with other players to adventure cooperatively, either in the same room or online.
Is it any good?
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North is a moderately fun adventure that explores events assumed to be taking place in the background of Peter Jackson’s films’ narrative. It offers several side missions as well as a conversation system reminiscent of those found in more complicated role-playing games, but maintains a linear narrative and level design. This may disappoint fans looking for a deeper RPG, but it keeps the experience straightforward and accessible for casual players.
The bloody, visceral combat is fairly simple as well, and should have most players feeling like battlefield champions midway through their first quest. Longer fighting sequences can begin to feel repetitive, but the animations and character choreography remains, for the most part, interesting. It’s not the sort of epic, nearly endless fantasy RPG experience found in, say, an Elder Scrolls game, but casual gamers who count themselves fans of the Lord of the Rings franchise will have some fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. What markers do you look for to determine whether a game is too violent for your kids? Do your kids understand why violent games may be inappropriate for their age?
Families can also discuss online safety. What should you watch out for when playing online? What would you do if you encountered someone who was rude or, worse, seemed potentially dangerous?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love games full of fast action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.