A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This game is about battling to save a region of Middle-Earth. But while the reasons behind the fighting are noble, the fracases tend to glorify brutal, medieval-style melee combat.
Positive Role Models
The game's heroes are just that; noble, selfless characters whose ambition is to do good and save others. And while they are warriors who clearly enjoy and thrive in battle, they also engage in quests that involve no swords or axes, such as one that sees them simply helping a young man woo his beloved.
Ease of Play
The battles can be challenging, but level design is linear, which means it's tough to get lost. The controls are simple and straightforward. So, too, are the character management menus, which are surprisingly easy to navigate for a role-playing game.
Violence & Scariness
Players use magic, bladed weapons, and bows and arrows to kill countless fantastical creatures -- including humanoid Orcs -- in gory first person combat. Dark blood sprays from enemy bodies with each strike, and they flail and grunt as they take damage before finally falling to the ground and slowly disappearing.
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Products & Purchases
This game is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings books. It also features characters modeled after those in the popular films, including Gandalf and Aragorn.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.