The Lord of the Rings: War in the North Game Poster Image

The Lord of the Rings: War in the North



Simple fantasy RPG with frequent and bloody melee combat.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.

Not applicable
Not applicable

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.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.  

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.

Families can talk about...

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  • 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Warner Bros. Games
Release date:November 1, 2011
Genre:Role Playing
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:M for Violence and Gore

This review of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byHalo reach fan February 16, 2012

war in the goreth

good game but extremely violent not for kids over 9000!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byJellyfishJam38 November 30, 2012

Lord of the Rings goes Dragon Age, not for kids

Most of the LotR games have sucked, until Snowblind Studios made this game. This isn't really the best game in the world, but it doesn't suck, either. The dialogue can be weak, and the combat gets repetitive, but this won't leave you requesting a refund. Plus, I somewhat enjoy the new story and characters, but I do not really identify with them, as they're just not too developed. Let's just say, this is a thousand times better than the previous game, Conquest, and is ideal for someone new to hack-and-slash games. This is fairly easy-going, and you don't die too often, unlike games such as Halo or Dark Souls. However, there is one thing you will notice when you start fighting the goblins and orcs in this game: VIOLENCE: VERY STRONG. Don't walk into this game willy-nilly, thinking the violence will be like Conquest. This is more along the lines of Dragon Age in content, and should not be played by anyone under 14. I'll describe the violence for you. Heads fly off bodies, wounds splatter plumes of blood, goblins explode into bloody messes, leaving limbs behind, orcs get smashed in the stomach by hammers, spraying their entrails, and so on. This isn't like Skyrim, where decapitations and blood on walls only happen rarely, trust me, every second battle involves dismemberment. You can also zoom in to look at the freshly-eviscerated bodies. This is rated M for a reason. SEXUAL CONTENT: None. None at all. Maybe some references to love, but that's probably all there is. LANGUAGE: Extremely mild. Only name-calling, such as "scum", "filth" and "foul creature", which is heard in battles and cutscenes. SUBSTANCE USE: Extremely mild. At the beginning of the game, you are in a bar, and drinks are shown on tables. You cannot drink them, and none of the characters act intoxicated. Even though this is a good game, I would not recommend it to anyone younger than a teenager, due to the explicit, graphic violence.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Adult Written byprimeian January 1, 2012

1 thing....

I will say one thing and one thing only: Limbs DO NOT stop flying around the screen in slow motion.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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