Lord of the Rings: War in the North - Mania.com



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Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Lord of the Rings title enters Level Up.

By Tim Janson     November 18, 2011

 Well Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 has taken the gaming world by storm and setting call kind of sales records as you can read about below…all that and it may not even be the best game that came out LAST week.   Let me tell you I am neck deep in Skyrim and it is simply amazing. I mean I’m enthralled just by finding the ingredients to sneak into a farmer’s house and cook myself up a nice stew or soup. How long will it take me to finish this game? I have no clue…I feel like after some 30 hours I’ve barely even scratched the surface. Well at any rate…next week’s Thanksgiving edition of Level Up will feature reviews of both Skyrim and Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 3 so be sure to visit Mania once you’ve polished off your turkey and watched the Lions beat the Packers…Ok that last part might be wishful thinking but as a long suffering Lions fans I’m just happy that they have a winning record halfway through the season!

 
IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK!
 
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sets new 5 day sales record
 
Activision announced that  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has shattered theatrical box office, book and video game sales records for five-day worldwide sell-through in dollars.  The game established an all-new five-day worldwide sell-through record of more than $775 million, exceeding the record of $650 million set a year ago by Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops and$550 million two years ago for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare® 2, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information. 
 
"With $775 million of sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in its first five days, Call of Duty has become the first entertainment property in history to set five-day launch records for three consecutive years across all forms of entertainment," said Robert Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard.  "Life-to-date retail sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded $6 billion worldwide, which makes Call of Duty one of the most valuable entertainment properties in the world.  We expect continued sales momentum, as reviews and audience enthusiasm suggest that this is the best Call of Duty game that we have ever made.  Online play for Modern Warfare 3is at record levels and we continue to see high online play for both Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which ranked as the #2 and #4 top-played Xbox LIVE games for the week of November 7."
Spike TV Video Game Awards to debut new Transformers trailer
 
The latest Transformers game, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, will be world-premiering its highly-anticipated, first full reveal trailer at the Spike TV Video Game Awards show on December 10th, 2011. Be sure to tune in!
 
Assassin's Creed Revelations "Ancestors" Downloadable Content Announcement
 
Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed Revelations will feature downloadable content following the game release, starting with The Ancestors Character Pack on December 13. The first new downloadable content features four new multiplayer characters: the swashbuckling Privateer, the devious siren Corsair, the battle-tested Brigand and the bloodthirsty Gladiator. Each character is personalized with unique taunts, weapons and stylized assassination moves.
 
The Ancestors Character Pack will be available for download December 13 for $3.99 on the PlayStation Network and 320 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live.
The first two downloadable content packs are available for pre-order today.
 
Assassin’s Creed Revelations marks the peak of the epic journey of master assassin Ezio Auditore in the age-old war between Assassins and Templars. Assassin’s Creed Revelations is an action-adventure game that blends thrilling combat, stunning hyper-realistic graphics and a gripping tale of intrigue and self-discovery.
 
Sony and THQ announce additional content for Saints Row: The Third
 
THQ and Sony are proud to unveil additional content for Saints Row: The Third owners on PS3.   For all players that purchase Saints Row: The Third on PlayStation 3 and redeem their online pass codes within the next 90 days, they will receive a digital copy of Saints Row 2 (a $19.99 value)… absolutely free!
 
Go back to a simpler time, when the Saints were vying for control of Stilwater, before they were global icons, a household name, and a criminal empire. Before Professor Genki and the Syndicate, there were the Westside Rollers and the Brotherhood. Enjoy classic Saints Row activities like Septic Avenger, where you spray new homes with sewage in order to devalue property. And of course, enjoy a number of DLC packs brought to you by Volitions’ favorite Saints Row 2 producer, Tera Patrick.
 
Saints Row 2 will be available starting early next week for free, for all players who redeem their online pass in each new copy of Saints Row: The Third. The offer expires on midnight on February 13, 2012, so be sure to redeem your online pass before then, and for those of you who have already done so, keep an eye out early next week for the content. This offer applies to the United States, Canada, and Mexico only.
 
 
 
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
 
WWE 12  (THQ)  Rated T  Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
 
The popular WWE franchise returns in an exciting new edition with WWE '12. The new Predatory Technology gameplay system will have your knees shaking as you feel like you're truly in the ring with the most fluid, dynamic, realistic and action-packed WWE simulation to date. Enjoy new and improved gaming features, including the Breaking Point submission system, new attributes, control layout, momentum and stamina. WWE Universe Mode 2.0 introduces new elements of unpredictability based on player decisions to keep gameplay fresh and authentic. Watch your favorite stars and see their amazing moves in stunning display with dynamic visual changes, including new animations, camera positions, lighting and improved rendering. Create the ultimate personalized WWE experience by developing and customizing your own Superstar, entrances, finishing moves, storylines, Highlight Reels and more. Explore the Road to WrestleMania mode and get captivated by the suspense of new storylines. With an impressive roster of WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends, you'll be able to choose from your favorites, including Randy Orton, John Cena, The Miz and the debuting Alberto Del Rio. Forget what you thought you knew and get ready for a WWE experience like no other.
 

 
 
King of Fighters XIII  (Atlus) Rated T  PS3, Xbox 360
 
After recent incidents, involving such characters as Ash Crimson, Iori Yagami, and Kyo Kusanagi, it was feared that the next King of Fighters tournament would never happen. However, thanks to worldwide-sent invitations to fighters and an unheard-of amount of promotion by a mysterious party (led by a figure known as "R"), the new mixed-martial arts tournament is now on the world stage with mass-media coverage like never before.
 
With a roster featuring over 30 hand-drawn fighters, a number of detailed stages bursting with life, over a half dozen play modes, a refined fighting engine built for speed and complete with new moves and supers, a vastly improved Online mode, and a host of other additions, tweaks, and enhancements, THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIII represents a rebirth for one of gaming's longest tenured franchises and one of the most popular fighting brands ever.
 

 
 
Tekken Hybrid (Namco) Rated T  PS3
 
Tekken Hybrid is a 3-in-1 package that combines both a full-length movie and interactive gaming content into the definitive Tekken entertainment bundle for the PlayStation®3 system!
 
Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D: Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D is a brand new, full-length 3D compatible CG feature film produced by Digital Frontier in collaboration with the Tekken Project Team. Mishima Zaibatsu and its rival organization G Corp. are searching for the mysterious M gene and all clues tie to a school student named Shin Kamiya.
 
Tekken Tag Tournament HD: Tekken Tag Tournament HD is a full high-definition version of the original Tekken Tag Tournament from the PlayStation®2 system. Every mode and feature is intact including the fan-favorite Tekken Bowl all enhanced with high-definition graphics and sound.
 
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue: Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue is a new stand-alone fighting game vignette in Tekken’s classic “Tag Tournament” style. Prologue is an early look at the long-awaited sequel to the original arcade and PS2 favorite, long before Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is available anywhere else!
 

 
 
Carnival Games: Wild West 3D (2K Play)  Rated E  3DS
 
Carnival Games: Wild West 3D is a handheld Arcade game experience for Nintendo 3DS. The first release in the Carnival Games franchise to be released for the 3DS, Carnival Games: Wild West 3D brings the family-friendly fun that has made it popular across multiple platforms to the 3DS. Features include: a wide range of western themed arcade games, in-game sidekicks, adjustable 3D graphics and motion-sensing camera and wireless features specific to the 3DS.
 
Howdy partner. It's time to switch on your swagger and step right up to Carnival Games: Wild West 3D. You're in for a rootin' tootin' good time as 25 Wild West games and attractions, built from the ground up for the Nintendo 3DS, come to life in eye poppin' 3D and take full advantage of its motion sensor and gyro sensor system capabilities. Players also will enjoy a range of game features made possible by the Nintendo 3DS' advanced features including: the ability to wirelessly collect in-game currency from other players using StreetPass functionality, digital camera features and more.
 
REVIEWS
 
Lord of the Rings: War in the North (Warner Bros) Rated M  PS3
 
Lord of the Rings: War in the North comes at gamers from the angle that there was much more going on in Middle Earth than what we read in the books or saw in the films.  There were other battles…other heroes fighting for the fate of Middle Earth.  LOTR: WITN tells the story of these other heroes.  The game is a hack-n-slash RPG with elements of Mass Effect style dialog/decision wheels that can effect the direction of your character.  As the title suggest this conflict takes place in the Northern lands of Middle Earth, far from the bug of activity of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor.
 
Andriel, a Loremaster of Rivendell, taught by Elrond; Eradan a human ranger; and Farin, a Dwarven champion of Erebor, are thrown together by war and join forces.  You control one of the trio while the other two can be either controlled by the AI, or other players in co-op mode.  You are able to issue commands to the AI-controlled characters if playing solo.  Each has their unique abilities.  Eradan is adept at many weapons including the bow and has stealth skills; Andriel can use offensive and defensive spells and create potions; Farin has the most powerful melee attacks and can mine for gems and is adept at finding hidden treasure.  All of the characters have a light and heavy attack.  Once an enemy is hurt you can then perform a critical hit which includes a level of blood and gore not generally associated with a LOTRs type game. 
 
You can complete the game solo but it’s not as fun as co-op with a couple of friends.  To start with, the AI just is not that good.  You’ll often find your character having to babysit the other AI-controlled characters, helping them fight or healing them because they tend to wander and become less than helpful, especially later in the game.  In terms of the AI, Mass Effect this is NOT!  This tends to hinder what is otherwise a fun quest.  Reviving said character can be a pain because the enemy will ignore the injured character and concentrate their attacks on you as you try to bring them back to full health.  The frustration mounts as you are killed and are forced to replay…and replay large sections as you are unable to save at will as you can in Skyrim for example.  This is perhaps my biggest pet peeve about games like this.  It’s a cheap means to extend the length of a game…
 
The typical skill/ability tree is present that allows each of the characters to level up and gain new attacks, defenses, and skills.  Eradan can be come a true death-dealing Ranger once he gains the ability to wield duel swords.  Andriel can conjure up a healing sanctuary.  You’re also able to summon aid in the form of Beleram -- a giant eagle.  The game is also loaded with all manner of loot including scores of weapons that improve your attacks.  The multitude of treasure is one of the great attractions of LOTR: WITN. 
 
The game is quite impressive visually and its setting seems torn right from the pages of the books.  New settings intermingle with well-known settings you get to visit such as Bree and Rivendell and you can even interact with some of the more well-known characters from the trilogy.  Yet for as vibrant as they look, these locations are sparsely populated which makes them feel hauntingly lifeless.  The characters you do meet can help provide some additional details on your goals but these too are bland.  Despite Middle-Earths impressive array of characters, races, and monsters, there’s not much diversity in the enemies you face.  Wave after wave of the same foes makes the game too repetitive.
 
While it’s not the home run we might have hoped for from a new Lord of the Rings based game, Lord of the Rings: War in the North offers a good deal of action and tons of loot to find but cardboard characters and repetitious game play keeps it from a higher grade.  Grade B-
 

 
 
House of the Dead Overkill: Extended Cut (Sega) Rated M PS3
 
Originally appearing on the Nintendo Wii system a couple of years ago, House of the Dead overkill makes its HD debut on the PS3 with a revamped extended cut edition.  The PS3 is much more conducive to handling the game than the less powerful Wii and it shows.  The Extended cut has 3D capability if you have a 3D TV.  It also features two new levels, new monsters and bosses, a new character, and new weapons.  The stuttering frame rate issues of the Wii are a thing of the past when playing on the PS3.
 
The story is the same as the Wii version as Special Agent G and Veteran cop Isaac Washington are investigating trouble down in New Orleans and are on the trail of a local crime boss named Papa Caesar.  That’s where the fun, i.e., blowing away zombies and monsters begin.  Honestly this rail-shooter series has never been high on plot and frankly its never been necessary.  House of the Dead is a throwback to mindless videogame shooters of the past where you just point your character in the right direction and let him go. 
 
HOTD: Extended Cut is Grindhouse entertainment at its finest...f-bomb dropping cops, slimeball crime lords, stripper…the game has everything that made those cheap drive-in films of the 1970s so popular.  You can play the game with your standard PS3 controller but I highly recommend using the Move and Sharpshooter gun.  It just feels better and is more accurate than the regular controller.  You make your way through the levels blasting grotesque, rotting zombies and other enemies into heaps of gore…and I do mean heaps!  The game is hardly shy when it comes to buckets of blood spouting all over the place.  You’ll also need to helpless civilians and accumulate power-ups you find along your path.  As you play you can build up combos for hitting targets without missing to jump your score.  You can compete for high scores against a friend in co-op mode.  You can also compete against players in the online community and track your scores on the leaderboards.
 
HOTD: Extended Cut isn’t a difficult game by any means.  In fact the light difficulty combined with the relatively short play through of 4 – 6 hours might go down as one of the game’s negative points were it not so much fun.  The new levels, including a shootout in a strip club against some mutated strippers adds to the game’s over-the-top style.  The HD graphics are superior to the Wii version naturally but they don’t knock your socks off.  The blood effects are great those and you almost feel like you need to squeegee yourself off when you’re done playing. 
 
There’s enough new in the extended cut in both content and superior play and graphics to make this a worth while buy even if you already played the Wii Version.  Grade B

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
hanso 11/18/2011 10:44:30 AM

 Nice, I'll be getting Saints Row 2 for free then.

goldeneyez 11/18/2011 12:35:01 PM

Anybody else playing Skyrim?

hanso 11/18/2011 1:34:35 PM

 I played only the beginning, like the first 15 mins.  Since it's the longest game I'll leave it for last.  I'm beating Uncharted 3, Rayman Origins and Saints Row The Third first then I'll move to Skyrim.  All this while mixing some Gears of War 3 and Modern Warfare 3 online of course :)

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