So now we get down to the real question. What about the loot?! Like many an addicting RPG, the loot is what keeps players eager to down the next boss or find the next secret area. While some of the items are class-specific, a lot of the equipment can be used by all the characters. There’s also a pretty neat item-set mechanic present. Some items come flagged with a set name, which, as predicted, will give you special bonuses for each additional piece of that set you equip. What’s different about War in the North, however, is that the actual pieces can differ with their inherent stats. For example, a player could pick up gloves from the Adamant set that are standard quality and require level 12. Later on, they may find another set of Adamant gloves that are rare quality and require level 16 and have a special stat on them. This is a nice way to allow players to collect set bonuses without the annoying tendency to “outgrow” gear before you finish a set. There are also elf-stones that players can socket into items to give them additional bonuses.
As we all know, no game is perfect - so what are War in the North’s flaws? Honestly, I found them to be few and far between. They’re mostly confined to bizarre decisions or oversights on the developer’s part. For example, why isn’t there an option to let the minimap stay on the screen (without keeping your thumb jammed onto the right stick)? Why is there no “repair all” option at the blacksmith? Even though there are strange, unexplained shops that are merely glowing walls as you progress through a hostile area, why can’t I repair my equipment at them? And why, oh why, did it say that my local co-op partner was waiting at a checkpoint to progress for two whole days? As I said, though, these are all quite minor and didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the game at all.
When all is said and done, War in the North really feels like the best co-op RPG I’ve played in a long time. It’s a game meant to be played with others, and I have a hard time remembering the last game that made me think that only an hour had passed when it had been four. The replayability is quite high as well. While the first playthrough is probably 12-15 hours, upon beating the game you’re put back at the beginning on a new difficulty, retaining all your levels and loot. In this new difficulty you can keep leveling up and earning new and better loot while combating scaled-up enemies.While opinions may differ, I can safely say that Snowblind did not let me down, and I can hardly wait to get back to saving Middle Earth.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Play one of three unique classes in up to 3-player co-op in either split-screen, online, or mixed co-op. Battle through the campaign or a handful of challenge missions (horde-mode style) to level up and gain new skills.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.