Lord of the rings: War in the North: 7
I wanted to give it a 9, but with a few bad design judgements and some terrible difficulty spikes, the whole experience is dragged down. It's dissapointing really, because so much of the game is good and a lot of fun, but those problems really add up. 7/10 is far and yet also doesn't do the game justice in my eyes.
A couple of examples of its problems.
No difficulty setting. You start on the easiest setting, finish the game, then the difficulty is automatically jumped up to the net difficulty, with no way to change it. Finish it a 2nd time and it jumps to the hardest difficulty and still no way to change it.
Misleading map. The world map contains all the major locations in the LotR world, easily 40 or so different sites, but you only get to visit about a dozen, never the others.
Overreliance on AI. Throughout the whole game, you pick one of 3 characters and the other 2 accompany you as computer controlled AI,, artificial idiocy. You need to rely on the AI at times, as there are sections with waves of enemies, and you need those players to do a good, sensible job, but they never do, making these sections a chore and a half.
Difficulty spike. The Auto difficulty jump isn't too problematic, as you can carry your previous character over, I like that sort of difficulty increase as it lets you keep playing, keep improving your character whilst maintaining a constant challenge, which this does, for the most part. There are times though, when the difficulty spikes outrageously. Example, one mission is to defende the gates of a dwarven stronghold. They are attacked by sappers coming from left and right and the doors only take 3 or 4 hits to blow. Now then, it would be fine with 2 or 3 good players using even the most rudimentary tactics, but the AI partners are so damn stupid, that they make the job near impossible.
I'll never understand dfficulty spikes like that. Completely ruins the experience for me.
One. Warrior. Nation.
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