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Game Rants

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Perhaps this is not the best place to do so, but I feel the need to talk about some of the games I have played recently. I guess you could call this a quasi-review, but it's more of a rant on some of the aspects I really disliked and there won't be much balance.

The game in question is The Lord of the Rings: War in the North. The latest installment in the immensley successful franchise, this time following the unlikely team, as the game likes to point out at every opportunity, of a Human ranger known as Eradan, a female Elf called Andriel and a Dwarf by the name of Farin as they fight the evil forces - specifically, the armies of Sauron's right hand, Agandaur - in the North of Middle Earth.

It plays exactly the same as The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, only this time there is gore and blood. Since it's a big ole' war, a bit of blood here and there would make sense. I've no problems with the gameplay, really. It's easy to master and it's great fun slaughtering orcs in a myriad of ways including a simple blade, a bow and arrow, magic and, most importantly, explosions. I do love me a good explosion. The levels are of a decent legnth and consist of plenty of fights and usually a boss at the end, be it a Stone Giant or the obligatory Giant Spider.

The storyline is forgettable, and this is where my gripes truly begin. The characters we are following have no background or significance to the plot. Eradan is merely a noteworthy ranger, Andriel a random Elf and Farin a random Dwarf. There's no personal reasons behind undertaking the various life-threatening quests issued to them. It's "just because". That killed a bit of the immersion for me, as I like to be in control of characters I can care about.

My biggest gripe, however, comes from the fact that not only do these people have little significance, they are completely emotionless, too! They are all so stereo-typical. Eradan is just a typical soldier. Andriel is just a typical graceful elf. Farin is just a typical combat-loving dwarf. Nothing about them makes them enjoyable. They're just avatars for mass bloodshed.

It could be that way to allow the gamers to project their own personalities onto the characters, but then, you've already given them names and occupations. May as well give them a personality and some motivations, too.

All in all, a fun game to play and a good time-passer, but lack of immersion is a real let down.

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