Well, it existed, and it wouldn’t hurt to recover it today

There are so many games on the market that it’s hard to know everything you’ve bought, especially on PC, where the physical has been forgotten. I have about 200 games on Steam—I know it’s not a lot—and more than half of them are collecting dust without even remembering that I ever bought, traded, or got them for free. Narrowing down the list of those unplayed, I took it out on Vermintide 2 until something clicked in my head: why isn’t there a game similar to Left 4 Dead from The Lord of the rings?

It would be brutal, right? Kill orcs by the loads without worrying a bit about anything else. To my surprise, yes there is; I actually have it in my Steam library abandoned, forgotten, but with spectacular potential; and it is none other than The War in the North.

The best forgotten war of The Lord of the Rings

I still think that Snowblind Studios was not the most capable studio for the development of a brand as powerful as that of The Lord of the Rings; but it is not the first time that a team surprises us with its capabilities despite its uninspiring past.

The idea of ​​that The War in the North of 2011 was to bet on a story taken from the sleeve and parallel to what we know of the work of Tolkien. First positive point of an unflattering list with more shadows than lights, but I still think that the idea far from bad.

The Lord of the Rings already has its Skyrim and with it I have reconsidered the great graphics of the future;  so you can download it for free

In a universe like LOTR, getting as far away from those well-known adventures as possible is the best possible approach. While the novelty flourish doesn’t do much to improve vague content, I like being able to see the more fantastical side of Middle-earth in other settings with the constant presence of the original story. In fact, far from a story-focused adventure, The War in the North imitated the style shooter multiplayer with a Left 4 Dead aroma where the zombies in droves were replaced by orcs, trolls, goblins or any bug from the British imagination; in droves of course.

As crazy as it sounds, the layout was the same: “wide” maps; characters customizable; small playable segments delimited with an objective of “hold the enemy horde” from time to time to generate that idea of ​​the player’s superiority… Appetizing, to say the least.

Image from The Lord of the Rings: The War in the North (Snowblind Studios)

They could not miss certain references and cameos directly from the movies

Having to replace pistols and machine guns with swords, bows and axes, Snowblind bet on the hard core of the hack and slashwhere your character does not progress in terms of moveset; even so, it is quite gimmicky with a small skill setspells and more extravagance typical of medieval fantasy, avoided being too repetitive. After all, Vermintide —both the first and the second— replicates that same system with arcade combat, not difficult to understand, and super satisfying to play.

An interesting project for the fun of hitting buttons with friends

That multiplayer component that we can hardly replicate today —mainly because there are barely 14 active players and the game is no longer for sale on steam—had a certain “new” aftertaste. I know that both The Conquest and The Battle for Middle-earth enjoyed online modes, albeit on terrain of epic scale. What stands out, in this case, is that Left 4 Dead camaraderie, where playing with friends reduces the experience to a minimum: an interesting project because of the fun of hitting buttons with friends. And believe me that “interesting” makes me very happy. Also, here comes into the equation what has been done with Warhammer.

What if The Lord of the Rings doesn’t need a good story?

Image from The Lord of the Rings: The War in the North (Snowblind Studios)

War in the North isn’t the best, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. I remember it with great affection and for a long time I have needed it to be the pattern with which future projects are cut. LOTR needs a Vermintide 2, maybe a Darktide to get back on the most played list. What does this imply? Simple, a fun game, with a gameplay suggestive and without excessive ambitions. Especially the latter. Recovering today what was done in 2011, even with a reason —if you want, killing orcs just because it is also fun— a slight excuse to fill the ground with blood and a certain multiplayer component without entering the field of La Conquista or El Lord of the Rings Online. it’s worth it to me.

The first game of The Lord of the Rings allowed you to kill Gandalf with a blow to the head

In 10 years, the license has not been able to take flight, either because of its resemblance to Assassin’s Creed or because of minor projects just to postpone the license

I love Tolkien’s license, and have spent almost as much time reading the books as watching Tolkien’s trilogy, but we haven’t seen anything remotely rounded in years. Apart from those studies that have guarded the IP with suspicion so that it does not expire, releasing minor products; the most remarkable does not come out of the dilogy of Shadows of Mordor and Shadow of War. Even so, these strayed so far from the source material that it’s hard to remember anything beyond the game’s ending. Trust me, I’ve tried. There is a narrative gap in my mind between the beginning and the end because in his eagerness to emulate assassin’s creedthe product was somewhat inconsistent.

I know that The War in the North does not enter any top game, but looking to the future, one dominated by The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and that online experiment-survival in Moria, I almost prefer the “bad” known. Vermintide 2 is the best Lord of the Rings game, if we put aside everything that carries the Warhammer brand – which is everything, I know. War in the North is the closest thing to that concept. Simple; devious too; but fun and makes me cry to heaven for another game like this.