As far as games based on an established IP, the Lord of The Rings games have been pretty good. The last one, Conquest wasn't all that spectacular but the Battle For Middle Earth series as well as Lord of the Rings Online have offered tons of great gameplay to fans of the venerable fantasy series.
Which is where Snowblind Studios comes in. Snowblind are known for their Champions of Norrath Action RPG series which brought the world of Sony's Everquest games and addictive hack and slash gameplay of games like Diablo to console gamers. Console RPG's have come a long way since then, but the upcoming Lord of the Rings: War in the North looks like it will move Snowblind Studios back into the spotlight as a great developer of console RPGs.
Lord of the Rings: War in the North is set in the background of the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy and in it you control a party of three heroes who will lead the forces of good to victory in the titular War in the North. Would-be heroes have the option of playing as a character from three races (Humans, Elves and Dwarves). The human character, Eradan, is a ranger with a fast hitting combat style and access to ranged weapons like bows. The elf character, Fandriel, wields a staff and sword for close quarters combat but also has access to some powerful magical abilities that she can use both defensively and offensively. The last playable character, Farin, is a Dwarf warrior is a heavily armored character with a focus on melee combat. Although melee combat is the focus for Farin he does also have access to ranged attacks in the form of throwing axes. Each of the playable characters will be able to be improved and customized as players go through the story, and the game will also feature a Mass Effect style conversation system.
Lord of the Rings: War in the North isnt the first RPG based on Tolkiens fantasy epic, Lord of the Rings: The Third Age came out for the PS2 and while that brought Middle Earth into a turn based RPG in the style of Final Fantasy, War in the North is set to be a realtime RPG with far more of a focus on combat.
Snowblind are offering something quite cool in Lord of the Rings: War in the North in terms of combat. It is the first Lord of the Rings game to be classified "M" by the ESRB and from the looks of it, War in the North will feature brutal and bloody combat that looks very reminiscent of Dragon Age: Origins.
The brutal and bloody combat isn't the only thing in Lord of the Rings: War in the North that reminds me of Dragon Age. The game's art style and party based structure remind me strongly of Dragon Age (Although Dragon Age itself did take some visual elements from the Lord of the Rings films).
Lord of the Rings: War in the North is set to come out for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on November 1st.