The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria Review
The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria is a survival game that takes place in one of the most iconic fantasy worlds ever created. While the game captures the essence of Tolkien’s universe, it lacks originality, relying on familiar mechanics from the genre. If you’re familiar with survival games, you’ll immediately recognize the gameplay loop of building bases, upgrading tools, crafting weapons, and fighting enemies. However, Return to Moria fails to offer anything groundbreaking in comparison to its predecessors.
The Story and Setting
Return to Moria is set in Middle-Earth’s Fourth Age, after Sauron’s defeat and the War of the Ring. The game explores an era that hasn’t been extensively covered in the canon. As a dwarf alongside up to seven friends, you’re tasked with reclaiming Moria from goblins and orcs. However, the story is minimal, with little character interaction or significant discoveries. The focus is primarily on exploration and combat.
Engaging Resource Gathering
The game excels in its resource-gathering mechanics, providing a satisfying loop of acquiring materials to improve your base. As you delve deeper into the mine, you’ll encounter more formidable enemies, prompting the need for better gear. Upgrading equipment and expanding your base’s facilities become essential. While the gathering process is reminiscent of other popular survival games like Minecraft, Return to Moria lacks innovation in this aspect.
Restricted Freedom and Linear Exploration
Unfortunately, the game falls short in terms of freedom and exploration. Despite the ability to set up a base anywhere, preset camps in each zone hold significant advantages, discouraging players from establishing new camps. Combat also lacks depth, with limited weapon variety. The most significant disappointment lies in the lack of freedom to mine in any direction. Instead, players are restricted to narrow hallways, limiting the sense of exploration and creativity found in games like No Man’s Sky and Ark.
Personality in Design
Return to Moria manages to infuse personality into its different areas, each with unique characteristics. From the Elven Quarter’s beauty to the atmospheric depths filled with glowing mushrooms, the game captures the essence of a Lord of the Rings adventure. Despite the lack of standout features, the journey of building and progressing through the underground kingdom remains enjoyable.
Promising Concept, Mediocre Execution
As a fan of both The Lord of the Rings and survival games, it’s disappointing to see Return to Moria fall short of its potential. While the game successfully combines the rich lore of Middle-Earth with the survival genre, it fails to offer anything beyond a passable experience. With hopes for more intriguing areas, enemies, and story developments in the second half of the game, Return to Moria remains a decent survival game with a Lord of the Rings theme.