The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is the closest thing to J.R.R. Tolkien’s original text since the Peter Jackson movies.
This geo-strategic seasonal wargame, created by EVE Echoes developer NetEase, is a brand new adventure set in Middle-earth. Thanks to a familiar cast of characters and a familiar set of locations, it slots right into the canon.
Story-wise, The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War begins with the discovery of the One Ring at the remote castle of Dol Guldur. Naturally, this discovery sends the various races of Middle-earth into a frenzy.
Rohan, Mordor, Isengard, Rhun, Erebor, Angmar, and others all embark on a race to Dol Guldur, clashing on the battlefield as they strive to outmaneuver their rivals and claim the One Ring – and by extension dominion over the world – for themselves.
Naturally, you’re in it up to your eyeballs. Playing as either a Warband or a Fellowship, you need to build up your settlement, train your armies, recruit commanders, and expand across Middle-earth one tile at a time, plundering resources for your war effort.
The love and care that have gone into The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War are plain to see. You just need to look at the map, which looks like a prop from the movies, drawn on parchment and utterly faithful to the geography of Middle-earth.
Then there are the character models. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and countless other characters from the movies are rendered in exquisite detail, complete with the intricate costumes that won the film one of its many Oscars in 2002.
The locations of Middle-earth have been lovingly recreated, too, including Minas Tirith, where Aragorn received his crown, Edoras, where Theoden recovered his, and of course Dol Guldur, where the whole messy business kicked off in the first place.
If you’re a fan of the books and the movies, this might be the closest you can get to visiting Middle-earth.