The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth is an RPG game developed by Electronic Arts. Any avid mobile RPG gamer will notice that Heroes of Middle-earth plays a lot like the 2015 game Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. Also, developed by Electronic Arts—which begs the question, is Heroes of Middle-earth, a fun game?
The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth lets players rewrite the history of a storied and deep franchise by introducing a new ring of power. This makes the player or ring bearer the focus of the game, and the task is recruiting powerful characters such as Frodo and Strider; building a fellowship of your very own. Relive scenes from the books and movies as well as explore original stories—due to the power of the new ring of course. Heroes of Middle-earth explores new narrative elements from the franchise through a generic turned-based RPG game system. Consequently, the player can rewrite the history of Lord of the Rings—but the important question is—does this lead to a fun, crunchy RPG for hardcore fans?
One Gacha to Rule Them All
Like most mobile RPGs The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth does have gacha mechanics the player must navigate to unlock new characters to join their fellowship. As you start the perilous journey, Frodo and Strider join you on your adventure. Meaning, they are the first to join your collection of heroes. Heroes of Middle-earth offers ring-bearers two options for obtaining new fan-favorite characters. First, is by leveling up to gain experience points. Players gain experience points by completing quests and objectives. The second way is by using in-game currency and spending your hard-earned money. Yes, you can buy some of your favorite Lord of the Rings characters however, it is not necessary to get through the various campaigns. Something I appreciate from a gacha RPG game.
Explore New Stories
The new ring of power allows the player to change the course of Middle-earth. Taking a lot of elements from the Marvel What If… series, fans get to explore new stories like, what if Gandalf was evil? The player or as the game calls the ring-bearer (that’s you) needs to set these alternate timelines back to how they were originally. But you will need to build a powerful fellowship. This is done by summoning characters from different timelines. Consequently, the collection aspect of Heroes of Middle-earth is where the game shines. Unfortunately, the RPG mechanics sadly don’t.
The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-earth is a turned-based RPG that unfortunately blends into a very hands-off experience. Yes, characters have a variety of different abilities that either increase damage output for heroes. Or use buffs that decrease damage inflicted on your heroes. However, you will be using the auto-battle and auto-equip features Heroes of Middle-earth offers. The consequence makes the game not challenging in the slightest. It doesn’t offer anything new or exciting from a gameplay perspective but exploring new stories is a novelty within itself. The player goes through the light campaign, and shadow campaign. The ring-bearer/player goes through each stage defeating enemies, stage by stage. Getting through each stage is more of a chore than fun, which leaves feelings of disappointment. However, exploring new stories from The Lord of the Rings franchise makes the game feel new and exciting.
Despite Heroes of Middle-Earth being a generic RPG that doesn’t offer anything new, all isn’t quite lost. If you are new to RPGs, Heroes of Middle-earth offers a good starting point for players not familiar with mobile RPGs. However, if you are looking for a hardcore experience where min-maxing is required you will be sorely disappointed. Even with a vastly strong franchise at the core of the game, you can’t save a good-looking game with your favorite characters if said game has subpar and generic RPG gameplay mechanics. Because the most important question is—how fun is it to enter Mordor, Unfortunately, it is not.
Is It Hardcore?
While The Lord of the Rings: Heroes of Middle-Earth is not a terrible experience, the generic RPG gameplay left me wanting more nuance.