ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY CRAFT MORE DOORS
As inevitable as the tides, the world is graced with yet another open-ended survival sim. A virtual world where you and several friends can craft a life for yourselves by mashing a bunch of things together so you can mash even fancier things together. What’s shaking up today’s offering is based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings! Return to Moria presents players with a rare glimpse at the 4th Age, set after the events of the original trilogy.
Return to Moria promises to let you craft not only a reforged underground world, but also your appearance with its “Comprehensive Dwarf Builder”. You can craft the lad or lass dwarf of your dreams and forge them into hardened warriors as you cleanse Moria of the orcs still infesting the ancient city. Impressively, despite having higher fidelity than your typical crafting system, Moria demonstrates dynamic mining in its caves. It’s not often that a survival game leans on presentation, but it’s clear that Free Range Games are aiming for the Tolkein atmosphere amid the ruins of Moria.
A FELLOWSHIP OF THE BEARDS
Each player’s quest in Return to Moria is quite clear: “Summoned to the Misty Mountains by Lord Gimli Lockbearer, players take control of a company of Dwarves tasked to reclaim the lost spoils from the Dwarven homeland of Moria—known as Khazad-dûm or Dwarrowdelf—in the depths below their very feet. Their quest will require fortitude, delving deep into the Mines of Moria to recover its treasures. Players will join forces to survive, craft, build and explore the iconic, sprawling mines.“
Reclaiming the dwarf homelands will take more than a sharp blade. Along with hunting and gathering, you’ll be managing temperature and light levels to create safe zones. There will be ancient artifacts and weapons with magical bonuses, some unlocking long-forgotten secrets of the dwarven forges. Yet as you explore, be warned that something else lurks deep beneath Moria, “the Shadow”. Whatever this threat may be, let’s hope it makes players’ Return to Moria a memorable one.