The Lord of the Rings: War, review of the new strategy on the Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings review with The Lord of the Rings: War, a new mobile strategy designed to exploit the potential of the most famous fantasy

Everything points to a big comeback for The Lord of the Rings as a multimedia phenomenon and this review of The Lord of the Rings: War could be just a small taste of what’s to come in the future, between the new Amazon TV series, The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and other possible interpretations, although the famous MMO by the same company is practically given up for lost. The first step of this revival wave is the most telephoned possible: a mobile strategy set on the settings and characters created by J.R.R. Tolkien, modeled on the film version of Peter Jackson and obviously distributed as free-to-play, in order to quickly reach the widest possible audience. As you can easily expect, this is not a strategy game belonging to the classic tradition of the genre, but a representative of the new mobile category, characterized by strategic breaks, prize boxes and other rather questionable elements, but that are now part of this gaming landscape.

Having made clear the sub-genre to which it belongs, it can also be said that The Lord of the Rings: War is among the most curated and deep titles seen in this particular segment, but to play it you still have to accept various compromises, centered mainly on the dosage of waits, the case that governs the conquest of the commanders and the inevitable in-app purchases, in addition to the inevitable tendency to pay to win that characterizes the PvP that emerges towards the endgame, although with some interesting findings that limit its destructive potential.

Beyond the introduction to character more narrative, a sort of long tutorial with Gandalf that accompanies us in the early stages to understand the many facets of the game, then everything follows on a series of objectives to be completed, slavishly following the many indications that fill the complex interface. In addition to individual quests to complete, everything is set according to a sort of battle pass, which offers goals to be achieved in sequence within various seasons.

Everything starts with the ring

Lord of the Rings: War starts with an extensive tutorial led by Gandalf, no less

There is a considerable variety with regard to the faction to choose, obviously all drawn from the tradition of The Lord of the Rings and each characterized by bonuses and units peculiar. The gameplay has the basic elements of the turn-based strategy, with some variations focused on what is the main feature of the game, which is based on time management: as befits a free-to-play, each action takes time, from moving troops on the map to the construction and expansion of buildings, the increase in importance and breadth of the result sought corresponds to a break longer and longer. Some of these are compressible with the expenditure of gems purchased with real money, but you have to give credit to the developers the attempt not to abuse this mechanic, since some waits can not be avoided. Is thus mitigated a little ‘the usual “trap” that lies behind the complex mechanism of free-to-play mobile strategy, but the impression remains that the Machiavellian breaking of the game action and randomness of some elements push in a forced way to purchases, unless you have time and patience at will.

For the rest, the structure is really very deep and complex, at times even a bit ‘too cumbersome: there are commanders to enlist, to which associate squadrons of the army, each of which can be evolved and enhanced with the application of increasingly strong units.

Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, an image of the map with the territories to conquer

The commanders can also grow and get new equipment, as well as obviously you can expand and enrich your own fortified city that acts as the nerve center of strategic action. The main purpose is to conquer territories, expanding their sphere of influence as much as possible in the surrounding area and beyond: each conquered territory yields a certain amount of resources per minute, so the increase in power as the kingdom expands is exponential. The accumulated experience increases the power of the ring, which develops with a real skill tree, allowing you to enlist new commanders and expand the city-fortress.

A complex mechanism

Lord of the Rings: War, a scene from a battle

The enormous amount of menus and sub-menus requires a lot of time to be assimilated, so as to make some facets rather obscure even after hours of play. Being a strategic game, the complexity and depth of the management cannot be considered a disadvantage, but the impression remains that the whole system is based solely on the constant progression given simply by the dedication to the game more than on the actual ability in the strategic management of resources and units. Combat, on the other hand, is a purely numerical affair, with the results derived simply from the initial situation of the units deployed on the field. For this reason, the risk of pay to win is particularly real in a game like this.

Given the doubts, it must be said, however, that the production behind The Lord of the Rings: War is definitely valuable, as demonstrated by its mammoth structure and also by the technical realization, which is remarkable even in the stylization typical of turn-based strategy. To enrich everything there is of course the official characterization of The Lord of the Rings, perfect for a fantasy strategy and well cared for in this case as the construction of the story and placement of characters, peoples, factions and houses. Improvable instead the user interface, which seems poorly calibrated for small screens, with icons and text often microscopic.


The Lord of the Rings: War is pretty much exactly what you might expect from a free-to-play mobile strategy from NetEase, that is, a title developed with considerable care and equipped with a depth also impressive, but all built around an idea with implications a bit ‘dark as time management and randomness of some rewards, which clearly push towards micro-transactions. If you have a lot of patience and do not get caught up in the excessive competitiveness, it can still be an interesting game for fans of The Lord of the Rings, considering that the license has also been treated with a certain respect, building a Middle-earth rather convincing even if declined according to the needs of a strategic game.


  • A deep and multifaceted strategy to be studied
  • Good use of an important license such as The Lord of the Rings
  • For those who get caught up in the progression it can be addictive
  • The mechanism, set on time management and random rewards, pushes toward micro-transactions
  • Far too complex and cumbersome, even for aspects of secondary importance
  • Interface not very readable and manageable on small screens
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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