I’ve been playing Tales of the Shire – the most relaxing Stardew Valley in Middle-earth It has a lot of magic and one major drawback

June 19, 2024, 3:00 p.m

I’ve played Tales of the Shire and can’t shake the impression that it’s the best game we’ve ever had in the Lord of the Rings universe. However, not everyone will like it.

Lord of the rings It’s a very wide world. They include Tolkien’s books, Peter Jackson’s films, and many games released by Electronic Arts in the past, and in recent years by Warner (my top games of course include The Return of the King and the Battle for Middle-earth). I recently had the opportunity to play the game that was announced last year Shire TalesWhich made me sit happily in my chair. Maybe it’s aging, but A relaxing game set in the world of The Hobbit is something I didn’t know I needed.

The village is quiet

Shire Tales It takes us to… well, you’ll never guess where. Here, playing the role of a self-created character, we are faced with the task of restoring the mink and its surroundings. Don’t rush, why rush? Life in the province is very peaceful and idyllic. despite of Master Bilbo had returned from his journey to the Lonely Mountain some time ago and was clearly in a strange state – He can’t stop talking about some adventures. Fortunately, there is still Lobelia Sackville Baggins, the only intelligent one among the respectable Baggins. However, let’s not get carried away – we are still far from the dark period of the War of the Ring and the infamous Battle of the Waters in 3019 of the Third Age; We won’t be fighting orcs here, we won’t be running an army, and our biggest worry is probably a splinter stuck on our finger while digging the garden. And Gandalf, that damned troublemaker.

District Tales, Special Section, 2024.

Who would be interested in a game set in Middle-earth without any hassle? Maybe those 30 million players who bought Stardew Valley. Shire Tales It’s the perfect kind of relaxing game for Hobbiton. The story goes in much the same way as in any production derived from Harvest Moon: we get our own plot of land, get to know the inhabitants of this corner and establish relationships with them, while participating in the life of the community. We pick flowers, herbs, and fish, we trade with other hobbits, but above all, we do the two most important things in the lives of all halflings – we cook and eat.

What about the second breakfast?

Unlike this one Stardew Valleywhere we created relationships with other residents by giving them gifts, here One of the key elements in improving our relationships is sharing meals. We cook often, sometimes as part of quests, sometimes just to take our relationship with other hobbits to a higher level.

District Tales, Special Section, 2024.

Cooking itself is more complicated than similar games of this typeBut I don’t consider it complicated. Within a few minutes of play, I had the opportunity to prepare several meals. It started out very simple – all I had to do was mix the ingredients, and occasionally cut something, but when I loaded my saves from the rest of the game, the way the ingredients were prepared turned out to be important. Vegetables could be cut into larger or smaller pieces, meat could be more or less cooked, and if you wanted to achieve a particular taste to the dish, you had to use additional herbs during cooking that would make something saltier or sweeter. All this is presented in a completely accessible form, so that anyone can become Robert Mackovic if they are 110 cm tall.

What captivated me about this whole process was the reality of it When I invited another hobbit to eat something together, I placed the plates on the table myself. Seriously: taking a plate out of my stock had me moving the thing around the table to put it in the right place. I wonder if it’s just for our own satisfaction, or perhaps offering our dishes to other hobbits will also affect the rewards from sharing a meal. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to verify this, although I gathered from the gameplay portion provided that it might also be about assigning dishes to specific hobbits.

District Tales, Special Section, 2024.

We collect, purchase or grow the ingredients needed for cooking. There is no shortage of times of day or seasons. However, the game does not aim to rush us at all costs, the specter of a ticking clock will never be as terrifying as it is in Stardew ValleyWhen we were running back from the mine and on the last step, right in front of the house, it was two o’clock in the morning, we fell to the ground, and then we found Linus, and strangely enough, when we woke up in the mine in the morning, things were missing from our pockets.

Part of the living world

Nad Woda (English: Bywater, or for Łoziński fans, whom I will never forgive Łazik – Nadwodzie) is a village still in development, but where we can find places we remember from Tolkien’s works. Gospoda Pod Zielonymkiem or Wielki Wschodni Gościniec are names that every book and movie fan should recognize. The project is in charge of Weta Workshop, a team of people with charming New Zealand accents who work with the universe. Lord of the rings They have been working since the beginning – They have been creating sets, costumes, armor, weapons, monsters and miniatures for Peter Jackson’s works for over 20 years. This is the team that has eaten many of the world’s Tolkien false teeth and makes sure that everything happens as JRR imagined it. For example, the customization of our character is very rich, and the number of clothes we can wear should satisfy everyone, but although changing hairstyle is not a problem, our hobbits cannot have beards or mustaches. Why? – you will ask. Have you ever seen hobbits with beards?

District Tales, Special Section, 2024.

The creators focus on great immersion. They want everything in Nad Wodą to be consistent with the books, and for the familiar characters that we will meet to be consistent with Tolkien’s vision, and at the same time, for the game to offer purely gameplay solutions that will not take us out of the rhythm of the game. this world. My favorite example is navigating through a map. After placing a point in a village or on a specific hobbit, some arrow or other magical solution will usually appear. But here, we are guided to our destination by bluebirds perched on fences or posts. There are not an infinite number of them – instead, when we pass one, it will fly forward behind us, taking its place in that navigational row. Hobbits also don’t run in an unnaturally dynamic way – instead, they happily jump up and down, waving their arms. For most play sessions, I would run whenever I could because it seemed so cute.

There is also a spoonful of tar

However, it is not a perfect game for one obvious reason – the graphic style. The creators went in a direction reminiscent of graphics from children’s books. While the backgrounds and environmental elements look pretty good, the characters themselves look terrible at times. With the right camera angle and lighting, I’m sure they could become the demons of my nightmares. I don’t really understand such a massive visual dissonance, because it really seems as if completely different people were working on both. I hope the characters get a little facelift, just like the movie Sonic with his eyes. Although there is not much time, because the game is supposed to be released later this year.

One of my concerns is also the issue of gameplay objectives. While restoring our mink sounds like a great goal in itself, yes… Stardew Valley We also had to renovate our “Cultural Center” as well as the mines where we could go down, fight monsters, collect raw materials, and feel a little excitement. It doesn’t seem so Shire Tales I wanted to offer something similar, especially in such an ideal world, but I’ll admit – I haven’t seen the entire game yet, so these are just my guesses and doubts resulting from playing only part of the game.

District Tales, Special Section, 2024.

In absolute detail, I would add I asked the creators if they plan to offer the possibility of sitting on chairs and armchairs. This was one of the first things I wanted to do after putting the chair in front of my room – and I couldn’t! I heard they would think about it. So, you know, if it hasn’t been said before and the session actually goes into the game, I’ll accept piped payment.

Maybe it’s really a matter of age, however Shire Tales You convinced me more than I thought before the show. The whole experience is wonderfully soothing, world Lord of the rings It was introduced in such a period that the cozy idea of ​​the game fits it well. It’s also clear that the creators pay attention to detail. Plus, I’ve always wanted to build my own hobbit hole. It’s good that the doors are round.

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