LEGO The Lord of the Rings is yet another awesome addition to the popular LEGO series of videogames. It’s a great way to experience the epic storyline of The Lord of the Rings, complete with the kind of addictive stud collecting fun and laugh out loud humour that has become synonymous with this excellent franchise.
The game is based on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and takes players through the events of this fantastical lore created by the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien. It remains faithful to the story for the most part, so you’ll recognise many of the famous places, scenes and lines from the films. It’s amazing to see how faithful Traveller’s Tales have been to even minor details, they’ve paid close enough attention to make sure that even the most avid fan will be satisfied. Yet they’ve combined this with witty additions to the character’s abilities and actions to leave the unique LEGO stamp on the game.
The environments have been beautifully created, from the green hills of Hobbiton to the muddy streets of Bree and into the dark caverns of the Mines of Moria. You’ll be able to spend countless hours exploring every nook and cranny to discover the secrets that are dotted throughout the levels. Of course you’ll also be destroying most of the flora and fauna, as well as orcs and cave trolls, of Middle-Earth to collect as many LEGO studs as you possibly can. You don’t earn the accolade of adventurer without some hard work along the way!
As you progress in the game you’ll unlock more characters and be able to step into their blocky shoes and put their unique skill set to the test. It’s easy to switch between the characters using the character wheel, and you’ll be called upon to do this often as some puzzles require specific skills to solve. For example, Legolas can shoot targets with his bow and access different areas because he can jump higher than the Hobbits. Sam, meanwhile, can light fires, grow plants and crawl through small areas to discover secrets and new pathways. Gimli can use his axe to break cracked LEGO blocks and, despite his dislike of being tossed (or perhaps because of it), can also crack said blocks by being thrown at them. You’ll also need to build LEGO structures to create objects and solve puzzles in this way as well.
There’s a wonderful assortment of different skills to be used, and this definitely helps to keep the gameplay varied and entertaining. The characters themselves also add a special dash of humour to the mix, with their quirky traits and well-known lines translating well into the game. For instance, you’ll notice the rivalry between Legolas and Gimli, subtle nuances that add depth to the game and show reverence for the series. This humour does nothing to take away from the seriousness of the Tolkien tale, but certainly blends the world of The Lord of the Rings with the creativity of LEGO seamlessly. The musical score, voices and script are all taken from the film trilogy, and this certainly adds to the authenticity and will most likely have you humming the unmistakable tunes for days to come.
While the storyline will take you through the main events of the game, once you’ve finished a level you will unlock free play and be able to explore to your heart’s content. Not only does this give you the perfect opportunity to collect more LEGO studs, but you’ll also be able to scout around for secrets and complete quests given to you by the folk’s wandering around. The map stones in each level will help you to uncover where each of the secrets are located, so if you’re an achievement hunter you can revisit levels to complete your collection. You can set these goals as new destinations at the map stone, and the transparent studs that guide you through the main story will now also show you the path to your next discovery.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings features drop-in, drop-out co-operative play. It’s always great to be able to experience a game with a buddy, but I found the split-screen to be distracting and that it left me feeling slightly disorientated at times. When player one moves too far away from the second player the game compensates by splitting the screen, sometimes vertically and other times diagonally. In theory this sounds fine, but as the players move further apart the split-screen lines moves too, and this often left me losing track of where my character was. In fairness I must mention that Wayne didn’t find the split-screen unnerving at all, so it will most likely come down to personal preferences. Either way, it’s great to have the option of split-screen available, especially given the fact that LEGO The Lord of the Rings is a wonderful way to introduce the younger generation to this series and that it’s the perfect game to enjoy with your children.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings is a wonderful addition to the LEGO series, it’s just as humorous, creative and fun as you would expect it to be. If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings you’ll love it, if you’re a fan of LEGO you will enjoy it, and if you’re a fan of both then you’re in for a real treat! With so many serious games hitting the shelves this year it provides a welcome break, and you’re guaranteed to enjoy spending lots of time having fun, collecting studs, laughing at the character’s antics, and fighting LEGO Orcs in LEGO Middle-Earth. Just be warned that playing this game will make the last few days until The Hobbit releases on film circuit feel even longer.