Lego Lord of the Rings comes along in a massive procession of already impressive titles. Marrying the hugely popular Lego franchise to the just as widely know Lord of the Rings franchise seems like a logical progression for the team at Traveller’s Tales.
Hot off the highs of the recent Lego Batman 2 TT Games had it all to play for in trying to bring another beloved franchise to life with the virtual plastic bricks. Rest assured though they have managed to not only bring the series to the Lego franchise, they’ve also made a cracking game.
Lego Lord of the Rings offers you up the quest we all know and love. Getting to join Frodo and friends on this epic quest has always been an enticing prospect be it in the original book form, the movies or other games. What Traveller’s Tales manage to do here though is infuse their own brand of comedic genius in to the mix.
Lego Lord of the Rings follows the now expected format of its predecessor titles – why fix something that’s not broken. But in what is now the underlying flow for these game, each iteration slowly improves on the one before. Lego Batman 2 for instance brought us our first fully voice Lego series experience – and excellent it was too! Here the game employs the now well used “hub” mechanic. Where as in Lego Batman 2 you had a slightly unwieldy Gotham to navigate, in Lego Lord of the Rings you have the massive Middle-Earth map to travel around. From The Shire, to the Prancing Pony at Bree and then on to the mine of Morria. You can explore it all in the over-world map.
The neat twist here this time is that as you traverse these areas you can take on simple fetch and carry type quests. This will lead you to gaining more and more goodies – like the Mithril blocks that litter the levels and hub. These can then be given to the blacksmith in Bree to forge unique items in the game – some are for quests and some customise your characters or unlock new characters. All this is just in the joining world that stitches the levels of the game together!
As with the other Lego games completing the main story is a sizeable amount of gaming – you’ll be looking at around 12 – 15 hours. That’ll give you a rating of about 30% – 35% completion. You then have all the quests and other hidden goodies to deal with. The game, as ever, is massive!
Initial concern of how well the Peter Jackson vision of The Lord of the Rings would gel with the Lego take TT Games would use were soon washed away. The voice work can seem a little misplaced at times but overall they work it in superbly. Adding subtle flourishes here and there and comedic elements where they can and keep things still tight. Small visual gags, often off in the background, are such nice touches and like a great comedic movie or TV show you’ll be discovering things you missed the more you play them.
Visually the game really is stunning at times. Seriously if this engine was being used to power a T/12 plus title, with loads of action and first/third person happenings you’d be hearing people singing its praises for graphical prowess. The water effects are stunningly good and the engine handles so effortlessly. Sound and music design has been equally well catered for thanks to the use of the movies gorgeous score.
A splattering of the same old bugs and quirks creep in here as they have pretty much since the series started. Object, sometimes vital quest ones, disappear or take an age to spawn. Level direction is sometimes a little “loose” and unguided. Many could and will argue that it’s the same game at it’s core that they’ve been playing these past 12 iterations – if you’ve burnt out on this series there is little in Lego Lord of the Rings that I can say will reignite your passion for them… unless you’re a massive Lord of the Rings fan that is.
Lego Lord of the Rings is a superb game and a worthy entrant in the top 5 games in this series. The movie production values along with the superbly crafted world that Traveller’s Tales create just make it a joy to play. A handful of small issues and the repetitive gameplay stop it from being the “one Lego game to rule them all” but it’s right up there with the best of them.
It looks fantastic, plays just as well as ever and offers the kind of value for money prospect that parents dream of. If you’re a fan of the past games then this is one of the best. If you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings then this is superb fan service. If you just like a good, fun , well crafted game then you need to give Lego Lord of the Rings a shot. You really won’t regret it.