My last adventure with a LEGO based video game was the extremely disappointing PS Vita port of LEGO Batman 2, so it was with great pleasure that I installed my PC based copy of LEGO The Lord of the Rings knowing that I would be getting the experience I missed with the handheld version of Batman in LEGO form.
The most noticeable aspect of Lord of the Rings is that a lot of dialogue from the films is included, complete with the introductory voice over to various moments from the characters during the cut-scenes which litter the game. In turn, if you have never seen the big screen versions or read the books, this is an excellent way to learn the basics of the tale while having plenty of fun along the way. I’d be tempted to say it is worth getting the game if only to witness Gandalf’s ‘You shall not pass!’ shout to the Balrog in all their LEGO based glory.
What makes Lord of the Rings really excel is the wonderful blend of open world environment and missions which are just oh so re-playable. After a Prologue which sees you in Mordor with Isildur you turn up in the shire with Sam and Frodo, and you quickly realise how hopeless Frodo is at doing much of anything until he visits Galadriel. He can’t do much beyond break things up, meanwhile Sam is able to grow plants and make little fires. Travelling around the Shire, which is wonderfully created, you see just how many different things there are to do, many of which you need do with other characters or when Frodo and Sam have learnt new tricks.
It is a similar story for every section of the open world with wonderfully created landscapes to explore and something to do in every corner of the world. I’ve probably spent as much time wandering around as I have in the story levels. One of the best features are the quests you can pick up along the way, be they from Hobbits or Orcs, people will ask you to find something for them hidden away in a story level. Often you won’t be able to find the objects on your first play through the levels, but once you can tackle them in free play with any characters you have unlocked. These quests add another dimension to re-playing levels beyond the desire to collect more studs and Mithril blocks.
The Mithril blocks are your end of level reward, and can be picked up for collecting enough studs in a level or finding them hidden away in dark corners, or even completing a checkpoint race in the open world on the back of a pig. You can take the blocks to a blacksmith in the village of Bree where you can craft some of the objects quest givers will want, but only if you have found the recipe, another reason to keep returning to various levels.
Of course, if you aren’t a completionist you will still love the story levels which pick out the best bits from the three films and present them in the usual wonderful fashion found in LEGO titles from TT Games. At times you will find yourself switching between two widely different parts of the story in the same level, perhaps jumping from the perspective of Sam and Frodo to that of Gandalf. The levels are well crafted and you are always rewarded with some brilliant cut scenes full of the humour which makes these games so great. Moments like Frodo dumping his backpack on Sam, or Boromir being hit by a banana are fantastic and if you don’t find yourself laughing throughout the game, there is clearly something wrong with you.
LEGO The Lord of the Rings is a great game, I’ve been really enjoying it playing it on my own, and I know that playing with someone else would be even better. The comedy is ever present, smashing LEGO orcs is very therapeutic and the voices from the films make the cut scenes flow so well. I must recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the Lord of the Rings story or of the LEGO titles from TT Games.
Verdict – Headshot
Platforms Available – PC, 360, PS3, Wii, Vita, DS, 3DS
Platform Reviewed – PC
Review based on a review copy supplied by PR. Please see this post for more on our scoring policy.