The Good: Fun, Can be won, Decent challenge, Neat “bonus” features
The Bad: Silly concept, Camera perspective issues
The Basics: Lego The Lord Of The Rings is fun and goofy and worth playing for fans of the Middle Earth Saga!
Just over six years ago, the woman who would become my wife and I met. To celebrate that anniversary, my wife surprised me with LEGO The Lord Of The Rings - I reciprocated with Guardians Of The Galaxy (reviewed here!) on Blu-Ray. LEGO The Lord Of The Rings was her gift to me because she wanted me to relax and do something fun. I thought that was very sweet of her and she chose it for me because I had enjoyed LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (reviewed here!) for me a few years back. So, while much of the rest of the country was revisiting Middle Earth for Peter Jackson’s final installment of The Hobbit, I was home, working my way through the entirety of LEGO The Lord Of The Rings!
LEGO The Lord Of The Rings is surprisingly cool and very fun. In fact, the more I think about the weird concept of LEGO The Lord Of The Rings, the more I like it. The idea of reworking The Lord Of The Rings in a LEGO framework is a neat one; it makes the video game experience more than a simple rehash of the Lord Of The Rings Saga in video game form.
Lego The Lord Of The Rings is a video game interpretation of the The Lord Of The Rings Saga (reviewed here!) where the characters and settings are constructed entirely of Legos. Animated with the joint structure of Lego mini-figures, one or two players team up and run around the LEGO version of Middle Earth, in the same order as the films themselves.
Almost exclusively focused on the characters of Middle Earth, players run around shooting, jumping, using magic, using elven rope and bows and arrows to achieve goals and kill adversaries like Orcs, Sauron, and Saruman’s forces near the forest of the Ents. With the destruction of each enemy, Lego pieces explode and change to coins. Players collect coins to purchase objects, weapons, and new characters around Middle Earth and at the blacksmith’s shop. By using the left and right keys, one may toggle between the characters they have available and as one becomes more adept in the game, it helps to assemble a team that allows the player to toggle between archers, jumpers, dwarves with power hits, wizards with magic, and Sam with his ability to do useful things like light fires. With Gollum and one super-strong character, one has access to all areas with a level.
After the successful completion of a level, the player may replay levels to find red blocks and additional treasure chests, which unlock greater abilities and secret levels. In the free play mode, the character may wander more and find things at their own pace, as well as enjoy levels outside of a time limit or imminent threat.
Set in the universe of The Lord Of The Rings, Lego The Lord Of The Rings follows the plot of the J.R.R. Tolkein books and Peter Jackson film series. Starting with Frodo and the Hobbits, Frodo meets Strider and is reunited with Gandalf in Rivendale. From there, the Fellowship of the Ring crosses Middle Earth until the characters are separated and they head to Mount Doom as part of different groups.
Lego The Lord Of The Rings is a pretty straightforward video game with a view that is slightly back from the character the player is playing. The net effect is that the view is like being followed around by a camera, as opposed to a first-person shooter style game. The perspective issue actually becomes problematic at times when the “camera” does not follow the view of the player. Trying to jump up bouncing flowers, for example, requires one try to rotate the view (with the left joystick) in order to genuinely see what is going on on screen. At times the perspective can be very skewed, making it confusing how one is moving, especially when on a horse or jumping up and around a tower. The perspective issue can be very problematic when it comes to jumping in different directions, three-dimensionally.
The gameplay actually peaks in its challenge with the Battle Of Pelenior Fields. Trying to use the archer to bring down to Oliphant is an art that takes a lot of time to master! Outside that challenge, most of the basic portions of the game are easy enough to pass, though they are fun to go through. Lego The Lord Of The Rings has a fair learning curve, but it remains accessible.
The Lego The Lord Of The Rings game was designed for high definition systems, like the Playstation 3 (reviewed here!). We played it on the Playstation 3 connected to our Sony Bravia HD TV (reviewed here!) and it looked and sounded amazing. The figures have an unsurprisingly blockish form to them, which makes sense because they are Lego renditions of the characters. The backgrounds and buildings, however, are immaculate in the way they are represented.
The sound effects are accurate to the sound effects on the original The Lord Of The Rings for things like blasts of magic, fireworks, swords clanging, and Orcs screaming. When things are destroyed, though they sound like Lego blocks rattling around.
Because Lego The Lord Of The Rings has the linear narrative and the free play available for each level, replayability is surprisingly high. On several levels, I was gratified to finally pass the board and move on. However, to unlock more bonus levels, one must go back and do better, find quest objects hidden throughout, and earn more points. As a result, Lego The Lord Of The Rings actually has decent replayability as one works to go from simple accomplishment to a more comprehensive exploration of each level to achieve more.
The Lego The Lord Of The Rings is very neat. With plenty to do and ways to develop from a basic game experience to a more accomplishment-driven one, LEGO The Lord Of The Rings is well worth playing over and over again!
For other The Lord Of The Rings game reviews, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Shadows The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game
The Lord Of The Rings pinball
The Lord Of The Rings RISK
For other video game reviews, please check out my index page on the subject by visiting my Software Review Index Page!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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