Lego games have periodically come out again and again over the years, and I feel as if they don’t get as much credit as they often deserve. I also think that many of the more “older” crowd of gamers, as in about 13-years old and up, dismiss a Lego game as just another silly kid game. In truth they’re right. The core audience intended for the games are the kids, but they still have the same kind of vibe that I think many of the Disney movies have, a kid audience but hidden amusements or themes that only a more mature-esque crowd would understand.
Lego Lord of the Rings is a superb retelling of Tolkien’s fantasy world that spans the length of the three movies made by Peter Jackson not so long ago. Okay, maybe more like ten years ago if that means anything to you. But better yet, the game takes Lego games to a whole new level, concluding with one of the most refined and robust Lego game I’ve ever gotten the pleasure to play to date!
A refreshing return to the war of the ring
The game, as I said before, follows the path of which the films took, splitting the game up into chapters that allow you to relive all of the major set pieces you got to see in the film. Whether your favorite moment was evading the Nazguel riders at the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, defending Helms Deep from a horde of Uruk-hai in the Two Towers, or battling it as Sam with the giant spider, Shelob, their are no shortage of high action, adrenaline pumping moments.
And you aren’t just refined to the confines of a single story mission either in the game. Like in every other Lego game, there is always a hub free for you to explore, at which you can get access to the different game levels, buy new characters, and so forth. However, Traveler’s Tales has taken that hub to the next level, building upon their success they made with fans on the large, explorable city in Lego Batman 2, and opening up Middle Earth to the players.
There is a huge world out there to explore, stretching from the hobbit holes of the shire to the white peaks of Minas Tirith. As you walk around, you’ll run into other NPC characters that you can either buy for free-play use in the story based mission, or they may even give you quests to go carry out elsewhere in the game world.
And with more than 80 characters out there roaming about, including Ringwraiths, Citadel Guards, and even Tom Bombadil of whom was not in the movies if you were wondering, there are no shortage of unlocks to acquire once you’ve completed the game.
Plays like a charm
Just as the Lego games always are, the controls are remarkably fluid and combat sequences are as visceral as ever. I always have a blast when playing a Lego game, and TT games has yet to disappoint me. The levels hit the sweet spot for me every time in terms of their mix of fighting and puzzling.
You get to flex your muscles and test your weapon skills in the big, epic battles such as the one that takes place on Pelennor Fields, and then you have your nice, brain busting puzzles that seemingly took a heavy inspirational tone to the Lego Indiana Jones games, in where players are picking up and dropping a variety of items as you go to progress through specific areas and puzzles.
Some new features have been added to the game as well, some of which are older features that have finally made a return in the Lego games, such as the new free-roam option. But with the addition of a wide mix of weaponry and magical items, such as the Palantir, Elven rope, bows, the Light of Earendil, or even Gandalf’s staff that allows him to throw characters around really help spice up the action and make for a much more fun, comedic experience.
Lego Lord of the Rings is the best Lego experience yet, that is a complete blast from start to finish alone or with a buddy in the handy-dandy drop-in/drop-out coop feature. It was fun to see Tolkien’s magical world brought to life once again before me, giving me the chance to personally jump into Middle Earth and experience the epic first-hand.
Even though the pacing may have not been the best throughout the story mode, notably speeding through the Return of the King at the end, Traveler’s Tales still did a remarkable job capturing all the memorable moments from the films and create a fun game from start to finish. Lego fan or not, this is one game you shouldn’t miss out on this holiday season.
Replay Value: High