Indiana Jones, Star Wars, DC Super Heroes and now Lord of the Rings; it seems Lego can do no wrong. Once again we find ourselves playing with our tiny plastic bricks in an adventure that seems all too familiar. Once again we are left saying “Wow this is a really fun game” but LEGO and TT games keep making these series of games better and better. Their fundamental core is the same but the stories, gameplay, collectibles and presentation just gets better with each new title. This game is the true open world game we have been asking for and TT games (along with Warner Bros) have listened. The whole Lord of the Rings trilogy is captured here in glorious Lego form with the writing, characters and story written very well with typical humor and tongue in cheek.
We start off in a battle scene just as Tolkien’s book portrays, after which we join our hobbit friends in the shire. It’s a lovely recreation and the tiny hobbits look even smaller here. Then we begin the story as you have read and seen in the movies. The attention to small detail is great and the one ring is very enticing, even in plastic yellow form. The characters themselves are great with over 80 to collect and unlock. These are not silly, nonsense characters like previous games. Actual people that we know, each of these characters have their own ability and the wheel comes up when you press triangle to swap any character you wish. This is a clever system as you can swap quickly and get who you need instantly. This is pretty much a game intended for younger audiences but don’t let that fool you as all ages will enjoy this. The control system is very easy to use and allows you to jump in and out when you like as well. You run, jump, smash, build and explore. You’ll also have puzzles to unlock and the way is always shown in blue Lego bricks so you won’t get lost. You can also use statues to unearth the land around you and reveal the various treasures and goodies on display.
Characters have the ability to carry up to eight items and for fetch quests this is particularly good; you can also combine items and throw items down for other player to pick up. A total of 84 additional items are found in your treasure trove and you can find these via blue prints scattered in Middle Earth. These items vary in usefulness and sometimes a mitral bow, axe or sword is great whilst a silly hat or whistle is fun but less important. The main aim is the same as previous games where you collect bricks to get 100% completion in each level so you can get Mithral bricks that unlock goodies. There are also numerous side quests that will take you away from the main quest which are fun and add a lot to the gameplay. A lot of longevity as well is added with these side missions. These Mithral bricks are then melted down by the blacksmith into the above mentioned treasure trove items. There are other ways to get these Mithral bricks too so different methods need to be used to acquire these valuable plastic grey bricks.
Another great addition is the narrative and voice over’s that are used are the ones from the Jackson films which adds a lot of realism and silliness at the same time. It’s hard to take them seriously but at the same time you must. The music is just lovely as again it’s all original here. There is so much to love about this game and only a few minor issues such as texture popping and some camera issues but they never take away from the fun that this game brings. The whole package is just a design marvel in itself. The graphics are not stunning but the vistas and music add to the illusion of something better than what we see. TT games have managed to make the world better looking but not by making the graphics better. They did it by giving us the whole LOTR world or at least the Lego version. Playing this with your friends is a laugh even if you are ten years older than the targeted age range. Swapping with them and completing missions is a great achievement. This game is huge and the campaign is so long that you will be very happy once you complete it. Even when you do you will be heading back to find the collectibles and characters. There is a lot to do here and none of it feels forced or rushed. I’m amazed by the production value spent on this and that they were able to do it so quickly after Lego Batman 2. This is a great example of a studio working hard, listening to fans and delivering a great title. Ideal for Christmas.
- Funny as heck and a great cast of characters.
- The whole trilogy is here allowing you to re-live the LOTR experience
- Some texture popping and camera issues from time to time.
Summary: A wonderful recreation of the LOTR world, Middle Earth looks and plays well. The writing is typically silly and brilliant in equal measure. If you enjoy Lego or LOTR you should enjoy this game.
- Format: PS3
- Developer: TT Games
- Publisher: Warner Bros
- Release Date: November 13, 2012