Lego: Lord of the Rings is the best Lego game so far. The Lego series has made some changes since their last release, and all of these changes have worked. Is Lego: Lord of the Rings going to win any game of the year awards? No. But for what it is, a funny casual game, it’s done an awesome job. If you’re a fan of the Lego series, or Lord of the Rings this game is defiantly for you.
Lego: Lord of the Rings follows the movie storyline better than any other Lord of the Rings game. Its scenes, dialogue, and soundtrack all come directly from the movie. The cut scenes make you feel like you’re actually watching the trilogy as you play through the campaign. Sure, Lego: Lord of the Rings has to cut out scenes to fit all three movies into one game but Lego does an excellent job of editing and every important piece of dialogue is present in the game. The only other difference is the characters are made of Legos, and as usual there’s a lot more humor seeded throughout the game.
Lego made a lot of changes this time around. First off they gave the Lego characters voices, which is a great new change compared to the old Lego: Star Wars games that I remember playing. This release also brings more depth to the Lego series. Unlike most Action Adventure games where you simply progress from level to level Lego has you adventure to the next location. When you’re done with a level you can explore towns like Rivendell and Bree, finding mini side quests and incentives to go back and replay levels.
Not only does this add to the replay ability, but it makes the player get much more immersed in Middle Earth. While you’re exploring the towns or the small bit of countryside in-between them there’s actually stuff to do. Mini-Puzzles to find rare treasure and places you have to come back to once you’ve unlocked the right character. Finding treasure and building new tools are needed to get the full experience of the game, and make Lego: Lord of the Rings have a little bit of RPG flair added to the traditional Action Adventure format.
Another cool feature Lego: Lord of the Rings added is the specializations of characters. Each of the 85 characters has different abilities that are required to get different treasures and progress through the levels. In one mission you might have to play as five or six different characters to get through all of the obstacles. And if you don’t have the right characters unlocked and equipped you’ll have to replay levels to get every reward. Once again it adds to the replay ability, but it also makes multiplayer more fun.
Having a friend jump in to play co-operatively with you is easy. They just turn their control on and press start. When they’re done they press start and drop out, it’s as easy as that. With levels requiring different abilities from different characters it saves time to play with a friend. You don’t have to do everything, and while you jump to release a bridge with your Elfish nimbleness as Legolas your friend can bust through a wall with Gimili and get some good loot. The one problem I have with the multiplayer is the screen interface. It’s a cool idea, having the screen turn into split screen when you and your co-op partner get too far away from eachother, but it gets confusing. Especially when you’re fighting a boss it’s easy to lose where you are on the map because the screen keeps changing.
You can’t take Lego: Lord of the Rings seriously. It’s gameplay is very simple and straightforward. There’s no working hard to get to the next level, it’s simply spending the time to get through the campaign. You can pick up the game easily and waste a couple of hours playing through a couple of levels of a story we all love. All the major releases these days are serious, and that’s what we as gamers love. But Lego: Lord of the Rings is a nice break from worrying about K/D and beating the campaign on an extra hard difficulty. Lego: Lord of the Rings is a game you play for fun, not grinding for a new or working for a highscore. At $40 for consoles and $30 for the PC this is a game that you’re going to want to pick up.
Note: Lego: Lord of the Rings was reviewed after over 10 hours of both single and two player campaign. It’s review is based on experiences with the Xbox 360 version, although the game is also available on the PC and PlayStation 3.