LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game review
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A fantastic tribute to The Lord Of The Rings franchise and one of the best LEGO games to boot.
- Top notch production that does LOTR justice throughout with great audio, voice-acting and a fantastic looking game-world.
- Feels more like an adventure game than previous LEGO iterations with RPG elements, enjoyable exploration in appealing LOTR world and exciting bouts of action.
- So much to do, unlock and collect that it will keep you busy for months. Seamless co-op play is excellent.
- Questionable friendly A.I. Seeing your Fellowship fall off a bridge when they simply had to walk across it can be frustrating.
- Occasionally poor camera angles can lead to misjudged jumps while platforming.
One thing you can guarantee each time that Traveller’s Tales (TT) takes one of our beloved movie franchises and turns it into a brick-bashing videogame is that it will do it justice in terms of the way it presents these popular stories. The English software house has an impressive back-catalogue of LEGO games based of popular movies to prove that notion, including Harry Potter, Star Wars and Batman. TT takes the most popular scenes and scenarios from the movies that we know and love and pays tribute to them in the most creative of ways, injecting them with slapstick humour and creating the worlds that we see on big screen in a clever and imaginative way, from nothing more than colourful LEGO bricks. As fans of Lord Of The Rings, we’re pleased to say that: LEGO: Lord Of The Rings is our favourite LEGO game to date and represents the pinnacle of Traveller’s Tales' achievements with its block-building videogame franchise thus far.
To get the most out of LEGO: LOTR it helps, of course, if you’re a fan of the subject matter; so if you’ve ever enjoyed J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels, or Peter Jackson’s films, we’re certain you won’t fail to be impressed with what TT has managed to achieve. LEGO: Lord Of The Rings feels much more like an adventure game than previous titles and the mature themes of the books and films come pouring through the LEGO cracks to deliver an experience that is darker, more action-orientated and more exciting than any of its predecessors.
The storyline follows the narratives from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Though it still features much of the same slap-stick humour that TT has injected into previous titles - such as Gandalf hitting his head on a series of light-bulbs on his way out of Bagend before getting annoyed and smashing the final one with his staff - the overall theme is quite mature, and the humour more subtle. Indeed, LEGO: LOTR pays tribute to the movies more genuinely than previous iterations, which is no mean feat considering the success of The Lord Of The Rings movies and the fact that the world is made entirely from LEGO bricks.
One factor that helps give LOTR such credibility is the audio experience. Among the impressive list of voice actors, Sir Ian McKellen voices the role of Gandalf while Aragorn is played by Viggo Mortensen from the movies. This is only the second LEGO game that features dialogue and proper lip-synching from the LEGO characters and it adds credibility to the whole game, providing genuine moments where you’re immersed in the cut-scenes and dialogue. The licensed musical score, which ramps up in tension during frenetic bouts of action and then softens during periods of exploration, also helps to create at atmospheric adventure. Cut-scenes represent the movies extremely well and we found ourselves intently listening to the likes of Gandalf’s speech to Frodo in the Mines of Moria, such was the quality of the voice-acting. Familiar scenarios, such as the wizard battle between Gandalf and Saruman, or The Fellowship's attempt to cross the Misty Mountains in heavy snow, also capture the spirit of the big adventure and will appease fans of the film with the quality of the production.
Indeed, the overall production is a great tribute to the films and the level design and detail of some familiar locations impresses, particularly the beautifully-realised version of The Shire, which we’ve spent a long time exploring and picking up a variety of sub-quests, as well as smashing everything in sight into tiny LEGO pieces. The gameplay itself follows much the same blue-print as past LEGO games, with platforming elements, fetch quests and puzzle-solving being at the heart of the experience. However, the world is ripe for exploration with plenty of opportunity to stray off the beaten track, while the gameplay is packed with all-out action moments plucked straight from the films. The inclusion of some RPG elements also prove to showcase how TT has sought to evolve its LEGO experience and make it more in depth than ever ... (continued on next page)