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.
(continued from previous page) ...depth than ever before.
Follow the main path through the story and progression is linear as you switch in between characters using their various skills to work your way from one area to the next. Nothing much has changed here; you spend time surveying the environment and deciding which character to switch too to get you past whatever conundrum you face. While Sam can dig with his spade, grow plants and light fires, Frodo can use his glowing phial to light up dark areas and Gandalf can levitate objects. There’s a vast range of skills spread across the massive selection of 85 different characters, from Legolas who can fire arrows to trigger targets, to Pippin who can use his bucket to gather water, perfect for putting out fires. The variety is immense and the game throws in plenty of opportunity for you to make the most of those skills.
As usual, it’s all about working together with your LEGO allies and choosing the right character for the task ahead. It’s a familiar formula but one that works very well with the LOTR themes and environments. In one section, for example, you need to use a taller character to pick up a smaller one so they can wade through the deep snow, while using the ranger to trigger rock slides to carve a path through the environment and Gimli to use his axe to smash through stones blocking the way. There’s plenty of fetch quests too, where you need to smash everything in sight in order to find ‘X’ amount of items to bring to a certain spot so that you can progress. Though it’s apparent in some cases that TT has re-used ideas from previous games, it’s good fun working out how to get through an area and there’s some entertaining puzzle-based battles along the way. Having to work out, for example, how to take down a cave monster by switching between characters skills and using trigger points around the environment so you can ride on top of him and impale him with your sword proves to be quite an intense and exciting challenge.
Once again, studs are used as the in-game currency, acquired by smashing things to pieces. These give you the ability to get upgrades and extras as well as purchase new characters and access bonus levels. There’s a phenomenal amount of items to unlock and side quests to undertake and if you play directly through the main campaign it’s likely that you’ll only complete about 25 percent of what LOTR has to offer. You can wander around picking up additional quests from NPCs, often requiring you to search for an item and bring it back to them, and there’s Blacksmith designs to try and find which allow you to combine forge new items, such as boots which enable you to scale otherwise unreachable areas. Indeed, the addition of crafting and the more open world environment makes it feel like you’re part of a grand adventure and the light RPG elements showcase how the franchise has expanded above and beyond simple platforming.
Aside from collecting stuff, puzzle-solving and exploration, combat does feature quite regularly during the main missions. As it stands, much of the combat requires nothing more than a press of the square button to impale enemies with your sword. Consequently, it would have been nice if the mechanics for taking down the likes of Orcs and Bandits was a bit deeper. Nonetheless, the variety of enemies you face, from Wraiths on horseback to Gondorian Soldiers, keeps things feeling fresh and the lack of strategical depth to some of the combat is made up for with some exciting boss battles. The boss fights, which see you up against the likes of the stone troll, the witch king and worm-tongue, can be quite cinematic with sweeping camera angles and pounding audio helping to rack up the tension, while various strategies that combine the use of the environment with switching between the right characters for the job, makes them one of the highlights of the game. There’s often a few short QTE sequences to watch out for too which draw you right into the action.
The only real issues I have with LOTR is that the friendly A.I, your team-mates, ... (continued on next page)