LEGO Lord of the Rings
I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favorite LEGO game. Which was a major bummer because I love Lord of the Rings and I love LEGO games, so I’ve been pumped to play it since it hit the news that they were making it into a game.
The best part was definitely the soundtrack because it’s straight out of the movies, obviously. Besides that, it’s brilliant! It made me want to watch the movies again, but the next time I do I’ll probably just be seeing all of the objects that you can smash to get studs – that’s what happens when I watch Harry Potter now.
The game play all in all is very similar to other LEGO games. I haven’t played every single one, so I don’t know if some of the other more recent LEGO games have done this, but this game included side quests.
You stop and talk to different people and they’ll tell you what they’re looking for and where you can find it. If you visit a map you can select “start the quest” and a trail of ghost studs will guide you to the region you need to be in for the quest. If, however, you are already in the middle of the main story line, the ghost studs will not switch and lead you on a side quest. They’ll just keep leading you to the next point on your main path.
That took me some time to figure out. You have to “exit to Middle Earth” and just run around free for the studs to lead you on a side quest. Something that is nice about being in just Middle Earth is that you can freely roam around the different regions and travel to and from the different regions without having to be in LEGO’s classic Free Play mode.
Of course, if you need to make “true adventurer” or find more mini-kit pieces, you can still replay the actual levels in Free Play to accomplish those goals. But you can run also around Lothlorien or Helm’s Deep willy nilly and care free if you want. You’re not stuck in the Mos Eisley Cantina (a la LEGO Star Wars) or Marshall College where Dr. Jones teaches (LEGO Indiana Jones).
There are achievements you can receive and, as I mentioned before, quests that you can do in Middle Earth. And of course, all sorts of smash-able objects that give you studs, and let’s face it, it’s fun to beat stuff up and get paid for it!
As with the other LEGO games, they follow the story line very closely. There are more cut scenes in this game then I remember being in other games and only brief options to skip them. That irritated me a little bit because I know the story and after a while I just wanted to play instead of watch.
Okay, I saved the thing that annoyed me the most for last. The LEGO characters talked! I’ve learned that they apparently did that in the latest LEGO Batman game (which Paul reviewed, and you can read here), but I don’t like it. It takes away from the silliness of the LEGO games for me. Granted there was some silliness left (e.g., the arrow that finally killed Boromir was actually a banana), but the communication through grunting and gestures always cracked me up.
In my opinion LEGO games aren’t supposed to be intense, and having the movie dialogue made it more intense. I realize that the Lord of the Rings were intense movies anyway, and they did silly-it-up a bit, but I just found it disappointing that the characters actually spoke. I’m not totally against change or anything like that, but it really detracted from the experience of the LEGO game for me.
Gameplay: 6 Story: 10 Sound: 8 Graphics: 10 Overall: 7.5