Lego Lord of the Rings

Good, clean fun.

By Daavpuke, Posted 17 Dec 2012

The Lego franchise is still churning out titles left and right in 2012. After Lego Batman 2, Lego Lord of the Rings is the second of these games to implement a sort of open world mechanic, accompanied by voice acting. While it doesn’t quite soar to new heights, there is definitely a cinematic journey to be had following the One Ring to its destination and picking up quests on the way.

Since developer Traveller's Tales undertakes one of the largest cinematic epics to date, the screen should reflect this in some form. With some ingenious camera angles that switch from broad scopes to tabletop views, there is a pleasing mixture of both expansive sceneries and more dramatic shots. The world of Middle-Earth gets generated in its totality, with all the forests, vistas and mountains layered together. Then, Lego blocks are added to emphasize foreground elements such as bushes, trees, rocks and anything that can be broken for coins. The focus on more texture-heavy locales helps with setting a picturesque atmosphere that enhances the Lego universe in the end. It might not be a pure brick world anymore, but it’s for the best, certainly given the source material. By using the sound clips from the films and the accompanying orchestras, the tone is perfectly set for a family friendly time that does still, in broad lines, depict the Tolkien lore as it once was told. With added humor, this would be a perfect step for smaller audiences to be guided into the world of Middle-Earth.

Lego Lord of the Rings - NoobFeed Review
This too is a battle.

The game follows the story of all three Lord of the Rings movies, from start to finish. This tale takes us through the entire realm of Middle-Earth with a large cluster of characters. Along the way, it’s possible to roam through regions and perform additional tasks. For instance, who hasn’t heard of the amazing quest of Frodo and friends in search of some musical boots? Ok, so the fetch quests usually don’t bring a lot of extra incentives to perform them, but the exploration factor in itself remedies the simpler tasks. During free moments, players can do side missions or find more collectibles, purchase additional characters and so forth. Even after a first completion, there will probably still be a ton of things left to discover. However, doing free sections can be rather obtuse, as the map is lacking in giving proper direction, even when aided by guiding ghost coins.

Gameplay often lends itself as specific tasks for one person or more people to complete. Most characters have their respective strengths. For instance, Legolas can use his Elven nature to jump high, walk tightropes and shoot arrows. Aragorn can break hefty blocks, while Gimli uses his axe to break through tiles. In all, there is a good combination for everyone to feel useful, since the world is littered with special sections. More so, by performing additional tasks, players can forge objects that they can let characters use, even if they don’t possess that ability. For instance, by crafting a fishing rod, puddles can be accessed, even without a Hobbit present at the scene. While this mechanic isn’t available the first time the story is played, it is possible to return to levels in Free Play sections.

Platforms are trickier to handle. Often, characters slip up or collision issues detecting the correct presence poorly. Still, playing in general should be a smooth ride most of the time, but these periodic glitches do make their presence known. In addition, framerate and freezing issues can occur as well, which can be detrimental when the saving option is as overly complicated as the map.

Lego Lord of the Rings - NoobFeed Review

Playing Lego Lord of the Rings is definitely a lot more thrilling with a friend. Even if the splitscreen takes away from the cinematic appeal a little, it’s being able to synchronize and speed through levels that make this game worthwhile to revisit. As players can team up to perform tasks separately or aid each other in a fight, it’s a lot easier to get through certain stages in mere minutes, which leaves a taste for more. Additionally, clearing side objectives also becomes simpler with a helping hand. Quite like the amount of playable characters in the game: the more, the merrier.

It should however be noted that for all the superficial joy that can be had in this game, there is a thick line of linearity and simplicity that surrounds the title. Of course, this is in tune with accommodating the youngest players, but since it shoves side content in a dark corner for this to happen, it does often devolve to shallowness. Run, jump, break, repeat; this is how most of the game is played and that can periodically become clear, though cleverer instances will wash that away once more. Certainly as the game itself takes momentary credit breaks in between stopping points for the actual movies, it’s a little easier to take a rest from monotony and finish this game in 3 or so tries.

Lego Lord of the Rings - NoobFeed Review

Good, clean fun; that’s how to properly represent Lego Lord of the Rings. The adventure game doesn’t add or detract anything from a rewarding playtime, especially if this time is shared with someone else. With some added content, there’s even a reason to keep sleuthing together in this simple but enjoyable game.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Traveller's Tales
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Open World
Release Date: 2012-11-13

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