Format: PS3, Xbox 360(reviewed), PC, Wii, 3DS, DS, Vita
Release Date: November 20th, 2012
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: TT Games
ESRB Rating: E
It's almost a tradition that a major franchise be remade into a LEGO video game, I really enjoyed LEGO Batman 2, and I had pretty high hopes for Lord of the Rings. Although LEGO LOTR isn't as great as the previous LEGO game, its still a overall good game.
Story and Presentation:
If you are a fan of the LEGO games like Batman and Pirates of the Caribbean, you won't be expecting some elaborate and complex narrative. One thing that I like, is that the game makes great use of the source material for each franchise. I've always enjoyed the The Lord of the Rings lore and movies, and its very cool seeing the fight for Middle-Earth in LEGO form. Peter Jackson's three epic movies have been crammed into one game, but don't expect the game to be the same length as all three movies combined, the game's narrative is much more condensed than the original films. Instead of having every last scene from the movies, the game includes all the iconic moments and characters from the trilogy. Frodo is still front and center, as you try to get him to the volcano to destroy the ring, while you have all the horrible creatures trying to get the ring from him. The epic battle with Legolas and Gimli is still great to experience, even if the nasty orcs are traded in for a more charming breakable beast. The visuals are great, since you can only make LEGO's look so good, there really isn't much improvement from LEGO Batman 2. A couple new tweaks and additions are the new weather effects and improved lighting. If you're expecting a huge graphical overhaul, you'll most likely be disappointed. The cinematics are still humorous, with some solid voice acting, the cutscenes are still one of my favorite parts in the game. Still, you really can't complain about the game's visuals. The environments are really good, basically every major locale from the movie is here and looks great. The music is great, even if you've heard it before, the wonderful soundtrack sounds better than ever.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:
The game's core mechanics are all here, simple puzzles mixed in with platforming and hack and slash combat. This has been the winning formula the LEGO games always possessed, making it one of the best games for any age group, especially the younger players. These mechanics might be repetitive for some players, but I really enjoy them. You can still swap between protagonists at any moment, or if you have a buddy playing along with you, you two can work together without having to switch back and forth between characters. Each character has their own special abilities that allow you to complete certain puzzles. There aren't any permanent deaths in the game, which keeps the frustration levels at a low at all times. It'll take you about 10 hours to get through the campaign, but the game offers a lot of incentive to go back and try to get that 100% completion rating. This can easily double your play time. The game is really open, if you want to push through the main story you can, but if you want to revisit previous areas, you can easily do so. The best way to play the game is with a partner, like every other LEGO game, this offers the most amount of enjoyment possible. When you play split-screen and your partner aren't close to each other, the screen will split diagonally allowing you disperse freely among one another. Its a neat idea, but there are a number of camera issues that surface when the screen splits in two. This is one of the big annoyances in the game, luckily its one of the only ones. Solving cooperative puzzles are fun and satisfying, and a lot less frustrating when you don't have to switch characters when you're alone. If you have maybe a younger sibling who is just getting into games, this game can be a perfect starting point for them. The boss battles are really cool, they are surrounded by those huge set pieces that help make the Lord of the Rings so popular. They're really ambitious, especially for a LEGO game.
LEGO Lord of the Rings is another good LEGO game, its the perfect game for the younger gamer, while still being entertaining for the adults as well. The game looks really good, with some great cinematics and solid gameplay, this is a must have for any LEGO fan.
S&S Rating: 8/10