Another Good Brick In The Wall

I was not in a rush to go out and buy the new Lord of the Rings Lego sets that are now piled up at the local toy store. But I was ready to jump into the new Lego game that’s set in the Lord of the Rings world. There’s something magical about those games that really brings the fun of the little brick-building construction sets alive. I have enjoyed playing most of the Lego video games, starting with Star Wars, and I’m glad to say that this is one of the best in the series.

I was really hoping to start off with a clip or some play time at Bilbo’s birthday party, mainly so I could see the fireworks, but the game opens with Gandalf and Frodo discovering that Bilbo’s ring is the One Ring. From there, we see Frodo and Sam leaving the shire and meeting up with Merry and Pippin.’That is when you realize that you are going to get to switch between playing with four different characters, which later increased to nine, which is quite a lot. It got so confusing that I ended up using the character selection system that I unusually only have to employ during free play to find the character that I wanted.

Just like previous Lego games, developer Traveler’s Tales blends great source material, in this case three awesome movies, with innovative puzzle challenges that keep players engaged.’This time around I think they have really gone to great lengths to pull the music and dialogue from the Peter Jackson films.

While I appreciate the music, I always liked that they managed to portray the story without dialog in the past.’It seems to me that this release relies pretty heavily on voice acting. That could be because the books are such a literary medium, so perhaps the words were needed, or it might be that Traveler’s Tales simply had the rights to use the dialog from the films, so figured, why not incorporate it into the game? Other than those who miss the more artistic style of gaming without words, this is a good thing, so don’t mind my complaining. The voice acting is amazing, just like in the movies.

My favorite part of Lego Lord of the Rings was that you really get to experience all of the areas of Middle Earth from the movies. Sadly, while you can look, you cannot always touch the areas to the fullest, and this time around I noticed it more with Lord of the Rings than I have in previous releases.

Within the limitations though, I had so much fun seeing what I could see and finding all the nooks and crannies and hidden stuff the Lego game series offers, that I pretty much forgot the restrictions. I honestly keep thinking this is probably the last one I will love, but I have to say I would be first in line to pick up Lego: The Hobbit.

Most of the gameplay that is present in the other games of the series is present here. You will be building stuff with Legos, smashing things to the ground, and generally playing an adventure that just happens to be made of tiny, colorful blocks. Rushing ahead to smash the flowers or build the next bridge or winch or whatever, you will just pressing ahead.

And of course what would a Lego game be without some great cut scenes to go along with the game play? You get it all here. I think the Star Wars titles were probably the most loved of the series to date, but the Lord of the Rings game really comes close, if not moves ahead, of those stalwart titles.

I could keep going about all the gameplay and scoring points and free play mode, but if you love either Lord of the Rings, Legos games, or both, you are going to want to pick up this game as you have probably played them in the past.’Lego Lord of the Rings still has the magic and you will get your money’s worth. It’s a cleverly put together game with lots of skill, humor and heart. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think that even if you didn’t like or didn’t know about LOTR or Legos, that you would probably still have a good time because it’s a solid adventure game. Buffs like me will be thrilled.

Lego Lord of the Rings earns 4 GiN Gems for its treasury.

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