LEGO Lord of the Rings the Video Game Review

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So I’ve been playing LEGO Lord of the Rings the Video Game for about a week now. I’ve beaten the story portion and I’m making my way through gathering all the extras. I’m playing it on PS3, as that’s my console of choice. First impression — Awesome!!!!

Before I played it, I was a little hesitant with this game. Some of you might cringe when I say this, but I’m not a fan of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy. I love the Hobbit, which I’ve read several times, but the LOTR is just a little too heavy and depressing (if I want to be perfectly honest). Sure it has a grand sweeping story of power, tragedy and good triumphing over evil but I just can’t get into it.

I couldn’t even get excited about the sets too much. Somewhat because of my lack of interest in the subject matter, but also because there isn’t all that much in the way of parts that interests me in the sets. Yes, it is a bevvy of castle parts, and I used to be almost exclusively castle when I was younger. I just don’t build castles much anymore. And of course there are the minifigures but I don’t need to collect every figure either.

Putting all of that aside, I wanted to get the game and see for myself what it was like. And of course I wanted to share my opinion of the game with all of you. ;)

Now after LEGO Batman 2 I wasn’t sure how TT Games could top it. Being able to traverse all of Gotham was simply awesome, especially flying around as Superman. There’s no flying in this game (or if there is, I haven’t found it yet :D ) and like the books you are walking around Middle Earth — all of Middle Earth.

Take that in for a moment. All of Middle Earth. Peter Jackson may have opened the window into the world, but running around a LEGO version of it is simply cool. Its all there — the Shire, Mines of Moria, etc. And you get to bash all sorts of things for golden coins to your hearts content. Its all laid out on the familiar map of Middle Earth and as you go through the different stages you unlock more of the world. The initial playing of the game as I beat each “story” version of the levels really kept me wanting to play till I beat the whole thing.

The Fellowship characters are all used with pretty equal amounts of time, which is nice. Giving even Pippen and Merry specific tasks that only they can do. Although I’ve found that Legolas is one of my favorite to play. Is that on purpose I wonder? :D

One thing I like even better than LEGO Batman 2 is that it is much easier to find the special silver bricks and items. In Batman I got a little tired of trying to find all the specials. I didn’t completely finish it after I went around the city for what felt like the 50th time.

You will probably get a little tired of traveling around here too as there is a vast assortment of items you need to collect. It is a little tiring traveling around all over. I feel as if I’ve gone on the long journey that the fellowship took. Here its easy to go on the map and actually select where you want to go and have the helpful transparent travel studs to show you the way. The only time I’ve found it hard to see them is in the snowy mountainous areas.

If you don’t want to wait for the game, but want to see all the “mini movies” you can see it here:

If you aren’t familiar with the story (and who isn’t really?) then there might be a few spoilers. There’s the now classic TT Games humor as well. But I have to warn you, it is an hour and a half long. So in essence, its really a full length movie.

So my over all opinion — get it! It might be a tad scary for the little ones, although they’ve skipped over a lot of the truly scary parts of the story. It would be a great Christmas gift for any little (or big) kids to play.

Here’s hoping (and I bet it will) that there will be a LEGO Hobbit the Video Game in the future.

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4 Responses to “LEGO Lord of the Rings the Video Game Review”

  1. Purple Dave Says:

    The movies were great, but the books badly, desperately needed a qualified editor. And something to thump Tolkien upside the head with if he refused to listen to sound advice.

    As for the game, I miss the ease of general travel from LB2 with the flying minifigs (the horked up aircraft mode, not so much), but the Map Stones more than make up for it. If you haven’t hit them yet, they’re stone minifig statues that are holding a 2×2 tile in their hands. You find them in just about every major location (the three exceptions I’ve found are Moria, Fangorn, and Dunharrow, though Mordor is kinda split between the Black Gates and Cirith Ungol), and they serve two purposes. Once you click on each one, you “unlock” it and it peppers the map with the locations of all the collectibles and other points of interest. And the other one I think you just need to have walked nearby, where you can then click on any Map Stone from the map view and select to instantly teleport there. Note that until you complete Story Mode, your party is split into two groups, and each group can only access Map Stones for locations that they actually visited during the original story (Frodo/Sam/Gollum get the Dead Marshes, Minas Morgul, and all the other Mordor locations, while the rest of the party gets Edoras, Helm’s Deep, and Minas Tirith, and I think both groups might have access to Osgiliath). After you finish Story Mode, everyone can go everywhere. Sorta. There are parts of the map that are restricted to one-way travel (Shelob’s lair is impossible to jump back into from the Mordor side, and you have to cheat your way through the Dead Marshes because you can’t shoot the lilypad targets from behind).

    One other important note about the map system is that you can click on any collectible location (mithril bricks, quest-givers, blacksmith blueprints, etc) and the ghost studs will lead you to that location with a few MAJOR restrictions. One is that the Story Mode path overrides this completely, so while you can explore all over (even into some areas you shouldn’t be at yet), you’ll have to do it without the help of ghost studs. The other is that even after you’ve completed Story Mode and unlocked this feature for Free Play exploration, if you switch bodies it will void your selection. Now, you can change characters within the same body (select the bottom spot on the character wheel to access the entire selection, like you had to to choose between Merry and Pippin during Story Mode), but if you pick a character from the main character wheel there’s an unfair chance that you’ll bounce into the other body before making the switch. The only thing I’ve been able to nail down on that is that if you have one short character and one regular character, your choice will automatically send you to the body that matches (hobbits/dwarves/Gollum vs. pretty much everyone else). This is _critical_ when you’re chasing after some of the harder Mithril bricks, like the ones at the top of Mount Doom and Orthanc, as you’re having to constantly switch between Sam, Gollum, and Legolas to do so, and bobbling the button press can send you right back down into whatever character you’ve got waiting at the base of the structure, giving the AI enough time to walk off a ledge and force you to have to go through the whole ordeal from the beginning.

    Before you start into Free Play, I think the only character that you absolutely need to purchase is the Berserker bomb Uruk-Hai from Helm’s Deep. That one character appears to be the only one that has an automatic ability to destroy silver objects, with his giant bomb. And being an Uruk-Hai, he has the super strength needed to open orange handles. Beyond that, the Fellowship and Gollum (all unlocked during Story Mode) give you all the other special abilities I can think of, including a few that aren’t really vital for exploration (Frodo’s Elven Cloak and Boromir’s Horn of Gondor come to mind). I’ve seen sites listing characters such as the Witch King give you super strength and the ability to shatter Mordor objects (he does neither), or the Army of the Dead being necessary to open orange handles (they can’t), but I think the only way around buying the Berserker is to find an inventory item that gives you explosives of some sort.

    And that’s probably the biggest change to the game system. You have _EQUIPMENT_. Where only Batman and his sidekicks had access to Batarangs, you have an entire inventory of items you can collect and equip to any character. Aside from the fact that all or most of them are Quest items that you need to give to various characters to unlock stuff like Red Bricks (don’t worry, you don’t lose access to any items that you give away, though you can’t use any of them during Story Mode play), they seem to fall into three categories. One is goofy items, such as the hat that’s shaped like the minifig trophy element. Another is weapons and armor of varying degrees of power (either making you harder to injure, or giving you more powerful/special attacks). And the third is the “character ability” cheats. For that last category, I’ve been able to collect the Mithril Spring Boots (anyone can jump like an Elf), and the fishing pole and wooden bucket (anyone can sub in for Merry or Pippin). By the time you fill out the entire inventory, you’ll probably have every major character ability covered in some manner or another. So where in previous LEGO games you could play as your favorite character except where you needed any other character abilities to complete a certain task, here you should be able to just give that character various items to bypass any challenge directly. Except Gollum. At least I think he’s barred from accessing the inventory list (though he can carry and use task-specific items like keys and winch handles).

    As for the geography, I did get a much greater understanding for the lay of the land than I ever did from the map or movies, but I also have to acknowledge that it is _heavily_ condensed for the game hub. I mean, you can actually stand in Edoras and see the prow-like structure of Minas Tirith, which kinda makes the whole string of beacon fires a bit pointless. And neither the insides of Moria nor the watchtower where Gandalf killed the Balrog are accessible as hub locations (the doors are there, but you can’t walk through them).

  2. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Video Game!!! « Modelbuildingsecrets's Weblog Says:

    […] LEGO Lord of the Rings Video Game was a pleasant surprise for me and I really enjoyed it. Of course to be honest I’ve enjoyed pretty much every Travler’s Tales LEGO game out there. But the Lord of the Rings story just isn’t my cup of tea. Marvel on the other hand — well lets just say I went and saw Avengers three times in theaters and leave it at that. […]

  3. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Video Game Review | Modelbuildingsecrets's Weblog Says:

    […] in the LEGO world too)– Clark Gregg. So much better than the watery sound bites they used for LEGO Lord of the Rings and much more in line with Batman 2. The story line is pretty darn cool too and you have all of New […]

  4. bouncy castle hire kent Says:

    Thanks for finally writing about >LEGO Lord of the Rings the Video Game Review
    | Modelbuildingsecrets’s Weblog <Loved it!

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