Let me start by saying that I bought Lego Lord of the Rings last Friday both because I had it pre-ordered and I – quite literally – scored this game for free as I had trade-ins and it was discounted for Black Friday.
I didn’t expect too much.
Being a very big Lord of the Rings fan (and that is putting it quite mildly), I was apprehensive about what Lego could do to make this game half as breathtaking as the films. After all, it’s Lego and Legos are for children.
Well, let me put it this way: If this game were a drug, I would likely have already sold my possessions and currently be living in a box. I have played every day for 7 days and when I was not playing, I was thinking about playing.
The graphics were surprisingly realistic for background art. The landscapes were very nicely done and very realistic; doubled by the fact that it was motion and distance blurred.
I base some of my opinion of a game on graphics alone. It may be slightly narrow-minded though I cannot help but enjoy a lushly painted landscape just a touch more than an average background.
Story mode is incredible and features original dialogue from the film — with added quirks to the Lego animations. I found myself having a laugh on several occasions when someone was hit with a flying object or a character did something unorthodox yet jovial.
The music whilst playing each level of the story was just as it had been in the film, giving that epic feel and putting you right into the story itself. That was a very big bonus for someone like me who stared incredulous, mouth agape when watching the films for the first time.
Gamers who love to unlock characters and play in an open world game will be very pleased with the way Lego Lord of the Rings is laid out. Everything is free to explore with the exception of certain secrets. With those, you must unlock other characters and venture through in Free Play mode.
Some gamers might feel a bit overwhelmed by the freedom of going wherever they wish but they have taken care of that as well. Blue studs act almost like the Will-O-the-Wisp and they show you the path in which you are to follow to remain on the storyline.
Adding to that, if you should find yourself lost – fear not – those same blue studs will show you the shortest path back to where you must be to continue on.
One of the most satisfying aspects of Lego games is; if it looks like you can break it — break it! You can smash nearly anything in-game to receive an obscene number of studs and uncover secrets. Use your currency wisely though, because when exploring, you will come upon other characters that you are able to purchase. They will prove invaluable to you when you’ve unlocked Free Play in every level. Some characters are stronger or have powers that others do not and they will be the ones to break through previously unmovable stones, barriers or climb walls that you could not with Frodo or Sam. On top of that, you can also craft items by unlocking Blacksmith designs and making them yourself. They give certain abilities you cannot use otherwise.
The patterns are well hidden though so you must be on the look-out for places to climb, jump or dig.
Once Free Play is unlocked in all levels and you’ve finished Story Mode, you are able to switch from one person to the next as you need them throughout the levels.
I was able to unlock all modes in the span of a week but please, do not be discouraged. It is not a short game, and I finished at a mere 30% completion in the storyline. There is still plenty to do, see, and unlock after you’ve completed the main story.
It may also bear mentioning that I’d worn out two, fully charged PS3 controllers in one sitting. Some of you may not be quite so obsessed.
In my travels when boasting about my adventures over the past week or so, I have heard at least one person criticise the Lego Lord of the Rings game. He stated that there is “too much to do” and that it is “too open”. The only thing I can say to that is: Embrace it! It is an Epic Adventure, after all. 😉